Ought to You Get Laser Hair Elimination? Estheticians Weigh In

For many who select to take away their physique hair, it could generally look like there’s no such factor as an ideal possibility. Shaving can result in bumpy, irritated pores and skin (razor burn, anybody?), to not point out it’s time-consuming. Waxing is extra environment friendly, however requires a certain quantity of hair re-growth and, for some folks, can result in pesky ingrown hairs that depart discoloration behind.

For many who battle with each these choices, laser hair removing can provide an answer. Whereas it’s not with out its personal drawbacks, it could remove most of the points related to conventional hair removing and provides folks the outcomes they’re on the lookout for. On this publish, I’ll reply all of your urgent questions on laser hair removing with the assistance of Madalaina Conti, a New York-based, licensed esthetician specializing in laser hair removing, inflammatory pores and skin situations, and built-in wellness. I’ll additionally share my very own expertise with laser hair removing—let’s dive in!

How Does Laser Hair Elimination Work?

In keeping with Madalaina, there are a couple of several types of lasers for hair removing. The commonest are Alexandrite and Nd:YAG. 

Alexandrite lasers principally work by choosing up the distinction between the pigment within the hair versus the pores and skin, which means they work greatest on folks with truthful pores and skin and darkish hair (gentle brown to black). For a similar purpose, Alexandrite lasers aren’t appropriate for darker pores and skin tones (this is able to be Fitzpatrick skin types 4-6).

Nd:YAG lasers, alternatively, work by passing gentle power straight underneath the follicle. The sunshine power turns into warmth, which weakens the follicle and causes the hair shaft to detach and shed. Over time, the absence or weakening of the follicle reduces hair progress. Since Nd:YAG lasers don’t depend on distinction, they’re an ideal possibility for these with darker pores and skin tones.

(Enjoyable Truth: Dr. Fitzpatrick created his eponymous scale to assist dermatologists gauge a affected person’s threat for pores and skin most cancers, however he was additionally the one to get Tretinoin FDA-approved for wrinkles and anti-aging. After I first began my profession, I used to be fortunate sufficient to meet him and witness this course of firsthand!)

Does Laser Hair Elimination Work on Blonde Hair?

In case your hair is white, gray, or very gentle blonde, laser hair removing is probably not an excellent possibility for you. Each Alexandrite and Nd:YAG lasers are finally drawn to the pigment within the hair, and that is how the power supply will get directed. If there’s little to no pigment within the hair, the lasers can have a a lot more durable time focusing on it efficiently. 

There have been developments that make it simpler to focus on blonde or gentle hair. One is laser dyeing, which includes artificially dyeing the hair to “trick” the laser. One other is lengthy pulse lasers, which can be safer for these with blonde hair. Even with these choices, understand that laser hair removing usually isn’t as efficient for gentle hair as it’s for darker hair. Make sure to seek the advice of together with your supplier earlier than committing, and ensure they’re being upfront about cheap expectations.

How Many Classes of Laser Hair Elimination Are Wanted?

“In my expertise,” says Madalaina, “this could range fairly drastically relying on the machine and the shopper. Extra traditional machines often require eight or extra classes, and I discover machines like mine that use a mix require round six for greatest outcomes.” She added that the therapies are often spaced 4 to 6 weeks aside for the face, underarms, or bikini, whereas the remainder of the physique usually requires six to eight weeks of downtime in between. That is to make sure that the world being focused is on the proper stage of hair progress. In any other case, therapies aren’t as efficient.

Are Contact-Ups Required?

Madalaina notes that touch-ups will rely on the shopper’s hair sort in addition to the machine used. It’s additionally a matter of choice and will depend on how fastidious somebody desires to be. Madalaina says most shoppers solely require one or two touchups per yr, however some favor to return in additional usually. “The beauty of shaving versus waxing is you could shave in between and it gained’t mess up the hair progress cycle,” she says. “This implies you possibly can keep clean between appointments and don’t should undergo the awkward progress stage required with waxing.” 

Does Laser Take away ALL Hair? What Are Life like Expectations?

The brief reply is not any. I actually first tried laser hair removing in 2005, and I distinctly bear in mind being informed, “You’ll be able to throw away your razor, you’ll by no means should shave once more.” This was undoubtedly an over-exaggeration, however as of late, practitioners are much more upfront about setting lifelike expectations. I attempted it once more three years in the past, and I might say it completely eliminated about 90% of my hair (which is fairly nice!). Now, it’s generally known as laser hair discount as an alternative.

Whereas laser hair removing doesn’t take away 100% of hair, it may be life-changing. It considerably reduces hair progress (which means a lot of the hair gained’t develop again in any respect), and the hair that does stay is thinner and really sparse. This makes it much more manageable and signifies that shaving is less complicated and far much less frequent. One other bonus? Apart from nearly stopping ingrown hairs of their tracks, laser hair removing fades outdated discoloration brought on by ingrowns and irritation. The result’s a lot smoother, brighter pores and skin total, even after only one session. 

In keeping with Madalaina, the one technique to completely take away all hair is thru electrolysis, which she notes is a painful and tedious course of.  

What’s the Greatest Time of Yr to Get Laser Hair Elimination?

One of the best time of yr for laser hair removing is fall or winter. I at all times inform my shoppers that that is the most effective time of yr for skilled therapies usually, and the reason being that you simply’re much less more likely to get solar publicity. Many therapies make the pores and skin quickly extra photosensitive, and laser hair removing is not any exception. The advice is often that you simply keep away from any solar publicity on handled areas two weeks earlier than AND after your appointment. 

Be taught why winter is the most effective time of yr to eliminate brown spots (and find out how to do it).

What Are Prep and Aftercare for Laser Hair Elimination Like?

Earlier than Your Appointment

As I discussed, stopping solar publicity to the areas you’re getting handled is crucial each two weeks earlier than and after your appointment. You’ll additionally wish to verify together with your supplier about discontinuing lively merchandise like exfoliating acids and retinol, and topical prescriptions like tretinoin or hydroquinone (Madalaina says this could range relying on the machine). In case you’re utilizing Accutane for pimples, you’ll wish to wait not less than a month after your final dose to get laser hair removing. Once more, make sure you verify together with your supplier for particular directions.

Madalaina provides that you simply’ll wish to shave the areas which are going to be handled the night time earlier than your appointment. “This ensures the best remedy since we wish the sunshine power to have easy accessibility to the follicle as an alternative of getting to waste power on floor hair progress (which might additionally burn),” she says. “I discover shaving the night time earlier than to be the candy spot as a result of the shave remains to be recent, however the pores and skin’s had a while to recuperate. Shaving too near your appointment time can generally end in further sensitivity or irritation on the pores and skin.”

After Your Appointment

After your remedy, Madalaina says it’s greatest to keep away from any heavy sweating or moisture for about 24 hours. “Skip the extraordinary exercise, swim, or sauna to keep away from irritation,” she says. In case you’re experiencing some discomfort, a quick, cool bathe can be utilized to assuage post-treatment.

In relation to laser hair removing aftercare, an important factor is hydration. I at all times advocate that shoppers use one thing mild with out perfume or drying alcohol. It’s additionally greatest to make use of one thing you’ve tried earlier than and know you gained’t react badly to. Keep in mind, pores and skin is tremendous uncooked after being uncovered to the warmth of a laser, so it must be babied. You should utilize a thick cream like Phytolipid Comfort Creme, which has calming plant extracts in addition to moisturizing lipids to assist restore the pores and skin barrier. Alternatively, you should use an oil like Pro Remedy Oil, which has a mix of 12 oils wealthy in omegas and antioxidants. 

Focus solely on hydration for the primary three to 4 days. After this, you possibly can add shaving or exfoliating to your routine to assist slough off lifeless pores and skin cells and permit hairs which are detaching to shed by the floor. I discover bodily scrubs actually efficient for this, however be sure to use a scrub with rounded particles to forestall any tearing or scratching of the pores and skin. 

The way to Discover the Proper Supplier for Your Therapy

Earlier than reserving a remedy, e book a session. The machines used for laser hair removing are highly effective, and used incorrectly (or on the flawed particular person) they will trigger injury. It’s vital to search out somebody expert who takes the time to reply all of your questions.

“I might advocate trying into the kind of laser that greatest describes your pores and skin and hair sort after which doing a little analysis on the laser your potential supplier carries,” says Madalaina. “I at all times discover phrase of mouth to be probably the most dependable, so should you can, ask these round you to gauge sincere experiences! I additionally have a tendency to love smaller, extra specialised studios vs. bigger chains. Lasers are highly effective, consideration to element is every part, and it is best to really feel that you’re getting a personalised expertise. Good suppliers will at all times exit of their technique to achieve in-depth data of your routine and targets to maximise your expertise. They’ll stroll you thru expectations, guarantee you’re snug and can be completely satisfied to reply your whole questions! Having a specialised laser or superior certification is at all times a plus.” 

My Expertise With (and Trustworthy Evaluation of) Laser Hair Elimination

I obtained laser hair removing on my underarms and bikini space three years in the past, and at that time, I’d been waxing them for 25 years! What I at all times hated about waxing (aside from the ache) was the truth that I needed to let every part develop out for a couple of weeks between waxes. This meant I had about one week of clean pores and skin, after which I used to be caught with stubble for one more three or so. There can undoubtedly be some awkward hair progress between the primary few therapies of laser hair removing, however as Madalaina identified, you possibly can shave. Finally, that awkward re-growth stops virtually altogether. 

I had ten therapies in complete and, as I discussed, it eliminated about 90% of my hair. I’ve a mix of blonde and darkish hair within the areas that have been handled, so the blonde didn’t actually get picked up by the laser. Nonetheless, this hair is so skinny and lightweight now that I don’t even go for touch-ups, and I barely even should shave anymore.

I do wish to say that outcomes can nonetheless range significantly person-to-person. There’s an opportunity I had a leg up since a few of my follicles have been already shot from so a few years of waxing, plus I used to be 50, and hair progress naturally slows down with age. That mentioned, I’m actually proud of the outcomes and undoubtedly favor it to the waxing I used to be doing all these years. I’m ready to consider it so much much less, and it’s another factor I don’t have to fret about!

Subsequent up, should you get common waxes, learn my fail-proof information to stopping ingrown hairs.