Ought to You Get Laser Hair Elimination? Estheticians Weigh In

For individuals who select to take away their physique hair, it may well 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 individuals who battle with each these choices, laser hair removing can supply an answer. Whereas it’s not with out its personal drawbacks, it may well get rid of lots of the points related to conventional hair removing and provides folks the outcomes they’re in search of. On this submit, 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 number of several types of lasers for hair removing. The commonest are Alexandrite and Nd:YAG. 

Alexandrite lasers mainly 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 (mild brown to black). For a similar motive, Alexandrite lasers aren’t appropriate for darker pores and skin tones (this might be Fitzpatrick skin types 4-6).

Nd:YAG lasers, however, work by passing mild power instantly 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 danger 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 mild blonde, laser hair removing is probably not a great 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 concentrating on it efficiently. 

There have been developments that make it simpler to focus on blonde or mild 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, take into account that laser hair removing usually isn’t as efficient for mild hair as it’s for darker hair. You’ll want to seek the advice of together with your supplier earlier than committing, and ensure they’re being upfront about cheap expectations.

How Many Periods of Laser Hair Elimination Are Wanted?

“In my expertise,” says Madalaina, “this could differ fairly drastically relying on the system and the shopper. Extra traditional machines often require eight or extra periods, 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 sometimes requires six to eight weeks of downtime in between. That is to make sure that the realm 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 depend upon the shopper’s hair sort in addition to the system used. It’s additionally a matter of choice and depends upon how fastidious somebody desires to be. Madalaina says most purchasers solely require one or two touchups per yr, however some choose to come back in additional usually. “The wonderful thing about shaving versus waxing is which you could shave in between and it gained’t mess up the hair progress cycle,” she says. “This implies you’ll be able to keep clean between appointments and don’t should undergo the awkward progress stage required with waxing.” 

Does Laser Take away ALL Hair? What Are Reasonable Expectations?

The quick reply isn’t any. I actually first tried laser hair removing in 2005, and I distinctly keep in mind being instructed, “You may throw away your razor, you’ll by no means should shave once more.” This was undoubtedly an over-exaggeration, however lately, practitioners are much more upfront about setting sensible 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 implies that shaving is simpler and far much less frequent. One other bonus? Except for nearly stopping ingrown hairs of their tracks, laser hair removing fades outdated discoloration attributable to ingrowns and irritation. The result’s a lot smoother, brighter pores and skin general, even after only one session. 

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

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

The most effective time of yr for laser hair removing is fall or winter. I all the time inform my purchasers that that is the most effective time of yr for skilled therapies on the whole, and the reason being that you just’re much less prone to get solar publicity. Many therapies make the pores and skin quickly extra photosensitive, and laser hair removing isn’t any exception. The advice is often that you just 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 do away with brown spots (and easy methods 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 important each two weeks earlier than and after your appointment. You’ll additionally need to test together with your supplier about discontinuing lively merchandise like exfoliating acids and retinol, and topical prescriptions like tretinoin or hydroquinone (Madalaina says this could differ relying on the system). In the event you’re utilizing Accutane for pimples, you’ll need to wait not less than a month after your final dose to get laser hair removing. Once more, make sure you test together with your supplier for particular directions.

Madalaina provides that you just’ll need to shave the areas which might be going to be handled the evening earlier than your appointment. “This ensures the best therapy since we would like the sunshine power to have easy accessibility to the follicle as an alternative of getting to waste power on floor hair progress (which may additionally burn),” she says. “I discover shaving the evening earlier than to be the candy spot as a result of the shave continues to be contemporary, however the pores and skin’s had a while to get well. Shaving too near your appointment time can generally end in additional sensitivity or irritation on the pores and skin.”

After Your Appointment

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

In relation to laser hair removing aftercare, an important factor is hydration. I all the time advocate that purchasers use one thing light 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 need to use 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 utilize 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’ll be able to add shaving or exfoliating to your routine to assist slough off useless pores and skin cells and permit hairs which might be detaching to shed by the floor. I discover bodily scrubs actually efficient for this, however ensure you use a scrub with rounded particles to stop any tearing or scratching of the pores and skin. 

The right way to Discover the Proper Supplier for Your Remedy

Earlier than reserving a therapy, e-book a session. The machines used for laser hair removing are highly effective, and used incorrectly (or on the mistaken particular person) they’ll trigger harm. It’s necessary 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 all the time discover phrase of mouth to be essentially the most dependable, so in case 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 little thing, and you need to really feel that you’re getting a customized expertise. Good suppliers will all the time exit of their strategy to acquire in-depth information of your routine and objectives to maximise your expertise. They’ll stroll you thru expectations, guarantee you’re snug and will probably be comfortable to reply your entire questions! Having a specialised laser or superior certification is all the time a plus.” 

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

I bought 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 all the time hated about waxing (aside from the ache) was the truth that I needed to let every little thing develop out for a number 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 an additional 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’ll be able to shave. Ultimately, that awkward re-growth stops nearly altogether. 

I had ten therapies in complete and, as I discussed, it eliminated about 90% of my hair. I’ve a mixture 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 need to say that outcomes can nonetheless differ vastly 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 stated, I’m actually proud of the outcomes and undoubtedly choose 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 yet another factor I don’t have to fret about!

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