Laser hair removal is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States. Having an excessive amount of hair, dark hair, or coarse hair are often reasons why one would seek to get hair removed.
In this article, we are going to explore the options of laser hair removal to give you a better sense of what method works best for you and your budget.
Why Undergo the Laser for Hair Removal?
Men and women experience hair growth in different places, some more prominent than others. Our bodies are amazing creations, designed to have hair across its surface to help regulate the body’s temperature.
The growth of hair, how much and how dark has a lot to do with genetics, ethnicity, and hormones.
Men are known to have more hair due to their bodies having androgens, which include a higher amount of testosterone than women typically have. Women with higher levels of testosterone may be correlated to genetics, hormonal changes with age or from a medical condition, may experience a more prominent presence of facial and body hair as well.
Those with unwanted hair often spend more time and money on methods to remove the excess shag, including at home or salon wax treatments, razors and shaving kits, chemical hair removal products, tweezing, etc. Choosing a laser hair removal method has a longer-lasting result.
We will dive further into what to expect for a laser hair treatment, the results, the cost and if it is the best hair removal method for you.
It is usually a personal preference for why an individual would opt to get unwanted hair medically removed.
The Benefits of Hair Removal by Laser
The hair removal methods mentioned previously – shaving, waxing, tweezing and chemical treatments – add a significant amount of time to one’s grooming routine. These methods also leave the skin vulnerable to irritation and ingrown hairs, causing an unsightly and uncomfortable result.
Laser hair removal is a lot faster and less damaging, especially in more delicate areas of treatment like the face.
Waxing especially these sensitive areas often causes redness and swelling. There is also a risk of over waxing, which could strip the skin of a layer, or burning the skin if the wax is too hot.
Have you ever grabbed your skin instead of the hair you were trying to pluck? That leaves a painful mark too.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Here is how this method of getting rid of unwanted hair works. Whether using an at-home device or by receiving treatments at a medical spa, hair removal lasers use beams of highly concentrated light to penetrate the hair follicles. The pigment in the hair follicles absorbs the light’s energy which gets converted to heat. The damage to the hair follicles decreases the ability for hair regrowth.
Patients getting laser hair removal treatments at a medical aesthetics office most often request facial hair to be removed, including on the upper lip or chin area. Underarms, legs, stomach, back, and the bikini line are also common requests.
Other methods for hair removal treatments can also be done at home for a less expensive option but, of course, at a price – more time and sessions to see results.
Let’s further explore the options of getting rid of unwanted hair by way of the laser.
Home Laser Hair Removal Options
Home laser hair removers range in price from around $199 to up to just under $500. The more potent the power in the light beam, the more you can expect to spend.
Something to consider with a home hair removal option is that the “laser beam” emitted from the device is better described as an Intense Light Pulse (IPL) used to target the darker pigment in the hair follicle.
The number of treatments will determine the effectiveness of achieving the desired amount of hair reduction or permanent hair removal. Here we look at the pros and cons of some of the most recommended brands and models of home treatment devices.
Silk’n Flash & Go Compact Hair Removal Device, $199
- The cheapest option on the list
- Use for face and body, ideal for smaller target areas like the upper lip, arms or bikini line
- Offers 150,000 pulses of light per minute
- FDA approved for permanent reduction of hair
- Best results require a treatment every other week for two months
- It is a compact unit allowing for specifically targeted smaller areas of hair opposed to larger areas needing hair removal
The Remington iLight Pro Plus Quartz Hair Removal System, $270
- It is designed to cover larger areas of skin to make treatments faster and easier
- Uses the IPL method and lasts for 30,000 light pulses before it needs to be replaced
- Not meant to be used by every skin color. Due to the darker pigmentation in darker skin tones, this skin color is at more risk to burn under the light
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser Precision Device, $299
- The applicator is small in surface size making it ideal to target areas of the face that need attention
- Uses a diode laser, similar to the one used at a medical aesthetician’s office
- The small applicator limits its use on larger areas on the body, thus would take a longer time to achieve desired results
Illuminage Touch Permanent Hair Reproduction System, $311.50
- Uses IPL technology
- Effective on lighter hair shades including red and blond
- Requires a consistent routine of use to see results, one time a week for up to seven weeks is recommended
The Silk’n Infinity 400,000, $399
- This device has the longest lifespan of those listed here
- It is safe for all skin tones
- Offers 5 energy strengths to customize to each hair removal needs
- Uses IPL and emits a broad spectrum of light
- Consumers will be paying more for what this little device has to offer as the price is on the higher end compared to other options
Tria Hair Removal Laser 4x, $449
- Provides 3x more energy than other at-home hair laser removal devices
- Similar results patients would experience at a med spa setting
- Very easy to use with guided steps
- Designed only for use on darker hair pigments, light brown to black
- Requires consistent use every other week until the desired result achieved
Remington iLight Ultra Face and Body Hair Removal System, $449
- An IPL system ideal for use on the face to target hair removal on the neck, lip, chin, sideburns
- Not effective on lighter colored hair such as red, white, blond or gray.
A word of caution for DIYers, there is a risk of causing damage to your skin of these devices are not used as instructed. For best use practices, follow the instructions provided, avoiding overuse and overexposing the skin to the light energy.
To decrease the risk of damaging your skin, another option is to trust the staff at a professional aesthetician’s office to deliver the best treatments.
The Professional Laser Hair Removal Approach at a Clinic Setting
Undergoing laser hair removal is considered a medical procedure. The use of lasers or light beam to safely remove body hair takes a trained, skilled and knowledgeable medical professional.
Patients can thus rest assured that the power of the laser is in good hands and should expect to get the results they desire.
How many sessions of laser hair removal do you need?
Depending on the size and the number of areas needing treatment will determine the length of each appointment and the amount to be scheduled.
The average appointment lasts for about 20 minutes and the number of appointments required varies.
It may take 2-3 appointments before any results are visible and with appointments scheduled 2-3 weeks apart, it may take up to 2 months. Most desired results are achieved within 8-12 treatments.
How much does laser hair removal cost?
There are different variables to consider when trying to decipher how much laser hair removal treatments will cost. Variables include:
- Which area(s) need hair to be removed (legs have more area to cover than the face)
- How much hair is in that area, its thickness and/or how coarse it is
- Who is doing the procedure and where in the country you are getting the work done (more affluent communities charge more for their services)
The average cost per laser hair removal session ranges between $50 – $300 per session.
How permanent is laser hair removal?
Permanent hair loss is possible to achieve through a series of laser hair removal treatments. It has been reported that after an average of 3 – 6 appointments 90 percent of laser hair removal patients achieved permanent hair loss.
Hormones can play a role in the inability to attain permanent hair loss.
Things to consider before scheduling laser hair removal treatments
Before scheduling any laser hair removal treatments, it is wise to review any restrictions that could either be harmful or affect the outcome. Scheduling a consultation with the technician will bring these important areas to light as well as answer any of your questions.
Listed below are areas to consider as you are researching and reading the reviews of the best method and place to receive your laser hair removal care.
Do you qualify for laser hair removal? – Laser hair removal is not for everyone. Your skin tone may determine if laser hair removal is safe for you. Darker skin tones can be at a higher risk of burning than lighter skin tones.
Sun exposure – Avoiding the sun before and after your treatment will better protect your skin. The sun’s rays change the pigmentation of the skin as it tans, thus impacting the results of the laser hair removal process.
Avoid excess heat – Your skin just underwent a heat treatment from the laser beam and will retain the heat for about 24 hours. It is advised to avoid excess heat from the sun, saunas, hot tubs, hot showers, and from your elevated body temperature from exercise.
Limited upkeep options – While receiving laser hair removal services, your grooming technique is limited to only shaving your legs, underarms, bikini area, etc. Waxing, bleaching and tweezing will impede the effects of the service.
Is it worth getting laser hair removal?
To help you answer this question, a place to start is to read other patients’ reviews on the services they received. Some have experienced poor outcomes, whether it be a painful experience, or the technician was not qualified to be administering the services.
Though, as stated previously, the statistics play in favor of receiving this type of cosmetic procedure, especially if permanent hair loss is desired.
Review your own time, expenditures, and personal preference to see what method is best for you to achieve a result that will leave you the most hair-free happy self.