1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Laser Hair Removal Treatments 101

By

laser hair removal treatment, hair removal by laser

Professional Laser Hair Removal

Image Todd Keith / IStock Photo
Laser hair removal treatments are an FDA approved method for permanent hair reduction, but not permanent hair removal. It requires multiple treatments to have the best results.

How Does it Work?

A hand-held laser device sends out pulsed light on the skin to seek out the dark pigment (color) of hair, and impairs the hair follicle. Hair will begin to fall out within the next 10 - 14 days after treatment.

Hair grows in different stages: growing, resting and shedding. Because all of the hair isn't on the same stage at any given time, multiple treatments are needed to get the hair in the growth phase, for the laser to be most effective.

The Pros

  1. Hair reduction can make a world of difference. While you might not get totally smooth and silky forever, hair should be less noticeable and require less shaving or waxing. According to The Mayo Clinic, lasers can reduce hair counts 40% to 80%.

  2. Little to no hair growth is needed for treatments. Depending on the type of laser, hair can either be continually shaved, including the day of treatment, or only require a few days worth of growth.

  3. Laser hair removal treatments aren't extremely time consuming. Large areas can be treated all at once, as opposed to electrolysis which requires each follicle individually treated. A laser treatment done on the back takes about an hour.

The Cons

  1. Scarring, blisters and burns can occur. Although it's not very common, these are still possible side effects- especially from someone inexperienced.

  2. It's not cheap. The average rates are below under The Costs.

  3. Multiple treatments are needed. It's not a one hit wonder. Usually 4- 6 treatments are needed, spaced out about a month apart to achieve the best hair reduction results.

  4. Not everybody is a candidate. Because laser targets darkness, people with dark hair and light skin are better suited for laser treatments. Some lasers are available to give results to those with light skin/light hair and dark skin/dark hair, but advancement is still being made.

Ouch Factor

The discomfort level varies on the type of laser used, person's hair type, body area getting treated, and one's personal threshold. Getting a laser hair removal treatment is likened to a rubber band snapping against the skin. The first session generally hurts the most, and then subsides with further visits. People with very thick, dark hair often feel a bit more pain than those with thin hair, because darker hair absorbs more of the laser light.

Laser Hair Removal Costs

Laser hair removal costs are going to depend on where the place is located, and the type of facility. Each visit averages $200 - $900, based on the size of the area being treated.
Related Video
See a Laser Hair Removal Treatment
  1. About.com
  2. Style
  3. Hair Removal
  4. Laser / IPL
  5. Laser Hair Removal Treatments - Pros and Cons

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.