Weighing the pros and cons of laser hair removal

This is it–the year that you finally find your hair removal solution and have that flawless finish you’ve always wanted. Why put it off any longer–you deserve it! 

One last deep dive into the research side of things, and you’re ready to pull the trigger. So, is laser hair removal the way to go?

Benefits of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal uses a light that’s absorbed by the hair and is then converted to heat, which damages the hair follicles and interrupts normal hair growth. This makes it a more permanent option than many other hair removal treatments available. 

In addition to that, it has a few benefits you may not have considered.

♦ It’s a cost-effective treatment in the long run.

♦ Decreases or stops ingrown hair growth in that region.

♦ Skin appears clearer and smoother.

♦ Precise treatment can target specific hairs.

♦ No in-between waiting time for hair to grow out as with waxing and plucking.

♦ Shrinks pores, so they’re less visible.

♦ It can stimulate collagen production.

♦ Saves time in the grand scheme of things.

Downsides to laser hair removal

While there are benefits, there are also some drawbacks to laser hair removal. Just like the benefits, your reactions will be individual.

♦ Initially, it can be pretty pricey.

♦ You will feel and smell the hair being burned on your skin.

♦ Not all hair responds the same way.

♦ There are no guarantees, and 100% removal is unlikely.

♦ Breakouts in that area are possible after treatment, but regular appointments and exfoliating can help.

♦ There’s a rare possibility you’ll grow more hair around the treated area. 

Laser hair removal

What to expect with laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is a process. You don’t just pop into a salon, have your hair removed, and walk out with a permanent solution. Let’s take the mystery out of the process.

♦ You have to shave the area you want to be treated because the laser treats the hair under the skin’s surface. If you don’t, the laser can burn your skin.

♦ It is not a pain-free process, but the pain isn’t horrible either. 

♦ Laser hair removal is not a one-and-done process–you’ll have to go back. Initially, you’ll go back regularly every few weeks. You should also expect to need some maintenance appointments.

♦ The heat from the laser stays in your skin for 24 hours, so there should be no working out or sweating of any kind during that time.

♦ Sunscreen is more important than ever before to protect your tender skin.

♦ You’ll notice that with every treatment, there is less hair.

♦ Your skin’s appearance and texture will improve over time.

Tips for laser hair removal success

Your skin, no matter what area of your body, is important to you. In fact, you’re considering laser hair removal because you want it to look even better. Following a few tips and precautions can set you up for reasonable expectations and the best results.

♦ Laser hair removal works by destroying the pigment in the hair, which makes it most effective on people with light skin and dark hair. If your skin and hair are similar shades, you have a greater risk of skin damage.

♦ Choose a doctor or medical professional who is board certified in dermatology or cosmetic surgery and who specializes in laser hair removal. 

♦ Make sure there’s a consultation before the procedure to discuss your history, risks, expectations, etc.

♦ Don’t get treatment if you’re on antibiotics or any other photosensitive medication.

♦ Take before and after photos throughout the process.

♦ Get a full financial cost estimate that includes follow-up visits.

♦ Read reviews online–good and bad ones.

♦ Follow the care instructions given to you after your treatment.

♦ Don’t expect to look fabulous when you walk out the door, there is likely to be swelling and redness and maybe even a little skin reaction.

♦ Results and experiences differ from person to person.

A woman undergoing a laser hair removal procedure

To put it simply

Laser hair removal is not your solution if you want to have a quick fix before a night on the town. It’s a process that requires a little recovery time and care and follow-up visits. That said, it is a permanent solution that can make your skin look even better when all is said and done. 

With all procedures, there is a downside, along with the benefits. It’s important to select a qualified professional who is certified in laser hair removal for your procedure, and have a thorough discussion with them so you can learn the specifics about what to expect based on your unique hair and skin combination.

After your laser hair removal is completed, follow all of the safety precautions that have been laid out for you. This will give you the best outcome and can help prevent scarring, breakouts, and other complications. Your long run results will be even better if you give your skin the care it deserves before and after your laser hair removal.