If waxing, shaving, or tweezing aren’t giving you the desired results when it comes to getting rid of your unwanted hair, you can try the much better option of laser hair removal. Considered much more efficient, quick and less painful, this cosmetic procedure beams an extremely concentrated light into your hair follicles that hinders future hair growth. From chin, legs, bikini lines, arms and underarms of women to chest, neck, face of men, laser hair removal can give you a silky, smooth skin without that furry growth that you have been trying to get rid of for quite some time now.
Laser Hair Removal
Varying wavelengths of laser energy is used to remove unwanted hair. Some commonly used lasers include:
- Pulsed diode
IPL or Intense pulsed light is also used for hair removal though it’s not a laser.
Ruby has been in use for long in the domain of lasers, but it has slowly given way to more effective, newer laser technologies. Hair removal sessions with Ruby are often longer since the method uses a small beam of light, which means the treatment site needs to be targeted by more pulses of light.
Unlike Ruby’s small beam of light, a longer beam of light is produced by the Alexandrite. With this laser, fewer pulses are needed during a laser hair removal session, which helps in reducing patient discomfort. People with varying hair colors and skin tones can get hair removed with efficiency using the Alexandrite laser. It especially works extremely well on coarse hair.
Thanks to its capability of differentiating between subtleties in pigmentation, the Nd:YAG laser can get rid of hair effectively from any skin tone. Due to the longest beams it produces, this laser needs fewer pulses to complete the job. For patients, this means minimal discomfort, fewer sessions, and decreased risk of complications.
With the Diode laser that brings a gentler touch, hair can now be removed while offering protection to the skin and minimal damage to the neighboring tissues. People with light-to-medium skin tones can get the most effective results using the Diode.
Laser hair removal has become the most preferred choice for both men and women. For men, its benefits include:
- Getting rid of unwanted hair from their chest, arm, neck etc
- An enhanced appearance of their muscles and tattoos
- An improved athletic performance for runners, cyclists and swimmers
For women, the benefits include:
- A break from waxing, shaving, tweezing after every few weeks
- The freedom to wear bikinis or other cool and fashionable outfits without worrying about hairy surprises
- Changing clothes in public places (like on a beach) without feeling embarrassed due to a hairy body
- No nicks, cuts or red patches on regions from where hair is removed
- Better sexual performance by getting rid of pubic hair
What Happens in Laser Hair Removal?
Selective photothermolys is the primary principle on which laser hair removal is based. A particular wavelength of light is matched with specific pulse duration to get the best results on a targeted tissue with the surrounding tissue being affected minimally. Lasers are capable of triggering localized damage with their selective heating of melanin (which is the primary chromophore or dark target matter) in the hair follicles (regions that cause hair growth) without heating the surrounding regions of the skin. Since dark objects absorb light, skin’s dark material (chromophore) absorb laser energy with a lot of intensity and speed. This chromophore can either be artificially introduced or occurring naturally.
You may try some natural hair removal methods, which would give you pretty effective results. Yet, don’t expect anything permanent or you may end up feeling disappointed. Here are some methods that you can try at home to get rid of unwanted hair:
- Make some thick, juicy pulp from a raw papaya and add to it a few pieces (knuckle-sized) of raw turmeric root. Let the pulp absorb the turmeric properly. Apply this paste (with a gentle massage) on your body with unwanted hair. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then use warm water to rinse it off your skin. Repeat it once or twice every week and after your body hair becomes lightened, you can wax or shave.
- To a thick pulp of half a cup of crushed papaya, add half a tablespoon each of turmeric powder and gram flour along with four tablespoons of aloe vera (raw or gel), a few drops of peppermint oil and two tablespoons of mustard oil. Apply it on your skin, let it dry and sit for 20 minutes (15 if you have a sensitive skin) and then use warm water to rinse it off. Your body hair will be lightened and hair follicles will be prevented from re-growing.
- Mix a tablespoon each of gram flour and turmeric powder with some sesame oil to create a thick paste, which you have to apply (using your fingers) on your body parts with unwanted body hair. Let the paste dry and sit for half an hour, after which you have to scrub it off gently with warm water (which will make some hair come off as well). Repeat once every week to bid your unwanted body hair adieu.
- Grind or grate a small piece (knuckle-sized) of turmeric. Add a few drops of rose water to make a thick paste. Apply it on your skin only on those areas which have unwanted hair. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and use warm water to rinse it off. For areas with thinner, less dense hair like your back, legs, arms etc, this remedy will give good results. You may have to add ground oats, yoghurt, or rice flour to get rid of coarser, thicker hair (like those surrounding your pubic region).
- Mix a tablespoon each of honey, sugar and lemon juice in a metal bowl and put it over a double boiler to heat the mixture slowly (preventing burning). This would help dissolve the sugar and give rise to a thick wax-like paste. Apply a bit of cornstarch to the regions you need to wax. Apply the mixture you have made using a wooden spoon on your skin in direction of hair growth. Pat a waxing strip on the still-soft wax, let it cool and harden, and then rip off in a direction opposite your hair growth.
- Soak yellow lentils in water overnight. Grind them in a food processor the next morning. Crush and add one potato to this thick paste together with a tablespoon of lemon juice and honey. Apply this paste on your body and rinse after 30 minutes.
- Mix 2 tablespoons each of lemon juice and sugar with half a cup of warm water, which you have to apply on your face (using your hands) in the direction of hair growth. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes and use a gentle rubbing motion to rinse it off with warm water. Apart from exfoliating your skin, the sugar and lemon juice mixture absorbed by your hair follicles will lighten the hair and decrease their growth after a few weeks.
- In a mixing bowl, mix an egg white with a tablespoon of sugar and half a tablespoon of cornstarch to form a smooth, thick paste. Apply it on your skin and let it sit for about 25 minutes. Peel it off, which will pull out the unwanted hair too.
Though these natural remedies help in hair removal, they are nowhere near the effects produced by lasers.
Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
- Safety: Since it doesn’t involve any invasive action, it’s safer than other methods. Though some people may have minor side effects like tiny burns or skin discoloration, they can be easily avoided in most cases by getting the procedure performed by a skilled and certified laser technician.
- Precision: With lasers, you can selectively target coarse, dark hairs without causing any damage to the surrounding skin.
- Extremely effective: Laser treatment is extremely effective, with a majority of patients praising the remarkable results and even permanent hair removal. Usually, 80-90% of patients are found to experience 70-90% hair reduction with 4-6 treatment sessions.
- Almost painless: Laser hair removal treatments are generally painless and bloodless. Most patients say they experience a slight tinge like the snapping of a rubber band against their skin for a few seconds when the laser pulse is at work. As many as 90% of patients undergoing such treatments don’t even need an anesthetic cream.
- It takes an average of 3 to 7 sessions for most patients to experience permanent hair loss.
- Fast procedure: Laser hair removal takes lesser time than traditional methods. The duration of treatment depends on the size of area that needs to be treated. Since each laser pulse can treat an area of 9x9mm and target several hairs at the same time, small body areas (like upper lips, underarms, chin etc) would take a few minutes, while larger areas (like back, legs, abdomen etc) may take up to an hour.
- Lighter, finer re-growth: Any hair that grows after the treatment is lighter and finer in texture than what the re-growth was earlier (after using traditional methods like waxing, shaving etc).
- Fit for any body part: From getting the largest body parts (like the legs, chest, back etc) free of hair in one session to removing hairs from other parts like bikini line, breast, face and even sensitive zones like pubic areas, lasers are ideal for use in almost any body part that has unwanted hairs.
Laser advantages over other techniques
This method uses both light and heat energies (of low intensity) which are adjusted to suit the condition and type of your skin. Usually, the target treatment area is examined with a test patch to determine the optimal settings suitable for your skin and to notice adverse reactions, if any. Since LHE involves the use of low fluence, you won’t need any skin cooling devices or techniques. Despite it being effective, fast and safe to be used for all skin types, the sharp sting that’s associated with LHE makes it a less preferred option as compared to laser hair removal.
It involves the use of electric current for destroying hair follicles. The method begins with the insertion of a small needle into an individual hair follicle, through which heat energy is delivered to destroy the follicle. Then, tweezers are used to pluck out the individual hair. However, unlike laser hair removal that’s painless, fast and targets several hair follicles at a time, electrolysis is a painful and relatively slow process since it targets individual follicles, which makes several treatment sessions necessary to completely destroy them. Some other disadvantages of this process include:
- Skin discoloration
- Redness, swelling and scabs after treatment; untreated scabs may even lead to serious infection
- Scarring, bruising, pigmentation and skin damage if the needle is inserted wrongly or too deep into the skin
- Skin issues like dullness, dry skin, and reduced skin elasticity
This method uses full spectrum light produced by xenon flash lamps. Since a variety of light waves are produced, filters are usually applied to obstruct shorter wavelengths, thus permitting the longer wavelengths to be used for clinical applications. Still, IPL is less powerful than laser as the light it uses is more diffused. Usually, the use of IPL is limited to fairer skin types. In contrast, laser pulses are extremely focused and of the exact wavelength that’s required effectively to treat the hair follicles without damaging the skin or surrounding tissues. Some other disadvantages of IPL include:
- Not possible to customize treatments to suit specific hair color and skin tone of patients
- Using hundreds of wavelength in every pulse can heat up the skin, which increases the risk of skin burns and pigmentation
- Shallow penetration may not target thicker, deeper hairs or have no effect on reducing hair growth
It involves application of a special hot sugar paste on the skin in the direction of hair growth, and then pulling it off after sometime in the opposite direction of hair growth to rip off unwanted hair from the root. However, this method has several disadvantages like:
- Chances of burns and ingrown hair
- Risk of rashes and infections
- Extremely painful
In contrast, laser hair removal is painless, doesn’t involved the risk of burns, rashes, ingrown hair and infections, and can be even used on sensitive areas (where you can’t use sugaring).
This involves using a razor to remove hair from different parts of the body. Apart from spending on razors (the prices of which are steadily on the rise), other disadvantages of shaving are:
- Keeps you hair-free for just 2-3 days
- Chances of cuts and nicks
- You can’t get rid of unwanted hair when you have no razor or a dull blade
- Probability of suffering from bumps or rashes
A better alternative to get noticeable results fast and for a longer duration is to opt for laser hair removal. From getting rid of hair in areas that are hard to reach with a razor to letting you enjoy up to 90% hair reduction without adversely affecting your skin, laser treatments are a sure winner over shaving.
There are two methods of waxing. You may press ready to use waxing strips on the area from which you want to remove unwanted hair and then pull the strip in direction opposite your hair growth to pull off hair by the root. Another method is to heat up wax, apply it on the skin, and press a cloth or waxing strip on it. After a few seconds, it’s yanked off in direction opposite of hair growth, which pulls out the hair underneath. Unless your hair grows about half an inch, waxing won’t be able to catch and remove them. Other disadvantages of this method are:
- It’s a semi-permanent method that needs to be repeated often
- It’s painful
- Can cause ingrown hair, redness, irritation, infection and rashes
- May burn the skin if the wax applied is too hot
Laser hair removal works much better and in a painless, safe and more efficient way to inhibit future hair growth.
It’s your choice and your desire to test your pain tolerance level before you opt for a particular hair removal method. From common men and women you see around to the celebrities who flaunt silky, hair-free skin, a large number of people put their trust in laser hair removal due to its speed, precision, effectiveness and predictability together with minimal pain that’s associated with the procedure. From small areas like chin, eyebrows, bikini lines and lips to larger areas like the legs and back, and even the intimate areas like pubic regions, laser hair removal can get rid of those bushes that make you feel embarrassed and prevent you from flaunting those fashionable beachwear or cool, modern attires. So, don’t punish yourself or wait endlessly to get rid of unwanted hair completely by using natural or other traditional hair removal methods that cause a lot of pain and discomfort. When you have a much faster and better alternative in laser hair removal, it makes sense to use it optimally to get silky, smoother skin and bid those ugly, bushy growth adieux.