Many patients ask us, “how does laser hair removal work?”, but often, what they really want to know is this: “is laser hair removal safe and effective, and will it work on me?” Laser hair removal may sound like a scary procedure that includes shooting a laser gun, like something out of a spy movie, at your skin. This is far from what laser hair removal actually looks like though.
Laser hair removal is becoming quite popular, and when you learn about the effectiveness of how it works, it’s easy to see why. Here, we’ll answer your questions, so you can make the best decision for your lifestyle and your skin.
Obviously, the big question to ask anytime you try a new skin treatment is whether or not it’s safe. Your skin is what everyone sees when you are out in the world. The “laser” in laser hair removal usually frightens people because it sounds damaging. The truth is, the lasers used in laser hair removal are highly effective at targeting hair follicles only and leaving the rest of your skin undamaged.
All lasers used for hair removal used at our clinic are highly regulated by the FDA to ensure their safety.
Hair removal lasers are called “lasers” because they generate very concentrated light. This specialized light is absorbed by your hair follicles, which generate the light into heat energy. The heat damages the follicle of your hair that is responsible for hair growth. This targeted damage of the hair follicle is what removes your unwanted hair and reduces the possibility of the hair growing back. Hair removal lasers are made to target the melanin in hair. Melanin is the substance that gives your body hair its color. The contrast between the melanin and your skin is how the laser targets the hair from the shaft down into the follicle.
Because laser hair removal works by reducing your hair follicles’ ability to regrow hair, it needs to be done slowly. Part of the safety of this process comes from the fact that the procedure is done over time so the laser’s level is low enough to damage just the hair follicles and not the surrounding skin.
Laser hair removal requires an investment of your time; however, it’s fairly cost effective when you consider how long you can expect the results to last. When evaluating whether or not laser hair removal is a good option for you, consider how much time and money you spend on your current hair removal method. For example, if you shave your legs, try tracking how many minutes you spend shaving in a week. Then calculate how many razor-head replacements you use in a week. Then multiply this cost by the weeks and months in a year so you have the current, annual cost of your hair removal.
The Time Investment
The procedure of laser hair removal can take anywhere from 2-6 sessions, depending on your individual skin and hair. The length of each session depends on how large of an area you are removing hair from. Small areas like the upper lip or the armpits can take 5-15 minutes, whereas larger areas like legs or your back can take closer to an hour per session.
Between sessions, you can expect to wait between 4-6 weeks. This is because hair grows in cycles and the laser is most effective at killing your hair when it’s in an active growth phase. One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to laser hair removal is going to a couple of sessions, seeing a reduction in their hair growth, and then not coming in for their remaining sessions. What’s actually happening when you see this initial reduction of your hair growth could be that your hair is just in a dormant period and will re-grow quickly again once this cycle is over. That’s why it’s important to go to the recommended number of sessions.
The Financial Investment
The average cost of laser hair removal is in the $300-$500 range. However, this varies quite a bit depending on how large of an area you’re removing hair from and how many sessions your hair requires. Many facilities, include Camas Swale, have financing options available for aesthetic treatments. The best way to know how much you can expect to spend on your laser hair removal service is to get a free consultation.
The upfront cost of this hair removal method can seem high. However, laser hair removal is expected to be effective for months to years of smooth skin at a time. If you consider the amount of money you currently spend on shaving or waxing and multiply that over months and years, the cost is likely comparable to what you’ll pay as a one-time fee for laser hair removal.
You may be asking, if laser hair removal works so well and is so cost-effective, why isn’t everyone doing it? The reality is there are a lot of misconceptions about laser hair removal that turn people off of it.
How to Prepare
There are things to do to prepare your skin for a healthy laser hair removal session as well as to care for you skin after each of your sessions. Talking to a professional about your hair removal options is the best way to make a final decision about whether you should commit to laser hair removal.
Want to know more? Schedule a consultation with us today. We will happily answer all your questions and provide you with a personalized assessment.