Hair Removal: Lasers vs. Non-Laser Methods

26 Dec

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When it comes to hair removal, the first thing I think of is doing it at home. I’m busy. Finding time to get to a salon is almost impossible with my work load. Even though it is nice to let someone else worry about this task for me, I have just gotten used to doing it myself over the years. But with that comes complications. I need to find the right products. And that isn’t easy. Even with all the hair removal services available and the DIY items available in drug stores, lately I have been throwing around the idea of having it removed “permanently” and professionally. But let’s way the options, shall we?

shavingShaving At Home: This has been my go-to route ever since day one. I have seen the changes in razors and shaving cream over the years. Yes, products are MUCH better than they used to be. But the fact still remains that razors cut and that is the one side effect that almost everyone runs into sooner or later. Not to mention, that is a problem I really can’t have. (I don’t want the chance of getting an infection in a cut.) Even the wrong shaving cream can be irritating to my sensitive skin or cause my skin to be dry. If there isn’t enough moisturizer in the shaving cream, the razor won’t glide across the skin and tug the hairs instead of cutting them. Since the blades only clip the hair above the surface of the skin, the stubble can be back the very next day. Bikini season is a nightmare when it comes to keeping areas smooth for weeks at a time and avoiding the evil “razor rash” which is uncomfortable as heck!

womancreamDepilatory Creams: There are also products that are a chemical preparation that is applied to the surface of the skin to break down the composition of the hairs in that area. You then wipe or “scrape” away the weakened hair strands. For me, these are just not an option. My sensitive skin has told me so. When I use these products, the results aren’t good. I end up with problems that many people find as well: harsh smells, irritated skin, chemical burns, and even allergic reactions. Although the hair starts growing back slower than if you used a razor, you will still begin to feel stubble within a few days.

waxingWaxing: This actually is a process that I do not mind so much. I can find waxes at almost all department or drug stores. The cost is a bit more than the other two options but is way more thorough. We know that waxing is a process where you apply the product to the skin, then pull it off quickly to pull hairs out from the skin. There are cold wax kits that can be used where the wax is already on the strip so it can be pressed against the skin, then pulled up. Great idea but not if your hair is thick or course. The cold waxes very seldom “latch on” if the hair you are trying to remove is like this. Hot wax treatments work much better—you apply the hot wax directly to the area with the hair you don’t want then press on a cloth strip. After a minute or so, when the wax has begun to harden, you grab the cloth and “rip” if off. Cold wax kits are far less messy than hot wax, but also less effective. Even though hot wax is a better option, you have to be careful of wax burns, bumps and irritation. Some people like the results of a wax treatment, but you have to let the hair grow out for several weeks before you can even have it done. That’s a very long wait time, especially in the summer!!

laserLaser Hair Removal: More and more people are looking into getting their not-so-welcomed hair removed for good. That is where the laser option comes into play. This is a very effective method of removing unwanted hair from the body for as long as possible. Laser hair removal equipment uses intense pulses of controlled light to target the hair follicles and destroy the roots. The lasers use a specific wavelength of light and a limited pulse length to target the hair and not the skin. Because the hair follicle is damaged, it isn’t “healthy” enough to rejuvenate new hair growth right away. Laser hair removal can remove hair for as little as several months and a long as years. The length of time the hair is gone differs widely from person to person.

Professional vs. Personal Use Lasers

Personal lasers are for use in the privacy of your own home. They are far less powerful than professional laser devices. In order to make them safe for the common consumer, personal use lasers utilize lower power settings so people can’t injure themselves without supervision. That means they take longer to use and don’t capture the same amount of hair as the ones that are used in clinics or spas.

Professional lasers are powerful and can injure a person if not used correctly. Only a licensed technician may operate these devices. They are trained to understand the different settings and how to safely apply treatments to their clients. Although it does sound a bit dangerous, qualified and educated technicians are the only ones licensed to use them. Because they are more powerful, though, they do a MUCH more efficient job of removing hair.

Does Laser Hair Removal Require More Than One Treatment?

So, maybe you are like me and considering a laser treatment for hair removal. I have done a lot of research ever since my skin began to get much more sensitive and recovery time got longer after shaving and/or waxing. I know that if I find the right laser removal place, it may take a little while to get the results I want. If you are looking just to be bikini ready for the beach, then one or two sessions should be enough. The first treatment will capture most of the undesirable hairs, though you may need a second treatment if you have multiple areas or just want to make sure everything stays smooth for a while. That’s not bad at all. Perfect for just the areas I need treated for summer.

If you are looking for a more permanent removal, it will take several sessions to capture all the hairs. In addition, you will need to follow up with a yearly treatment to capture any new growth. It will not permanently remove all the hairs, though what hair does grow back will be far finer, lighter and fewer in number than before. This makes it very possible to even tweeze the ones that come back yourself. A lot less irritation for my skin for a longer period of time for just a few sessions. Definitely appealing!

With winter here now, this gives me time to decide if I want to forego the razor and wax to look more towards a laser removal option. I know for a fact it will be more beneficial to my skin, avoiding unwanted cuts and irritation. Now is the perfect time to weigh the options and do some investigating.

So, Sassinistas….. chime in! What is YOUR preferred method of hair removal and why? What are your go-to products. And if you have had a laser treatment, I want to know the details! Put your thoughts in a comment below!!

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4 Responses to “Hair Removal: Lasers vs. Non-Laser Methods”

  1. Teresa Brett December 27, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    Hi Sassy!

    I went the permanent laser route: full legs, underarms and brazillian. I may be getting sensitive in my old age, and it did have a bit of pain – particularly that brazillian! Second, it works on dark hair to near exclusion. So although the hair removal is guaranteed, the white and lighter hairs don’t attract the laser, so they don’t crumble and die. I had very good results at the spa after about five treatments, and continued to the typical routine of eight, with four returns on all areas over two years. This gives plenty of time after treatments (spaced about eight weeks apart) are done to have anything regrow that can still get lasered off. It might sound pricey: $2,300. BUT I paid all at once for 8 treatments on the three areas, with the 4 returns on all three. Parsing it down makes it more reasonable – but the areas run different prices. The spa can usually bundle and you save a few dollars. Another benefit of paying up front is it makes life easy! Once you make an appointment for your first treatment, you can make your next appointment at the end of the first, and basically, come and go in about 20 minutes. It’s not so time consuming when there’s not waiting to pay, or haggling about what’s next as it’s all set.

    All in all, it took me about a year to get it all done. Then I went on vacation to the ocean: SO WORTH EVERY PENNY! No need to shave before the beach, no salt-water rash from shaving then hitting the ocean, and (the best) no need to shave after sunning!

    The caveats: Hair laser can’t be used over tattooed skin (bummer) since the laser will destroy the ink. I am wondering if the at home models with less power are the same? It works best on dark hair; light hair, not so much. Dark skin will not have the best results – the spa personnel will examine you for sun exposure, and if you are too tan, you may not get a treatments since too dark skin does not produce good results. Last, no antibiotics can be used in the two week window before a treatment. Why? I know so much – that I don’t know why! And you need to shave before you have a treatment. My “return” visits after the main 8 – I didn’t shave so the tech could see where it sprouted!

    I think it was totally worth it, and I wish I had done it sooner – sooner than when I got that tattoo on my leg!!

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  2. Zequek Estrada February 9, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    I’m not too fond of shaving, so I’ve been considered other methods of hair removal. It’s nice to know that if you’re planning on using the laser hair removal, it will take more than one session. Personally, I think it would be easier to talk with an expert to find out what will work best for you.

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    • Sassy Auburn February 9, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      I completely agree. My daughter’s detmatologist told her that lasering the hair on her legs would be the best for the ingrown hairs. That’s true and a great option. But like you said… several treatments add up $$ and there is no guarantee. We continue to weigh the options but after talking with him this seems to be the best option.

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  3. Derek Dewitt July 26, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    My wife is looking for some new hair removal methods because her old products weren’t working. I like that laser hair removal uses light to destroy the follicles of the hair for a more permanent solution. She is sick of always having to shave so a more long-term method sounds beneficial. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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