Permanent hair removal: get rid of unwanted hair!
In recent years, lasers have become a handy alternative to shaving, waxing, depilatories, electrolysis and tweezing of unwanted hair on the face and body. Laser hair removal can be done at a doctor’s office or at the spa. You can even have laser hair removal at home, generally with positive results. This procedure is more expensive, but less painful and less time consuming as compared to other methods. But is laser hair removal permanent? Let’s find more.
How does it work?
There are several types of laser devices, but all make use of the same technology, and come with the advantage that they can treat larger areas at a time (unlike electrolysis, for instance).
The person performing the procedure (a doctor, but also a nurse, beauty technician or even yourself) holds a device and presses it to your skin. The instrument then emits light and heat, targeting the unwanted hair. The laser penetrates the skin without affecting it and damages each hair follicle from the treated area. The goal is to get the root so that the follicle will be unable to produce new hair for a while at least.
So is laser hair removal permanent or not?
It’s important to know that even when the best instruments are used, not everyone will get the same results from their laser hair removal treatment. The outcome varies from person to person, sometimes considerably, and depends on a variety of factors.
- The area of the body which will be treated has a great influence on the results of laser hair removal. Thus, areas with coarse, dark hair are likely to get better results than areas with fine, light hair. That’s because the laser targets the color pigment in the hair, and it may fail to do so in the case of light hair.
- The color of your skin also matters; more specifically, people with darker or tanned skin are more exposed risks than patients with lighter skin. They are also likely to get more temporary results, but the technology is being constantly improved to address this issue.
- The size of the targeted area also plays a part, but not so much in the effectiveness of the procedure, but in the time it takes and the overall cost. Thus, chin hair removal can be done in a few minutes and at a reasonable price, while treating larger areas, like the legs, might take several hours and costs a lot more.
So, is laser hair removal permanent? The short answer is no, but there are important shades to consider here.
The FDA approves laser treatments for permanent hair reduction, rather than permanent hair removal. However, most patients experience hair free patches throughout the targeted areas, and when hair does grow back, it is generally finer and lighter, so easier to remove with traditional methods. Furthermore, there may be hairs that are resistant to the laser treatment, so make sure to discuss this with your doctor.
While some regrowth can be expected with laser treatment, hair reduction can be maintained long-term (up to years) with periodic maintenance sessions.
Permanent hair removal can be achieved via electrolysis, according to the FDA. Electrolysis can be quite painful, as it requires the insertion of needles into every hair follicle; this also makes it time consuming. Note that neither procedure guarantees permanent hair removal, but with electrolysis your hairs are less likely to grow back as they are with laser.
Home laser treatment
Is laser hair removal permanent when using home devices? There is no definitive answer to this question, simply because there have been no large studies on the subject. However, the FDA considers home laser hair removal as cosmetic devices, while the instruments used at a doctor’s office are regarded as medical devices.
The best advice in case you decide to use them is to follow the manufacturer instructions carefully, and avoid any forbidden areas, such as the eyes.