To those who have been thinking of getting a laser hair removal treatment, here are some things you need to know. These are the same questions I had before I invested on laser hair removal treatments. I also made a video towards the end of this post to share with you the entire process and my experience so you know what to expect during the session.
Why is there a need for laser hair removal?
I’ll answer this from my personal experience. I decided to give it a go for the underarms and the bikini area due to several reasons.
- First, I’m tired of shaving, plucking or waxing the hair. It takes time. Visiting a waxing salon can take 30 minutes to an hour, plus let’s not forget the traffic. Even shaving or plucking can take time, which I don’t have when I’m in a hurry.
- I wanted to achieve smoother and whiter skin. Shaving, plucking and waxing can all cause skin trauma because of the pulling of the hair. This can cause skin darkening or irritations. It can also cause hair ingrown, which happens when hair grows back into the skin instead of up to the surface. This is the little red bumps or “chicken skin” we see.
- Regular visits to the waxing salon can be costly. Laser hair removal can seem expensive at first glance, but if you try to add up all your visits to the waxing salon, you’ll realize the latter will eventually cost more.
- I just wanted to be hair-free! It used to be a dream to wear sleeveless tops or to go to the beach without worrying anything hair-related. I really don’t like the hassle and the stress of booking an appointment and waiting in the waxing salon.
I tried Hair Removal Treatment before but why is the hair back?
Here are some reasons why the hair is growing back even if you had treatments before:
- Hair removal machines are not made equal. Basically, all work on the same principle– that is they emit light energy, which is absorbed by areas with high pigment, such as hairs. These are heated up, causing damage to follicles and preventing hair from growing back. BUT the energy these machines emit can vary so you might have done your hair removal in a clinic with a low-powered machine. It is important to go to a reputable clinic that invests on good and quality machines.
- You didn’t follow your hair removal sessions religiously or you didn’t finish the required number of treatments. After a few sessions, you can see a huge difference of the amount of hair growing back. It’s very tempting to stop the treatment thinking it will remain as is. Nope. Your hair follows a life cycle. You need to be treated during the hair’s growth phase, when the laser can target the most hair. Missing treatments means missing this phase, and may result hair to grow back.
- You started waxing, shaving or plucking again. If you see hair strands grow back, you must do a booster session of laser hair removal instead of pulling the hair, which can lead to the thickening of the hair again.
What is the difference between IPL and Laser Hair Removal?
As mentioned earlier, all hair removal machines use light to heat the hair follicle and prevent regrowth. How this light is delivered is the main difference.
IPL or Intense Pulsed Light uses broad spectrum light that emits light at multiple wavelengths, while Laser emits one focused wavelength that can go deeper into the skin to damage hair follicles. Without being too technical, both methods can be effective in removing hair. IPL covers a larger area as it emits a range of different wavelengths, but can also target high pigments in the surrounding skin. Laser, on the other hand, is more precise thus not heating the surrounding skin.
Here is my personal experience on both machines. I’ve tried both hair removal methods. I had my underarm hair removal 12 years ago at Facial Care Centre, so I believe they were still using an IPL machine at that time. I didn’t experience my hair to grow back with vengeance. I just noticed few thin strands (too thin that they are unnoticeable) grow back after 8 years. I just had a booster session using their current machine, which is LaserLight, and now they’re gone! But one important difference I noticed between the two is that IPL is definitely more painful compared to Laser, specifically Facial Care Centre’s LaserLight.
Why are some laser treatments cheaper than others?
The cheaper prices of some lasers often means you’re getting lower pulses of energy or fewer passes on the skin. This means, you’re getting less-than-optimum results. This will lead to more treatment sessions, which can eventually mean higher price in total.
Again, another personal experience, my first few few sessions of underarm hair removal was from a dermatologist. My sister and I started with our sessions at the same time but my sister had hers at Facial Care Centre. We were both in our 5th session and I didn’t see much difference on my underarm hair growth. I could easily pull out the hair strands using my hand, which means the machine effectively targeted the hair shafts but not the roots as they kept on growing back. On the other hand, my sister was almost done with her underarm hair removal treatment at that time. This is when I decided to switch to Facial Care Centre and in just a few sessions, I already saw a huge difference. This when I realized it is not always good to scrimp on skin care. In the end, you might be paying more, which happened to me.
Is Laser Hair Removal painful?
As mentioned earlier, I tried both IPL and Laser Hair Removal and IPL is definitely more painful. Recently, I tried Laser Hair Removal for both my legs and bikini area. For the legs, I didn’t feel anything. For the bikini area, the first session was the most uncomfortable and the next sessions were more tolerable. The pain can vary depending on the density and thickness of hair and the sensitivity of the area. Of course, it depends on the person’s pain tolerance too. For those with low pain tolerance, don’t worry, there is always an option to use topical anesthesia.
What are the risks?
One is eye damage, which is the reason why protective eye goggles are needed to be worn by both the patient and the person administering the laser treatment.
Burning, blistering, and scarring can happen if the therapist is not properly knowledgeable about the use of the machine. There are specific laser settings needed depending on hair condition– density, thickness, and color. Therefore, it is important to do the laser hair treatment in a reputable clinic.
Will the hair ever grow back?
This was my worry before I started with my underarm hair removal. If I would pay this much amount of money, of course I would want to be assured that I won’t go back to shaving, plucking or waxing eventually. And since it has been 12 years since I finished my underarm hair removal, I can now answer this.
Yes, it can grow back BUT very, very minimal. The hair strands are very thin that they are almost not visible. You can always have a booster session, which in my case, I only had one session done and it was on my 8th year. Of course, this can vary per person. Laser hair treatment zaps CURRENT hair follicles on their growth phase, but new follicles can also develop due to hormonal changes.
Is Laser Hair Removal worth the cost?
Last, but not the least, is it worth it? I remember when I first inquired about hair removal, I was taken aback. This is also the reason why I tried it first with a dermatologist. But when I saw how my sister’s treatments at Facial Care Centre were working, while mine was not, I ended up switching and investing. I can say, it’s one of the best beauty investments I’ve done so far and it’s worth every cent. I’m genuinely happy with the result! I never had to worry about underarm hair since then. As I said, it can look expensive at first, but if you add on all the waxing salon visits, the time you spend plucking or shaving, and the stress you go through every time you need to shave, pluck, wax, laser hair removal will come out cheaper.
I hope I pretty much covered and answered all your laser hair removal questions. If you’re wondering of the entire process, I made a video of my recent LaserLight Hair Removal treatment at Facial Care. I also added my review. Enjoy!