Laser Hair Removal 101: Your Questions About Preparation, Benefits, Side Effects & Cost Answered

Laser Hair Removal 101Are you sick of cursing every time you nick yourself while you shave?

How about cringing with every tug of a waxing strip that your aesthetician didn’t get in the first pull?

We’ve been there done that, and we’re so over it!

Say au revoir to the pinch of epilators, razor bumps, and the burns from depilatory creams forever! Laser is in and the razor is out!

Welcome to the new, smooth you!

Does laser hair removal actually work? You betcha! Not only does science and studies prove it, but so many women’s shiny legs and many men’s nick-free and bump-free chins and hairless backs do too!

So how much will you have to fork out? Are you afraid of the pain, and where do you begin to know anything about the hyped-up procedure? Right here of course! We’re about to get all your hairs standing in the exciting kind of way!


10 Questions About Laser Hair Removal [Answered]

1. How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?

Your insurance company is going to put up every bureaucratic firewall they have to elude paying for your hair removal, so you’re on your own! Straight to the point, the average cost in 2016 is $306.

The sketchy part is, that’s just an average price which is a guess for you at best. The cost varies due to quite a few factors:

  • Number of sessions needed
  • Expertise and qualifications of the practitioner
  • Type of machine and procedure used
  • Where the hair removal office is or where you live
  • Effort and time it takes to perform the procedure
  • Target areas of the body

Every part of the body that you could consider for hair removal has dollar signs on it, and boy does the price list vary! You can pay anywhere between $150-$600 for the facial area, $150-$500 for the bikini region alone, and $300-$900 for your wolf-man back! The gut-wrenching part about the prices? These are per session! Yes, the costs are sky-rocketing up front. But, it’s actually right on par with comparing the lifetime costs of waxing and shaving, and it actually turns out cheaper than electrolysis. However, the convenience of permanent hair reduction is priceless!


2. How to Choose a Laser Hair Removal Provider

While the cheapest price may be a strong motivation to select a provider, there are more important matters at hand. Most of the time, paying a little bit more for a doctor with experience, a reputation, and the latest technology can make all the difference in your hairy world!

The use of laser hair removal machines, pulse duration, type of machine, and many other unique parameters determined in your initial consultation will require an expert who knows what they’re doing. It’s that kind of service that you should be willing to pay for.

Things to consider:

  • Medical degrees of the practitioner
  • Experience in laser hair removal
  • How long the company has been in business
  • The company’s reputation garnered from real-life reviews
  • The quality of the laser machines
  • The accessibility to various machines to treat all skin and hair types and colors
  • Accurate pricing
  • Any membership opportunities for touch-up routines etc



3. How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal?

Easy – don’t remove any hair for six weeks prior to your treatment! Okay, maybe not as easy as it sounds since you’re trying to avoid hairy status as much as possible. The gist of it is, the laser needs existing hair to target – no hair, no permanent results!

No matter how caterpillar-like your mono-brow gets or how gruff and manly your chinny-chin-chin hair grows when you’re a woman, avoid the urge to tweeze and wax! If your legs get too scratchy, you might be able to get away with shaving since you’re technically preserving the hair shaft – just enough for the laser to target the follicles. Plus, you might be saving your doctor the chore since they’d trim you down anyway to prevent the laser from targeting hair above the skin’s surface.

You also want to stay out of the sun for six weeks, ditch the sunless tanning products, and quit the trips to the tanning bed. If you already have a tan, wait for it to completely disappear before your hair removal treatment. This is because you can increase your risks for side effects like unwanted skin lightening.


4. How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser technology for hair removal has moved in speeding leaps over the last two decades and is better than ever! It’s extremely effective and is even considered a standard procedure in the dermatology community whether it’s done in a clinic or at home. With that being said, how does laser hair removal work?

LASER stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. While “radiation” can sound like a scary term, it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s actually a non-ionizing radiation that’s completely different to ionizing radiation used in x-rays, nuclear, and ultra-violet radiation.

A laser hair removal machine emits extremely precise pulses of light directly to the pigment of the hair – melanin. It targets and destroys hair follicle cells to prevent hair regrowth and causing it to fall out. All this is done without damaging the surrounding tissue and skin. Laser hair removal is also very effective and fast because it targets multiple hairs at a time.

Fair skin tones and dark hair types are often the ideal skin and hair combinations for hair removal because light is attracted to the darker pigments just like dark clothing attracts sunlight. However, another type of laser machine can also target unwanted hair with darker skin tones.


5. How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Last?

The results can last you a long time, say six months to a year. However, multiple sessions are required if you want the best results. The number of treatments you have will depend on a few parameters such as type (coarseness) of hair, hair color, skin complexion, target area, sex, and your reasons for removing unwanted hair.

Some patients see significant results immediately after the first session, but it’s typical to see hair removal about 2-3 weeks after the initial treatment. The laser targets and destroys the melanin and hair follicle cells. It then takes a couple weeks to shed the existing hair. Sessions can be scheduled about 6-8 weeks apart.

For those who are impatient, here’s a warning! After a treatment, you shouldn’t try to remove the hair yourself – just let the laser treatment run its course. You can introduce bacteria into your skin and cause infections. Also, plucking at the hairs after treatment can be very painful while your skin is in an extremely sensitive state. Your impatient efforts might also counteract the treatment benefits.

While permanent results are typically what you’re after, things might not be as permanent as you want. Skin cells can always repair themselves and replenish to start producing hair again. It’s just the workings of an amazing body, but it means bad news to you because you’re hairy again! However, laser treatments slow down the growth of hair and reduces the number of hair that grows back. Touch-up treatments are an excellent way to keep up with maintaining a hairless body!

Interesting side note, “permanent” laser hair removal is sort of deceiving. According to the FDA, clinics can’t advertise “permanent hair removal”. However, they can advertise “permanent hair reduction” since they can’t 100 percent guarantee a removal of all hair forever! But, don’t worry, a years worth of not shaving sounds pretty permanent to us!



6. How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?

We get it, you’re curious and maybe a tad concerned. Is it going to sting like a wax? Pinch like an epilator? What if you have sensitive skin? Pain tolerance is subjective because every individual is different. However, the typical experience that’s been reported by those who have used laser treatments for hair removal have been positive.

The latest laser technology incorporates a cooling mechanism that helps light penetrate the skin and reach the roots of the hair during the pulsating laser emissions. Because of the cooling action, it also helps to minimize discomfort from the heat and energy created by the laser. Laser hair removal has often been described like being snapped by a rubber band.

Those with really sensitive skin who are removing hair from only small areas of the bod can request numbing and cooling topical creams for application 30 minutes prior to the procedure to improve comfort. Seriously though, we’re sure that a split second snap of a rubber band is more preferable to waxing and epilating for the rest of your hairy life!


7. Laser Hair Removal at Home VS Clinic?

At-home laser hair removal devices have made a huge difference for many men and women who don’t want to pay for multiple sessions for laser hair removal. They’re convenient and you can use them in the privacy of your own home, plus they’re also battery powered! However, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a scaled-down version of a clinical-grade laser machine.

The benefits of using an at-home laser hair removal device is dynamically its drawbacks as well. Because they’re battery powered, they’re less effective. They’re also made to be handheld devices with small heads and targeting large areas of the body will be time consuming. It’s also designed for the person with the most ideal skin and hair combinations for removal. So if you’re dark skinned or have grey, blonde, light, or fine hair, you most likely won’t get at-home results.

If you’re considering a professional session, a consultation is a must! This gives the practitioner the opportunity to determine the most effective machine to use for your skin type, skin complexion, and hair type and color. These factors will also determine the duration of the light pulses, the strength of energy needed, and the number of treatments required.


8. Laser Hair Removal Vs. Electrolysis?

The laser way is the faster way! Take it from us and the experts! While laser can effectively treat several hair follicles in a fraction of a second, electrolysis targets only one hair at a time. This can be significantly time consuming and painful. Electrolysis can take anywhere from 30-60 seconds to electrify, weaken, kill, and release each hair follicle, where some newer electrolysis technologies can be faster.

But, electrolysis does work on any skin color and hair type and color. Since it removes one hair at a time, it’s considered the only permanent hair removal procedure for over 100 years! However, laser is 60 percent faster and less painful. While laser treatments require multiple sessions, it often brings about better results.



9. What are the Benefits of Laser Hair Removal?

Hair removal is purely justified for many a reason from cosmetic preferences to boost self-image and confidence to preventing ingrown, infected hair follicles. Don’t forget that men also deal with hair that pokes through clothing and women can save time shaving and waxing to spend on other meaningful things.

  • Can be cost-effective procedure versus electrolysis.
  • Long lasting – 6 months to a year.
  • FDA-approved.
  • Safe and effective if performed correctly.
  • Time-saving versus electrolysis.
  • Effective for large target areas.
  • Less side effects and less painful than electrolysis.
  • Boosts self-confidence.
  • Convenient and fast procedure.


10. Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal

While there are many hairless benefits to look forward to, there are some downsides too.

  • Treatment can be very expensive.
  • Multiple treatments are necessary.
  • Not technically permanent since regrowth can be expected but reduction is promised.
  • Lighter skin tones with darker hair have better results.
  • Skin redness, itching, and swelling can occur but should dissipate within three days.
  • Rare side effects like skin discoloration, infection, and blistering can occur.
  • *Death.

*The death side effect has occurred during laser hair removal. However, the patients’ deaths were directly linked to the toxic effects of the anesthetic drugs – the use of numbing agents to minimize pain over a large target area. Since the area was exposed to high levels of heat temperatures during laser hair removal, they suffered seizures, a coma, and then eventually death.

This is because the excessive use of numbing agents seeped into the blood stream and caused symptoms like irregular heart beat, slowed heart beat, and eventually toxic effects resulting in death. If you need to use a numbing agent, discuss with your practitioner first what would be the best approach for you!


Laser Your Way to a Hairless You!

While we ended on a death note, laser hair removal is a very safe procedure. You just have to be informed of what you need to do to maximize your benefits and how to shop for a provider.

So when you’re mustache-free and there are no signs of your lint-gathering navel hair, we’re proud to say, “You’re welcome!”