At Home Laser Hair Removal: To use or not to use?

 
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Painless and permanent hair removal sounds just too good to be true. No more shaving or waxing? No more embarrassing hairs on your face, legs, or bikini line? That sounds too much like a gimmick. Laser hair removal is starting to crop up in businesses all around the nation, but treatments cost upwards of $200 and requires you to go 6-12 times. When it’s all said and done, getting rid of your dark leg hairs could cost you between $1200-2400! Companies have begun coming out with at home laser hair removal devices that are much more budget friendly. But then, questions arise: does it actually work? Is it worth the money? Is it safe? We are not experts (so talk to a dermatologist if you are unsure), but we’ve put together things to know to help you make an informed decision on whether you should invest in laser hair removal or if it’s not for you.

Science behind it:

  • Pulses of highly concentrated light are emitted into the hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles absorb the light and destroys the hair and prevents regrowth.

  • Hairs operate in a cycle--a growth phase, rest phase, and falling out phase. Not every hair will respond to the laser treatment because it may not be present at the time. This is why you need to do treatment regularly.

  • The FDA states the laser treatment effectively removes 70% of the hair that you have. 

Potential side effects:

  • May change the pigment of your skin for a period of time. If your skin is lighter, it may become darker; if your skin is darker, it may look lighter.

  • Irritated skin like redness or tiny bumps usually occur directly after treatment. They tend to go away in a few days.

  • Sun exposure can make your skin more irritated directly following appointments, so make sure you are well protected from the sun the few days following a treatment.

  • Burning/blisters/scarring is more common if you are not a professional at handling this equipment. Do not laser tattoos, moles, or dark areas of your skin. If your skin is overheating, take a 10-15 min break before you return to the treatment.

Things to know: 

  • Laser hair removal works best on people with lighter skin + darker hair. If you have dark skin or red/blonde/gray hair, make sure you are much more careful in reading reviews about the product to see if it will be effective.

  • At home treatments typically take much more time, especially when applying it over large surface areas like your legs.

  • Make sure you research what kind of product you want based on where you plan to remove hair. Some work better on smaller, more contoured areas like your upper lip & bikini line, while others work better on larger areas like your back & legs.

  • Many products only zap light a certain amount of times before it’s unusable. Depending on how much hair you plan to remove, check and make sure that it will last for the amount of treatments you will need to make.

  • Some of these products will hurt. If you’re not willing to go through sensation similar to plucking, make sure you look through the reviews and make sure the product you are buying is pain free.

Highly rated products:

Pros:

-Long-lasting, gives a total of 30,000 light pulses before it needs to be replaced

-Designed for larger areas of skin

-FDA cleared and approved

Cons

-Not safe for darker skin tones because the device can’t differentiate between hair and skin. It may result in burning darker skin.

-Does not work on lighter hair colors.

-Some people experience pain with this product.

Pros:

-Safe, and easy to use lock system when used inappropriately.

-First at-home, FDA approved laser treatment.

-Can be used on light hair and dark skin.

Cons:

-Less budget-friendly and affordable.

-Treatment takes a little more time than getting it professionally lasered. 

Pros:

-Much more affordable & budget friendly.

-Virtually painless compared to other products.

-Can be used on face & body.

Cons:

-Takes a longer amount of time to see results.

-Can only provide 5-6 full body treatments (may need to get a refill cartridge to complete the full treatment).