Tired of shaving? Aren’t we all!,
Looking for a permanent solution to de-fuzzing? Then laser hair removal is a pretty seductive option.
Well I took the plunge a while ago; and bought my first laser hair removal device. I knew there was technology out there at the dermatologists clinic. But that was way beyond my financial reach. Finally I found some laser hair removal systems for home use, but for me they still seemed expensive.
I suppose I was exited about the prospect of treating myself at home, but frightened at the same time about the cost, and and if they would work.
Frustration finally got the better of me one day, and wham I walked in and bought one.
Since then tons of different laser hair removal devices came onto the market, and I am actually on my second device, my much loved Remington iLight.
Anyway there is so many devices on sale now, conflicting reports, and what I consider mis-information.
When I was asked by Red Light Therapy Guide to write an article and share what I learned on my laser hair removal journey I jumped at the chance. Even is it was just to dispel some myths and bogus claims.
I hope this post helps you to understand a bit more about home lasers, and if home laser hair removal is right for you.
Anyway summer is in full swings and If I am going to let it all hang out, then at least I want it to hang out smooth.
|Laser Hair Removal Guide
Advice and tips for buying and using a Laser Hair Removal Device.
So I’ve got a whole list of beauty treatments to think about as summer approaches. Maybe somewhere towards the top is getting rid of of all that fuzz growing where the sun does not shine in the winter! Now it’s summer, well lets face it, its just got to go.
I know that all the big mens razor manufacturers have made razors just for us girlie girls. But their pretty colours and curvy shapes don’t make the hassle of shaving any easier or more interesting. Most women do spend a lot, and I mean a lot of time and money on removing body hair. What ever your thoughts on female body hair, the truth is most of us don’t want it.
Well until quite recently, laser hair removal had been the exclusive domain of beauty salons and dermatologists. The high treatment price tag meant it was well and truly out of reach for me. It was just for the lucky few who could afford it. The thing with laser hair removal is that it does require multiple treatments and most often follow up maintenance treatments too. Multiple treatments means multiplying costs.
If it was a one or even two visit solution then it might be an option. But trust me it isn’t. Going to a clinic mostly needs a bag full of money, and a ton of precious time.
The problem you see, predictably, is the hair itself. and what stage of growth it is in, to whether treatment will succeed quickly or not. But I am going to explain that in a bit more detail further on.
Ok problems and hassle you have heard enough about. This article is about possible solutions, and the huge difference that home laser hair devices has made to my beauty regime.
HOW DO LASER HAIR REMOVAL DEVICES WORK?
The principle behind it is called selective photothermolysis, but don’t worry about that. It is a pretty simple process with a fancy title.
Hair removal lasers effectively destroy hair without damaging any of the surrounding skin. They selectively heat just the dark target hair follicles.
Light and heat is absorbed easily by dark materials or objects. ( we all know not to wear black in the summer or else we’ll bake, right?) The laser heat then will effectively disable the hair follicle and stop it growing back.
Simple right? Well not quite. There are a few issues with the process. For most, but not all lasers to work properly and efficiently there needs to be a good contrast between the hair follicle and skin colour so the laser can target the follicle.
SKIN AND HAIR COLOUR ARE IMPORTANT
Lets look at the skin tones and hair colours that are most suited to using laser hair removal devices. We are looking for a good contrast in colour between dark follicle and surrounding skin. Don’t expect to be an exact match on the charts of course, they are just a guide line. And thank goodness there are many shades of us in between!!
Because the laser looks for dark follicles white, grey and red hair colours are not suitable for most devices. There is an exceptional device mentioned below that treats all shades of hair and skin. So read on please.
The brown and dark skin colours are not normally suitable for treatment. But carry on reading for some good news. From light through to olive have good treatment outcomes,
Unfortunately blondes, red heads and silver to white hair hair owners are not suitable for treatment from most devices.
So the “ideal” candidate for most types of home treatment laser devices is going to be a pale skinned, black haired person. But luckily it still works great on various other skin shades and hair colours. I have provided the handy chart to see if your skin type and hair colour is compatible with this type of laser treatment. It basically shows that blondes, redheads and silver foxes are out of luck with this type of treatment. From light brown hair through to black it works great.
DARKER AND AFRO SKIN SHADES
Disappointingly most home don’t work on darker skin colours and lighter hair. But I carefully researched all of the best available devices and found the iluminage Touch Range of devices which are to be able to be used on all skin colours and hues, as well as all hair colours.The technique for tackling light hair colours is rather different than I have written below in as it requires waxing before using the device. It seems to be a brilliant breakthrough.
A final minor complication to the treatment, predictably, is the hair itself. The treatment works best on hair that is actively growing. Well thats all my hair you might think. Not so. There are three life phases our hair goes through before it naturally falls out. With our laser treatment we need to catch it in the growth phase. Thats another good reason why self administered treatment at home is a great idea. I write a little more on the growth phase further on.
PREPARATION FOR TREATMENT
So you have checked your skin type and made your decision to buy. Wise decision. I am super happy with my Remington, but more of that later. Whatever model you have chosen here are a few tips I have picked up when using mine.
First lets not forget this a dermatological treatment that has been approved for home use, and you that you have got a laser in your hand. Don’t worry it’s quite safe, but there are certain things you must be aware of for the best treatment outcome.
Do shave the area you are going to treat the day before, and make sure it is nice and clean. I advise to use a new razor too to avoid picking up and bacteria from an old used razor
If you have recently waxed then you are going to have to wait at least 4-6 weeks before treatment. There has got to be a significant follicle there for the laser to target you see. The same applies to tweezers, if you’ve tugged your hair out then you’ll have to wait too.
It is important to shave because if any hair is proud of the skin and the laser hits it then it can cause some irritation or even micro burns. Remember it’s just the follicle we are looking for, we don’t want to target any hairs that stand proud of the skin.
Some people like to exfoliate before treatment too. They swear it makes a difference. I did try it myself, and I can’t be really sure if it helped or not. I don’t bother these days. But it might be worth considering, everybody’s skin is different so one method does not fit all.
Avoid the sun. The areas that you are targeting should not be tanned Even sunless tanning products are best avoided.
Some people prefer to use numbing creams before treatment, they are fine but make sure they are applied at least an hour before the laser to give them a chance to work. Some manufacturers like Tria recommend using their “Smooth Start Calming Gel” before treatment. That helps too. I did try it in the beginning, I think it really helped to give me confidence before the early treatments. And it worked out a lot cheaper than drinking a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon for a confidence boost. Seriously though it’s worth considering, the gel I mean, not the wine!
Hey sounds like a lot of do’s and don’ts. But they are really just common sense things.
WHY IS A SERIES OF TREATMENTS REQUIRED
As I touched on above the laser treatment is only effective during the growing phase of our hairs life cycle. In fact although everyone’s hair grows differently, depending on our age, weight, hormones or ethnicity, it goes through three distinct phases:
When it is actively growing in what is known as the anagen phase our laser treatment is effective. Fortunately this phase will typically last 3-5 years. Over time though the length of the anagen stage decreases. This often causes the hair to become weaker and thinner after each cycle.
The second phase is when the hair stops growing but remains with us. The follicle shrinks and it is preparing itself for it final escape!! About 3 – 5% of our body hair is in this phase. This is known as the catagen phase.
Finally there is the telogen phase, when the hair actually falls out. Over the course of several months new hair then begins to form. A normal healthy person will actually shed 75-100 hairs a day. Thats perfectly normal. For the balding person when they stop growing back is when the disaster starts.
In our case we are looking for a controlled hair departure. Thats where our friend the laser comes in.
Now we understand a little the way our hair flourishes over a few years then leaves us, normally on our hair brush, or in the bottom of the shower!!. We can now see why multiple sessions of laser treatments are required to ensure we get a good outcome.
In a just a single or couple of treatments not all of the active phase hair follicles will be destroyed. Some may be just miniaturised into light, fine hairs, So treatment needs to be repeated to take until all the hair follicles have been effectively treated.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS
There are side effects to this treatment but they should not be long lasting.
As you might expect they include some skin irritation. Redness and swelling are also possible Any signs and symptoms will typically disappear within several hours.
Pigment changes have been occasionally noted. The laser might darken or lighten the affected skin, again usually temporarily. It might sound like I am stating the obvious but skin lightening primarily affects those who have darker skin. Pale skin does not get paler.
After treatment the skin might be sensitive to natural sunlight or UV light from sun beds etc, so use a good sun screen blocker.
And finally; another major side effect that can have a long lasting consequences is the rapid emptying of your bank account if you do opt for a laser removal centre. if you go that route make sure they are a reputable one. Please.
WHAT DOES LASER HAIR REMOVAL TREATMENT FEEL LIKE?
Compared to waxing, tweezers and other forms of hair removal, the laser has very little discomfort. It has been described like a rubber band snapping against the skin. Everybody’s tolerances are a little different, but most home device have a power setting that can be adjusted to suit each individuals threshold. A numbing cream is always an alternative is you find it too disagreeable.
I HAVE DARKER SKIN? CAN LASER HAIR REMOVAL STILL BE EFFECTIVE?
Most home treatment laser devices are not suitable for darker skin tones, but the iluminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction Device claims that all skin and hair shades can benefit from their device. This device combines Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Radio Frequency (RF) to target individual hairs. The makers claim that in just seven weekly treatments over a period of six week, you can experience more comfortable and permanent hair removal.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN IPL AND A LASER?
Both terms are methods of light delivery. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) produces a broad spectrum of lightwaves. Lasers on the other hand use a single wavelength of light.
HOW DOES LASER HAIR REMOVAL COMPARE WITH ELECTROLYSIS HAIR REMOVAL?
The laser method is much faster. Electrolysis is a process that treats only one hair at a time, painstaking and slow. The laser hair treats multiple hairs per laser pulse.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THE HAIR WON’T GROW BACK NORMALLY?
Well the whole point of buying and using a self administered hair removal device is to deal with any hair follicles that have been missed and have “grown back”. Having the luxury of self treating at home means you can systematically and comfortably deal with any recurring growth. Follicles that have been successfully treated though should remain dormant.
HOW LONG HAS LASER TECHNOLOGY FOR HAIR REMOVAL BEEN IN USE?
The laser was first used for medicinal purposes more than fifty years ago. Laser hair removal devices have been used commercially for hair removal since the 1990s.