After a year of waxing I have finally made the decision to get laser hair removal. I have been wanting to do this for almost 7 years, but the first time I had a consultation the pricing was out of control. So I waited, and waited, and waited some more until I said the hell with it and booked my first appointment. What a great decision that was!
I am going to tell you my personal experiences with both waxing and laser hair removal, the differences between waxing and laser hair removal and try to answer the most common questions about the two. If you are also looking to make the switch from waxing to laser then you’ve come to the right spot.
What is laser hair removal and how does it work?
Laser hair removal is used for permanent hair reduction. The procedure is performed by a doctor or registered nurse using laser energy to target a specific area in which you no longer want hair. The laser produces a high-energy light that targets that melanin pigment in the hair shaft, produces heat in the hair follicle and destroys the follicle so it will fall out and not grow back. You can have laser hair removal performed on virtually any part of the body. The common areas are legs, underarms, upper lip, chin, back, chest and bikini line.
How much does laser hair removal cost?
From personal experience I can say that laser hair removal is worth the cost and you will see results after the first visit. The cost depends on the area you want treated, how many treatments you will need, and the type of hair you have. Every person is unique and most places have packages you can buy. If four treatments cost more that $600 you are paying too much.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
The best way to describe the feeling is like little tiny rubber bands being snapped on your skin or a subtle stinging sensation. If you have ever had your bikini waxed it’s safe to say that is pretty painful. The laser is far less painful and on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d say a 2 to 3, but that’s just my experience. Those with thicker, darker hair will experience more pain than those with thinner, lighter hair because the thicker, darker hair will absorb more of the laser light.
What to expect during and after your laser treatment?
Before the treatment you may want to shave the specific area you want lasered. Depending on the area you might wear a gown and always goggles to protect your eyes from exposure to the laser light. Sometimes a numbing cream is put on to dull the pain or an ice pack is used to reduce discomfort. Since the laser is burning the hair out of the root you might smell the odor of singed hair. The time it takes to complete the procedure depends on the size of the area. The upper lip can take only a few minutes where a full leg or back can take an hour or two.
After your laser treatment you are ready to go about your day as normal. You might notice some redness or swelling, but that goes away after a few hours. The hair will fall out between 10-21 days after treatment.
- It is advised not to exercise for the first 24 hours because perspiration can cause irritation.
- Avoid direct sun exposure for several weeks after treatment and use sunscreen.
- Avoid tanning booths because the ultraviolet light can damage the skin.
- Don’t wax, pluck or bleach for three weeks before your laser treatment.
- Don’t rub or scrub the treated area afterwards. Gently wash with soap and water.
- Never get laser if you have a sunburn or suntan.
How many treatments will I need?
Results vary from person to person. I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but you should see great results after 3-4 treatments. I have already noticed a reduction in hair just after my first session. Some people respond better to laser hair removal than others. Experts say that between 4-7 treatments 80-90% of hair will be gone. After undergoing your first treatment you will schedule another treatment 4-5 weeks out. Hair grows in cycles and that time frame will allow the hairs that have been dormant to be affected by the laser. That is why multiple sessions are needed.
Does the hair grow back?
Sometimes the hair will grow back and does not stay permanently removed, and maintenance treatments might be necessary.
What skin type is best?
Laser hair removal works best with people with lighter skin and darker hair. It is harder to laser people with darker skin because the laser light can lighten the pigment of the skin and/or not remove the hair at all. When the skin and the hair are the same color the laser does not know where to absorb the light. But there are different types of lasers that can be used for darker skin. Make sure you go to an experienced practitioner who uses the 1064nm Nd:YAG laser if you have dark skin.
Laser Hair Removal versus Waxing
For areas like legs, bikini, underarms, back and chest I would hands down choose laser hair removal. In the long run you will end up saving money and have permanent or long-lasting results.
With waxing you have to have at least a 1/4-inch of hair to ensure a proper wax. That means that you must allow your hair to grow out before having it removed. This can be cumbersome and annoying depending on the area. With laser treatments you can shave in between each session. With waxing you cannot. Waxing lasts at most one week before the hair starts to grow back. There can be permanent hair loss with waxing, but it can take years for that to happen.
Waxing can be very painful depending on the area you have it done. My tolerance for pain is pretty high so I could stand the ripping of wax on my bikini area, but it is not for the faint of heart. Laser hair removal hurts way less.
If laser does not work for your skin type, then waxing is the second best option. Both treatments are performed every 4-5 weeks, but with laser after a few treatments you are done.
Make sure if you choose to go with laser hair removal that you go to a qualified doctor or nurse who has many years experience. It is the best decision I have made for myself. And if you have any other questions that I didn’t answer please feel free to ask!