Your Definitive Guide To Laser Hair Removal

by Tyler Atwood

As bikini season quickly approaches, the race to remove all trace of unwanted hair begins in earnest, and nearly everyone questions, yet again, whether laser hair removal is safe, or if they should stick to monthly waxings instead. Those blessed with patience may be satisfied with a simple razor and shaving cream, and those who possess a high threshold for pain might make a beeline for their friendly neighborhood waxing salon, but consumers looking for a more permanent solution have one primary option at present: laser hair removal.

A number of conflicting claims have been made about the efficacy and safety of laser hair removal, leaving beach-goers with unwanted growth confused and weary of the procedure. As one such curious consumer searching for the truth behind the treatment, I enlisted the help of Tria Beauty Interim Senior Global Marketing Director for Hair Removal Aundy Crenshaw to secure definitive answers for the most prevalent questions regarding laser hair removal. As it happens, laser hair removal exhibits visible results with few painful or unsightly side effects — but the treatment isn't for those faint of heart or low in funds. Read on for the answers to your most urgent queries about laser hair removal.

1. Laser Hair Removal Utilizes Less Mysterious Methods Than It Initially Seems

Laser hair removal may seem unreliable at best and ambiguously torturous at worst, but the science behind the procedure is actually quite simple. "The Tria Hair Removal Laser uses a diode laser that detects the pigment within the hair follicle and disables it." Crenshaw explains. "Hair follicles treated while using the Tria Hair Removal Laser are attacked and some follicles are disabled with each treatment. Because hair grows in various cycles, it takes up to three months to see full results to ensure that follicles can be disabled."

2. The Treatment Is Currently Thought To Be Safe — But Only For Patients That Meet Certain Criteria

Unfortunately, the make of current hair removal lasers prevents those with certain skin types and hair hues from being eligible for the treatment. "Laser hair removal is only recommended for those with light to light-tan skin tones with dark hair. Neither Tria nor in-office lasers will work on dark skin tones or blonde or red hair," Crenshaw warns. "Patients with lighter hair are dissuaded from using laser hair removal as the laser cannot pick up any pigment within the hair to disable the follicle. In the case of darker skin tones, the laser cannot differentiate the difference between the hair pigment and skin pigment, putting the patient’s safety at risk." Therefore, anyone with a naturally deep skin tone or a penchant for tanning beds must seek alternative hair removal options.

3. Laser Hair Removal Requires Six-Plus Treatments For Optimal Results

Laser hair removal is by no means a one-and-done-type treatment to dispel errant hairs from your skin, but some consumers may be fortunate enough to see a decrease in hair proliferation within your first two treatments. According to Crenshaw, the majority of Tria consumers require six or more sessions to view a marked change. "Permanent results can be seen when the device is used once every other week for up to 3 months," she clarifies. "This equals roughly six at-home treatments." In addition, laser treatments do not yield complete hairlessness in any region of the body. The majority of hair follicles can be removed after a full set of treatments, but laser hair removal patients are cautioned that removal is never absolute.

4. In-Office Treatments Will Cost You (But At-Home Treatments Can Provide A Cost Cut)

Consumers will rarely find a laser technician who offers pricing below $100 for an in-office laser therapy session. After the suggested six to 12 sessions, patients can accumulate a bill upwards of $1,000. While laser hair removal results speak for themselves, an empty wallet is a detractor for many consumers. Tria's fabrication of an at-home, handheld laser system for less than $500 was spurred by consumers' demand for a less expensive yet equally effective solution to their hair removal needs.

5. You Will Feel The Pain (But Other Side Effects Are Negligible)

As a veteran of several laser sessions, I can verify that the "rubber band snapping" sensation of each pulse is an undeniable aspect of the treatment. Each treatment zone requires a distinct number of pulses per session to address hair growth depending upon its surface area. Therefore, large expanses of skin such as the legs or arms necessitate a significant time commitment — and if you're susceptible to pain, a fair amount of teeth-gritting — to hit each hair follicle. However, Crenshaw confirms that patients rarely experience troubling side-effects post-treatment. "The commonly reported side effects are temporary redness and minor swelling at the treated site. With normal use, these should resolve by themselves after treatment," she explains.

6. Laser Hair Removal Is A Solid Option, But It's Not For Everyone

If you possess the correct skin type and hair color as well as a bit of disposable income, you may find your hair removal soul mate in laser therapy.

Images: EpicStockMedia/Fotolia;