Laser hair removal – or reduction – is the most popular cosmetic treatment in the U.S. However, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet about the procedure regarding who can get it, how many sessions it requires, and whether or not it’s painful. In this blog, we explore the ins and outs of laser hair removal and answer seven frequently asked questions.
Laser Hair Removal: Answering 7 Questions About America’s #1 Most Popular Treatment
The global hair removal market is an impressively large one. According to a recent analysis report from Grand View Research, “the global hair removal products market size was valued at USD 2.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.5% from 2019 to 2025.” Additionally, a 2008 study discovered that an American woman who shaves will spend, on average, more than $10,000 and nearly two months of accumulated time removing unwanted hair during her life. For a woman who waxes, that monetary figure can reach upwards of $23,000. Think about it – that’s comparable to a 10% down payment on a $250,0000 home! All of that money and precious time spent to simply razor or rip away hair.
Although the choice to remove body hair is a personal one, women in America overwhelmingly opt to do so. And, of course, it’s far from a modern-day phenomenon. According to the Women’s Museum of California, “some of the first razors, made of copper, were used in Egypt and India around 3000 BCE. Egyptian women removed their head hair and considered pubic hair uncivilized.” Additionally, “upper-class Roman women of the sixth century BCE used tweezers, pumice stones, and depilatories to achieve the desired degree of hairlessness, while Egyptians of Cleopatra’s time used a sugar mixture in a method similar to waxing.”
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from the PUMICE STONES of ancient Rome. Ouch! These days, hair removal methods are much more sophisticated. What’s the most sophisticated method, you ask? That’s easy – laser hair removal! According to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), an estimated 1.1 million laser hair removal treatments were performed in 2017 – a whopping number that helped contribute to the $16 billion spent in the medical aesthetics industry overall. But despite its popularity, there is still misinformation all over the internet about what exactly laser hair removal is, and questions about what the procedure can actually do. In this blog, we’ll explore the top 7 questions we get at Jiva Med Spa.
1) How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
The most basic (and arguably most important) question of all – how does it work?! The answer: with the power of light. Laser hair removal is an aesthetic procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light, AKA a laser, to target and permanently damage hair follicles so that over time, they stop producing hair. According to the Mayo Clinic, “during laser hair removal, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.” Since the lasers rely on pigment, or melanin, in the hair to target each follicle, laser hair removal has historically been more successful on people with light skin and brown or black hair vs. red, blonde, white, or grey. See Q&A #5 below!
2) Why Do I Have To Wait Between Appointments?
Unfortunately, not every hair follicle on your body goes through the four different stages of growth at the same time. While some may be in anagen, the others may be in catagen, telogen, or exogen. That’s why it’s necessary to space your laser hair removal treatments apart – to allow time for all of your hairs to move through the stages before the cycle begins anew. On the flip side, if you wait too long between treatments, your hairs will bypass the anagen stage and you’ll have to wait all over again. According to Healthline, “most people need between four and six laser therapy sessions. You also need to space these out by six weeks each – this means that the full treatment cycle can take up to nine months.” However, you’ll likely notice less and less hair growth between each treatment, so frequent shaving and waxing won’t be as necessary.
3) Why Do People Say “Laser Hair Reduction” Vs. “Laser Hair Removal”?
According to Derma Health Skin & Laser, “the only permanent hair removal solution approved by the FDA is electrolysis. Laser hair removal is better coined as permanent laser hair reduction.” After your laser hair removal sessions, it’s technically possible that hair will still grow in the treated areas, but it will be much lighter in color and thinner in texture than before – that is, if anything grows back at all. Although electrolysis is technically the only “permanent” hair removal technique, it’s done by removing individual hairs from the face or body, so it’s better for smaller surface areas, such as the upper lip or between the eyebrows.
4) Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?
Although the idea of a “laser” repeatedly zapping your skin can seem scary, most patients say it feels like a rubber band is being slapped against the skin. To further enhance patient comfort, most reputable med spas will be happy to apply a topical numbing agent to your skin prior to treatment. Additionally, many high-quality laser hair removal machines also emit a cooling breeze to quickly calm down the skin’s response. Here’s another way to put it: if you’ve survived a bikini wax unscathed, you’ll survive laser hair removal, no problem.
5) Will Laser Hair Removal Work On My Skin And/Or Hair Color?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “the risk of damage to skin is greater when there is little contrast between hair and skin color, but advances in laser technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin.” For example, in recent years the Nd:YAG laser (or just YAG) has become increasingly popular for men and women with medium to dark skin. According to an interview with Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., of Park View Laser Dermatology in NYC, “the wavelength of this laser goes deeper into the skin than a diode… so it more successfully bypasses the pigmentation present in the skin.” That said, it’s always best to schedule a consultation with your laser hair removal provider to determine if the procedure is right for you.
6) What Are The Best Laser Hair Removal Machines On The Market?
As laser hair removal continues to increase in popularity, so does the number of devices on the market – even DIY ones! Although the DIY laser hair removal route can seem tempting based on its lower price tag alone, it’s always best to trust a licensed practician when it comes to something as important as the quality and integrity of your skin. Many DIY devices and at-home solutions use lower energy levels, so they will not be able to efficiently target the hair follicles. And due to their smaller size, they require longer and more frequent sessions to see any decline in hair growth. That said, there are four professional laser hair removal machines on the market that reign supreme for a number of reasons: Candela’s GentleMax Pro, Lutronic Clarity II, Forever Bare BBL, and ClearScan YAG (mentioned above).
1) G Max Pro
The GentleMax Pro – or “G Max Pro” – is a dual platform laser made by one of the industry’s leaders, Candela. Notably, the G Max Pro machine can treat both light skin and dark skin, making it the gold standard in laser hair removal for practically every patient. The G Max Pro features dual wavelengths for ultimate convenience, an Air Cooling option for added comfort, and it can treat Skin Types I-VI. Beyond its ability to permanently reduce hair growth, the G Max Pro can also rejuvenate sun damaged skin and treat broken blood vessels – it’s a true multi-purpose miracle worker!
2) Lutronic Clarity II
The Clarity II high-powered machine from Lutronic Aesthetic provides up to 2X faster laser hair removal vs. the competition, and it features IntelliTrak technology for faster and more consistent coverage. The machine also delivers breakthrough temperature sensing technology for real-time skin temp feedback to improve patient comfort. The Clarity II machine is notable in the industry for its exclusive shorter pulsewidths and 1ms setting, which can target even the finest, thinnest, lightest hair – hair that is practically impossible for older models to pick up. In addition to hair removal, the Clarity II has numerous skin rejuvenation capabilities.
3) Forever Bare BBL
Developed by Sciton, the Forever Bare BBL machine is the most comfortable and safest hair removal available to patients in the United States. According to the manufacturer, “traditionally, hair removal devices apply all of their energy to any given area all at once. By sending multiple lower fluence pulses at a high repetition rate, Forever Bare provides a treatment that is safe, fast, efficacious, and comfortable.” Additionally, the thermoelectrically cooled sapphire plate on the Forever Bare BBL handpiece provides continuous cooling, even at maximum power, to keep the skin cool and comfortable throughout treatment sessions.
4) ClearScan YAG
Also developed by Sciton, the ClearScan YAG machine was originally intended to allow physicians to precisely treat visible vessels, broken capillaries, spider veins, vascular lesions, and skin discoloration such as hyperpigmentation. However, the ClearScan YAG is also an effective and safe solution for permanent hair reduction! Even better, the ClearScan YAG is the treatment of choice for all skin colors (Fitzpatrick I-VI), tanned skin, and outdoor-active individuals. Like Forever Bare BBL, the ClearScan YAG also incorporates an integrated cooling feature to make the entire process less painful for the patient.
7) Where’s The Best Place To Get Laser Hair Removal?
That said, if you’re looking for high-quality, reputable hair removal in Ohio, Jiva Med Spa is the #1 place to go. To make you feel even more confident in your decision, laser hair removal at Jiva Med Spa is always performed under the supervision of our Medical Director and CEO, Dr. Rakesh Nanda, to ensure flawless, hair-free results. During your FREE consultation, we’ll evaluate your skin color, hair color, and aesthetic goals to recommend an appropriate device and personalized treatment plan. We’re also planning to open a satellite Cincinnati office in the coming months, so stay tuned for that exciting announcement!