If you’re thinking of zapping your body hair, you’re certainly curious about the benefits and drawbacks of laser hair removal. Actually, let’s back up for a second—there are plenty of temporary methods available if you want to get rid of your bod hair (it’s perfectly fine to leave it alone, by the way). You’ve got the classic, quick (and temporary) shave, depilatory creams (which, if we’re being honest, smell like a wet dog mixed with gasoline), and slightly more long-term hair removal methods like waxing (no pain-free picnic) and its less ouch-inducing sister sugaring, both of which leave you with smooth skin for a few weeks.
Electrolysis, on the other hand, produces even longer-lasting outcomes than laser treatments. Electrolysis uses an electric current to kill each individual hair follicle with a super-fine needle. You’re right if you think that sounds painful and time-consuming.
First and foremost, is laser hair removal suitable for people of all skin tones?
It can be, but regardless of your skin tone, our US board-certified plastic surgeon will tell that it’s critical to vet your laser hair removal provider to avoid undesired side effects. If your skin is melanin-rich, you’ll need to enquire further about the sort of laser that will be utilized during the procedure. (People with black hair and fair skin are more likely to benefit from laser hair removal because the sharp difference between skin tone and hair is easier for the laser to detect and target.) “Some providers, for example, employ IPL (intense pulsed light) technology for hair removal, which targets melanin to destroy the hair follicle after repeated treatments; these devices can produce hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation in deep skin tones”. (Darker and lighter areas on the skin are called hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation, respectively.)
What are some of the advantages of laser hair removal?
While laser treatment does not permanently remove hair (only electrolysis is FDA-approved for permanent hair removal), it does significantly reduce hair growth—to the point where many patients won’t see any for months or even years, and the hairs that do appear are often thinner and lighter in color.
It can be done anywhere on your body, and the machine is capable of covering big regions quickly. Legs, back, underarms, bikini line, stomach, face…almost there’s no limit to where you may have laser hair removal (if the laser is safe and effective for your skin tone and hair color). And, there isn’t a higher risk of side effects with laser hair removal in the bikini area than in other places.
It may not hurt too much depending on your hair type and the service area. When it comes to pain, many individuals compare laser hair removal to shaving (which is painless) and waxing (which is painful). To reduce discomfort, technicians often administer a numbing gel to help desensitize the area before and after the laser treatment. Because those are sensitive locations, bikini and underarm laser hair removal may be more painful. However, as the hair becomes finer, the procedure becomes less uncomfortable with each session.
What about the disadvantages?
It’s a lengthy procedure. A laser hair removal session on a small area, such as the underarms, usually takes five minutes or less. However, true effects take several sessions (usually four to six, depending on the size of the area), and you must wait at least six weeks between treatments.
It’s not cheap. However, if you sum up how much you’ve spent on razors and bikini wax treatments over the course of your life, the 8000 yen or so per session cost of laser hair removal (for small areas) might be worth it, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (not covered by insurance, unfortunately). For more information about laser hair removal in Tokyo Japan contact Robert Katsuhiro Kure, MD, PhD.
Is it possible to undertake laser hair removal at home?
Yes, it is possible (but persons with darker skin and lighter hair should exercise caution—more on that below). “At-home devices work in the same way that professional treatments do, but they’re smaller and consume less energy” . (The light energy used in at-home devices is far lower than that used in office operations, making them safer to use and reducing the possibility of error.) “They’re more time-consuming because it’s difficult to cover a large surface area,” she explains, “but they can help minimize hair growth and can be a fantastic choice to preserve improvements between expert treatment.” Plus, because they’re less powerful than professional equipment, they’re less likely to cause you discomfort, which is a plus.