If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to getting rid of your unwanted body hair, you should consider laser hair removal. Once this treatment is completed, other hair removal methods will likely be unnecessary, and maintenance will be minimal.
That being said, laser hair removal can come with its own set of side effects. These can range from minimal redness and swelling to rare complications, like skin darkening or lightening, herpes simplex, blistering and scarring and that’s why it’s important to consider all of the pros and cons.
What Is Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
Laser hair removal is a safe, effective and non-invasive method to remove unwanted body hair. This treatment uses light energy at specific wavelengths to hit pigmented hair follicles and cause termination of those cells and as a result, there is a hair reduction in the specific area that has been treated. Laser hair removal damages the hair follicle, which prevents future hair growth, it can be done on most parts of your body and typically requires several sessions over some time to result in significant hair reduction overall.
The Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal can be at an average price of $389 total, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, it has many benefits that can make the price worth it.
It is a more long-term solution to reduce unwanted body hair. Laser hair removal isn’t considered permanent, but it still has a lasting effect on unwanted hair. It reduces the number of unwanted hairs in the targeted area and when the hair does grow back, there’s less of it which are finer and lighter.
- It requires less maintenance than other hair removal options. If you are shaving your body hair, you must do it every few days, and options like waxing and threading have effects that last for about four weeks. Compared to these, laser hair removal typically requires four to six sessions and then occasional maintenance.
- It can help with other skin issues like reducing ingrown hairs and can prevent inflamed bumps and itching since it uses light to get rid of hair, you don’t run the risk of dealing with nicks, cuts and razor burns..
- No downtime is required despite the treatment may leave skin a little red and swollen, you can pretty much go back to your daily routine immediately afterwards. There’s no downtime to deal with its recovery since it’s non-invasive. The only thing you can’t do is immediately go out in direct sunlight.
- It saves money over time, even though the cost of laser hair removal is initially more, purchasing a razor and shaving cream, pays off over time. Since laser hair removal greatly reduces unwanted hair and regular maintenance that goes along with shaving and waxing isn’t required, once you pay the initial fee, you don’t have to pay much more.
- It can reduce the chance of certain skin diseases such as folliculitis, a skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles become inflamed. Research from 2019 that looked at more unconventional uses of hair removal found this to be the outcome of the case.
The Risks and Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal Treatments
While there are plenty of benefits to laser hair removal, it has its own fair share of side effects. To avoid potentially uncomfortable side effects, it is recommended to do your research before selecting a place to get the treatment. Dr. Trisha Khanna of Premier Dermatology says that it is vital to see an expert with an in-depth knowledge of the skin and which lasers are okay for specific skin types, as not all lasers are appropriate for laser hair removals.
Some of the most common side effects are mild discomfort in the treatment including swelling, redness and blistering. But usually, these are mild side effects and resolve in one to three days.
There are some more serious possible side effects, but these are rare in the hands of an experienced board-certified dermatologist. These include pigment changes like skin darkening or lightening, cold sore outbreaks, blistering, scarring or infections.
A less significant result or no hair reduction is possible if the hair is white or blonde as the laser cannot detect the hair. The hair must be dark against a light background for the laser to preferentially treat the pigmented hair. Those who are being treated for hormonal imbalances may also have low success with instances of hair regrowth, requiring more sessions or maintenance sessions than others.
More serious side effects are more likely to happen to those who have darker skin tones. These patients need to be very careful and only get treatment from a provider who has a lot of experience, preferably a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. People with darker skin tones are at high risk for things like burns and permanent damage from laser hair removal devices.