Laser Hair Removal: Does it Work?

I have been an avid waxer for years, and I truly did not believe in laser hair removal, as I knew people years ago who tried it, and it didn’t work for them at all, so I thought for quite a hefty price tag, if it didn’t work, I might else well stick with waxing! I have one friend that swears by laser hair removal, and I found a Living Social deal, and decided to go for it. I am halfway through treatments and it is one of the BEST decisions I have ever made in my life. That being said, there are a few things that you should know before going in for treatment.

What do I need to know?

The laser emits a wavelength of light that is absorbed into your hair shaft and down into the follicle (the base/root of the hair) and after repeated treatments (usually around 6) the hair follicle becomes so weak it can no longer grow hair or it just dies completely, and no longer makes hair.

Because the laser is attracted to darker hair, you will have better results if you have light skin and dark hair (meaning even if you have lighter skin tones but tan in the summer, you may want to skip the summer months when you are tan if you want optimal results.)

You will need to go for usually 6 treatments, that allows you to get each follicle in the phase of hair growth when the hair is actively growing (there are three stages of hair growth, and only one is active).

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You should stop waxing or any other methods of hair removal (other than shaving) for around 6 weeks before you get your first treatment, and you should only shave between treatments, this allows for all of the hair follicles to grow, so that you have the best chance of treating each follicle with growth.

Between treatments, you really should exfoliate at least three times week, with a loofah and  an exfoliation scrub, to allow for the weaker hairs to break through the skin and prevent ingrown hairs. Plus, exfoliation helps to remove the hairs that are dead at the shaft.

No plucking between treatments! You want the laser to kill off the hairs, not you and your tweezers.

If you are getting laser hair treatment in a sensitive area (i.e. face, bikini, brazilian, etc),  you may want to get a cream with lidocaine in it to numb the skin before your treatment (apply 30 minutes before your first treatment.) But elsewhere, it doesn’t really hurt at all…just feels sometimes like a small snap with a thin rubber band (at the worst.)

Ask around before starting treatments at one place: just like anything else, the price may be indicative of the level of competence of the people administering the treatment and also  how good the laser is. There are newer lasers and older technology lasers that may not be as good. The salons/spas that offer these treatments are not FDA regulated, so ask how long they have been doing these treatments, their level of comfort, and expected results with their laser. I had my underarms done at one place, which I thought was good, and tried a different laser treatment center for my legs, and there is NO comparison.  My legs, obviously, cost more, but the laser was so much better and the technician is an MD that has been doing these treatments for years, so I had amazing results without any ingrown hairs, and needed less treatments!

Ask around, find out where has a good reputation, and gets good reviews from patients. If you feel uncomfortable, or they are trying to push you into extra treatments that you don’t need, then leave.  There are tons of medical spas/salons that you can go to that will offer you excellent Laser Hair Removal treatments.  I must say, for all of you in the Greater Boston Area, Landa Comsetic & Spa in Framingham is the BEST in the area, with great pricing and the staff all are very well-trained and they have the newest in laser technology (it is where I went for my legs and now basically every other place on my body!!)

It is an amazing experience to have complete hair removal and never have to think about shaving, waxing, plucking, etc again! If you’re thinking about doing it, I highly suggest it, but definitely do your homework on the place before you start treatments, and ensure that it will work for your hair color/skin tone!

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