Hair removal is one of the most frequently requested services at laser clinics and it is popular among people across many demographics and regions of the world. The ever rising need and demand for hair removal services in past years has led to an equally rapid growth not only in the number of clinics offering such services but also paved the way in developing different types of technology to meet one goal: remove those unwanted hairs.

From shaving, waxing, depilatories and electrolysis, the technology made it possible to make this agenda less expensive, time-consuming and painful. Among the often confusing array of treatments available, Laser Hair Removal has gained its popularity among celebrities, socialites and even housewives who just wanted to experience a smooth, hairless canvass.

Is its hype and fuss really worth it?

According to the American Society for Dermatological Surgery, over half a million laser treatments were performed by dermatological surgeons in 2013. Basically, laser hair removal effects through a highly concentrated light beamed into hair follicles. Pigment in the follicle absorbs the light which results in heating the hair follicle and inhibiting the ability for the hair to regrow back.

During this process, the intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. Although laser hair removal effectively slows hair growth, it doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. It typically takes multiple treatments to give a significant hair density and reduction. Periodic maintenance treatments might be needed as well. Common treatment locations include legs, underarms, upper lip, chin and bikini line. However, it is possible to treat unwanted hair in nearly any area — except the eyelid or surrounding area.

There are different Lasers with different wavelengths for different uses, depending on the clients’ hair and skin type. Each type of light can cater to the specific needs of the customer, given their hair and skin type differences. At the same time, it’s effectivity is also affected by these differences. Hair colour and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. It is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair because the laser beam targets the pigment (melanin) in the hair. Laser hair removal isn’t generally effective for white, grey, red or blond hair because the laser can’t “see” the lighter hair. However, advances in technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin.

What to expect before, during and after the procedure?

Before the actual procedure begins, customers will have the treatment area trimmed, just a few millimetres above the skin surface. The machine then adjusted to the settings perfect for the colour, thickness, and location of your hair being treated, as well as their skin colour. The client will be asked to wear appropriate eye protection, depending on the wavelength of laser or light source used. At the same time, a cold gel or a cooling device applied over the skin to protect the outer layer of the skin, as well as to help the laser light penetrate the skin. Now that the customer is fully prepared, the technician will begin the procedure by introducing pulses of light to the treatment area and watching the area for several minutes to make sure the best settings were used and to check for any reaction.

Duration of each procedure varies on the size of the area being lasered. After the whole treatment, customers may be given ice packs, soothing creams or lotions to ease any discomfort. Experts advise that a minimum of four to six weeks resting time before scheduling the next laser treatment.

Is it effective and worth it?

Compared to shaving, waxing, and other alternatives, laser hair removal is clearly the less time-consuming options. It is also the most promising since the rate of growth of unwanted hairs become disrupted after a number of treatments. Although laser hair removal seems costly compared to other hair removal methods, people swear by this procedure as it is actually more cost-effective by producing long-term results. For those who are always on the go and have to shave their legs, arms or armpits more often, laser treatment is the best option.