What's the Real Scoop on Permanent Hair Removal?
Princess 19 on 2 Dec 2012 at 9:00am
We all tire of shaving or waxing. It's expensive, time-consuming, and painful (not just waxing - think of those razor nicks!). With winter well underway, it may be the best time to get rid of unwanted hair, conceal any initial redness, and be ready for the spring and summer seasons!
Many turn to laser hair removal and electrolysis to achieve more permanent results. While marketed as quick and easy solutions, we've got the real story on these two procedures.
Laser hair removal is the process of utilizing different types of lasers (ruby laser, diode laser, IPL) to selectively heat melanin within hair follicles of the skin to inhibit hair growth. Lasers can be used on all parts of the body and upon all skin types, but are best for darker hair. No single laser is ideal for every individual. Depending on your skin and hair color, some lasers will be more effective than others.
Doctors and patients alike stress that you must go for full treatment (can be six or more sessions) in order to acheive noticeable results. While it sounds simple enough, many patients compare the pain to a “rubber band snap” or worse, dependent upon the laser used.
Some have reported full hair growth after full treatment. Disappointing outcomes like this may explain why 30% were not fully satisfied. Laser hair removal is rated favorably by just 70%, and the average cost is reported at roughly $1,250.
Electrolysis inserts a tiny, hair-thin metal probe into each hair follicle. Electricity is delivered through the probe. That causes localized damage to the hair follicle and hair tissue, which in turn stops growth. The regenerative ability of the follicle can be permanently eliminated.
Electrolysis can work on more skin and hair types. Most facial and body parts can have it, including: eyebrows, sides of the face, breasts, underarms, bikini line, legs and back. Even pregnant women are eligible (but should definitely consult their ob/gyn beforehand).
As with laser, patients say electrolysis can be quite painful. The process is long and must be repeated. Some have reported bumps after treatment that never went away. With an average cost of about $625, only 68% of reviewers on RealSelf say electrolysis is worth it.
Laser vs. Electrolysis, Which is Best?
According to Los Angeles-based Harold J. Kaplan, MD, “Laser hair removal and electrolysis are both effective and can be permanent - when performed correctly. For thick, dark hair - on any skin type - lasers will be faster and less costly because many hairs are treated simultaneously. For fine, blond, red or gray hair, lasers will not be effective and electrolysis is a good option.”
So, are you ready to trade in your razor or stinky cream? If you anticipate a busy summer next year, laser treatment or electrolysis may be a good option - just be aware of the risks and expectations. Choose your doctor wisely. And while some people may not experience discomfort, consider your own pain threshold.
But as the old adage goes - beauty is pain. No one knows that better than Steve Carell:
Have you tried either procedure? Were you satisfied with the results? Share in the comments below!