If you’re sick of managing your body hair and would rather remove it permanently, then you really only have one option: lasering. Luckily, it’s a very effective process. How does laser hair removal work?
“Essentially, the lasers release energy into the skin, and the pigment in the hair follicle absorbs this energy, and the hair follicle is destroyed,” says board-certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, adding that darker pigments in hair absorb this energy best.
So, make an appointment with your board-certified dermatologist to ask questions about your specific case, like how many sessions you’ll require, how much it will cost, how effective it will be with your skin and hair pigment.
If you’re considering the laser removal route, here’s what else you need to know:
It’s a multi-session operation
Unfortunately, you won’t be zapping and eliminating all your hairs in one session. There are a couple reasons that you need to visit the doctor more than once, and most men typically require 3-6 treatments spread out over several months.
This is how body hair works: It grows, falls out, and regrows, and the laser only works on actively growing hairs. The normal hair growth cycle takes a month to regenerate, which is when you come back for your next treatment.
So you have to wear down the follicle, which takes a few sessions until it’s kaput. The cost of these procedures will vary depending on how much hair you’re removing, since that will dictate how much time is required for the appointment.
Some hair is harder to laser than others
This may surprise you, but the color of your skin and hair affects the ease with which doctors can administer the lasers safely. High contrast is key: Dark hair on light skin is the easiest, whereas light hair on light skin is challenging, as is dark hair on dark skin.
Laser hair removal is easier and less painful now
Bhanusali notes that, traditionally, laser devices have used small dots to remove hairs, which results in a long, tedious removal process. Not only that, but it could be extremely painful.
Recently, however, the company Solta debuted a machine called the Pelo, which covers a larger spot spot size as well as diminished pain. And, as previously mentioned, Cutera’s Excel HR allows effective skin treatment in all skin colors.
Some hair might grow back
Even once your treatments are done and you have the smooth dolphin body you always wanted, some hair can still grow back. This can be managed with an annual touch up or every other year.
At-home options are available
While they can’t compare to the professional treatments, there are some less severe at-home options. The general belief is that they are underpowered. And, they unfortunately don’t warn patients with darker skin types enough that the wavelength can cause permanent scarring or pigmentation.