HAIR REMOVAL LASERS
Here’s an interesting fact that would leave you completely startled – an average woman spends approximately 72 days of her life shaving! Add to it regular shaving hassles, ingrown hair, and expensive waxing appointments and it adds up to a bad horror story. Laser treatment offers permanent hair reduction solution but an in-office appointment starts with $500 per session and lasts for at least seven sessions. If excessive hair growth is a perpetual problem, at-home laser hair removal system is a wise investment to make. At-home hair removal lasers offer inexpensive, effective, long-lasting solution for hair removal and such a method of removal is not tedious or painful like other common hair removal methods and do not have to be repeated religiously all your life. These lasers use flashes or pulsed light which is converted to heat and breaks down the dark pigment in the hair follicle. When you go over it again and again, the follicle will be damaged enough to prevent further growth.
DO AT-HOME HAIR REMOVAL LASERS REALLY WORK?
The efficacy of laser hair removal largely depends on your skin tone and hair colour; people with darker hair get better results. But there are some laser and IPL hair removal systems that claim to work on a wide range of skin tones. At-home laser hair removal treatments do work but think them as a solution to reduce hair growth, they would not be able to entirely eliminate hair growth. Also, you will need to undergo at least six to eight sessions to see considerable hair growth reduction, depending on your target area and hair growth. While it might not hurt as bad as waxing, there’s still some tingling and warm sensations associated with laser removal. It’s close to someone repeatedly pinching you and the higher the intensity level, more is the pain. To achieve quicker results and reduce the number of sessions, you have to turn up the intensity level. While at-home laser removal treatments undoubtedly work, the effect is not permanent. You’re likely to be doing touch-ups often because some hair follicle might have been too fine to have been targeted by the laser or might not have been completely damaged.
ARE AT-HOME HAIR REMOVAL LASERS SAFE?
Laser devices clearly mention the skin tone and hair colour they would work on and using a laser that’s not meant for you might result in skin burn. At-home lasers are much less powerful than office versions and have protection features, for example, Tria 4x locks itself and doesn’t emit a pulse if it detects a darker skin tone. The radiation used in laser hair removal is non-ionising radiation, so it doesn’t have sufficient energy to cause cell mutation or cause cancer. Laser hair removal devices come with a UV filter that eliminate harmful UV rays from the laser beam, to prevent skin damage. The worst reaction you’d experience is temporary redness and skin irritation in the form of itching, discomfort, tingling, redness or swelling which are normal and last only for the first few hours and will disappear gradually.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF AT-HOME HAIR REMOVAL LASERS
- Cost Effective: The initial investment might be big for a lot of people but laser treatments are very cost-effective. The professional appointment might cost you anywhere between $400-$500 and that with an average of six to eight sessions will cost you a lot more than purchasing an at-home treatment kit.
- No More In-Grown Hair: Lasers are ideal for people who suffer from ingrown hairs after waxing or shaving. Since the treatment damages follicles, you won’t see any ingrown hair after laser treatment.
- Painless: While laser hair removal isn’t entirely painless, it’s way more tolerable than other common methods of hair removal that have to be done frequently.
- Hair Growth Reduction: With each session, your hair growth will gradually reduce since laser slows down the hair growth cycle.
- Accuracy: It’s not easy to reach each and every body part and you’re bound to miss some hair, just like at-home waxing. This is more likely to happen when you’re working on a larger patch of skin. The finish won’t be as good as getting in-office treatment.
- Skin Safety: You might go overboard with the laser or use the one that’s recommended for you your skin tone which can potentially cause rashes and mild burns.
- Time-Consuming: The laser hair removal treatment demands time and patience. With professionals, you can power through the long session, but when you’re doing it yourself, you’re bound to take breaks and end up missing some areas.
- Doesn’t work for white/grey hair: White, blonde and grey hair do not have enough melanin for the laser to target, hence the treatment is ineffective on such hair types. For those who have light hair with low melanin should consider electrolysis as an alternative to get rid of excess hair permanently.
WHO CAN USE AT-HOME HAIR REMOVAL LASERS?
Before performing laser treatment, make sure to check your skin tone using the Fitzpatrick scale. Most of the lasers work best for skin tones from I-IV with some that expand to V.
The Fitzpatrick scale is numerically based from I-VI, with I being the lightest colour skin type and VI the darkest.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type I – White, very fair, skin that always burns in the sun and never tans.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type II – White, fair skin that burns in sun, but rarely tans.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type III – Beige skin that tans to brown and sometimes burns.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV – Medium brown skin tone that tans easily to a dark brown and rarely burns.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type V – Dark Brown skin that easily tans but rarely burns.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI – Black skin that never burns.
HOW TO DO AT-HOME LASER HAIR REMOVAL- STEP BY STEP
- Prep Your Skin: The first step involves cleansing the area you’re going to target, shaving it and then patting it dry with a towel to ensure that the treatment is effective. Don’t wax before performing laser as the treatment targets the root of the hair follicle to destroy it. Waxing would remove the root and the laser won’t be able to retard the growth of hair.
- Select the intensity level: Laser hair removal devices have different intensity levels, the highest gives the quickest results but can also cause pain. You should always start on low and then gradually work your way to a higher setting.
- Choose an area and start: Place the laser head on the area you want to remove hair from and use gliding mode for larger areas and press and release for smaller areas. Every machine has a different setting so refer to the product manual to be informed about specific information related to the device you have picked up.
The total time to treat hair follicle depends on the area you’re targeting. Legs can take up to 30 minutes and smaller areas like underarms can be done within 10 minutes. You can shave in between treatments if you spot hair but refrain from waxing, tweezing or threading hair out.
BEST AT-HOME HAIR REMOVAL LASERS
1. SILK’N INFINITY 400,000
A painless hair removal alternative, Silk’n Infinity uses light pulses to permanently remove undesired hair growth without any irritation or ingrown hair. This device is suitable for all skin and hair colours, even the darkest and deepest ones. The Silk’n Infinity can be used on both body and face and has high speed at 5 energy levels and includes 400,000 light pulses. The brand claims a reduction of hair growth by 92% reduction after completing the sessions as instructed by them. The instruction includes performing four treatments that are spaced two weeks apart, followed by an additional three treatments spaced four weeks apart. After seven treatments, the directions suggest to use it as and when needed until the desired results are achieved.
2. TRIA HAIR REMOVAL LASER 4X
The Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X indelibly disables the hair follicle to slow down hair growth on the body and is gentle enough to be used on the face. It has to be used once every two weeks with consistency until you achieve desired results. This hair removal laser works only for light brown to black body hair. White, blond, grey or red hair won’t absorb enough laser energy to debilitate hair follicle. It comes with 90,000 flashes. Their website has a full and detailed guide where you can fill in the details of your hair and skin colour to know whether it’s the right product for you. It comes with a small head which makes it ideal for targeting smaller areas but tedious for treating your legs and arms.
3. REMINGTON ILIGHT ULTRA FACE AND BODY HAIR REMOVAL SYSTEM
An over-the-counter hair removal system, iLight offers permanent hair reduction using a xenon flash lamp to disable hair growth. The brand claims to reduce hair growth by 94% after just three uses. It comes with 2 different treatment caps for face and body which makes it hygienic and has a mobile app that can be used to track your treatments. It comes with a cartridge that offers 65,000 flashes. The device works by differentiating the pigmentation contrast between skin and hair and is therefore not recommended to those with light or dark hair that are too similar in colour to your skin tone.
4. ILUMINAGE TOUCH PERMANENT HAIR REPRODUCTION SYSTEM
Used by dermatologists worldwide, Illuminage Touch offers 120,000 pulses and can target widest range of hair colours, from blond to red and even dark hair. It is recommended to be used only once a week for six to seven weeks. It works better if you use the Iluminage immediately after using an epilator.
5. PHILIPS LUMEA COMFORT IPL HAIR REMOVAL SYSTEM
The Philips Lumea Comfort has a Slide and Flash mode that enables you to glide over larger areas continuously and quickly. It doesn’t need cartridge replacement after a few uses but that becomes a drawback too as you’ll have to throw it out later. It has a skin tone sensor that detects whether laser hair removal is safe for your skin or not and an integrated UV filter that protects your skin from UV light. This laser is not effective on red, light-blonde or white/grey hair. The brand claims up to 75% hair reduction after four treatments and has 100,000 flashes.
6. TANDA ME MY ELOS SYNERON TOUCH HAIR REMOVAL SYSTEM
Tanda Me My Elos Syneron works for every hair colour and skin tone and has a combination of IPL and Radio Frequency technology. It can be used on single flash mode for smaller areas like underarms or bikini line or press down on the pulse button for continuous flashing to glide over arms and legs. The device has 150,000 pulses and is to be used once a week for the first 7 times. After that, it can be used whenever hair appears to achieve the desired results.
7. DEESS HAIR REMOVAL SYSTEM SERIES 3
The DEESS Series 3 is an FDA-approved, intense pulsed light device. There is also an option to buy Fitzpatrick Skin Tone analyzer if you are unsure and want to confirm your skin tone. It has 350,00 flashes per lamp with a 3-year lifespan. On an average, 350,000 flashes are can treat 7 to 8 people but if you still need a replacement lamp, they’re available separately. DEESS claims 90% reduction in hair growth within 3 months from a 6 to 12-week plan. After this, you can go for maintenance sessions as and when needed. It is suitable for skin tones I to V on the Fitzpatrick scale, but it isn’t suitable for white, grey, red or blonde hair.
8. BRAUN GILLETTE VENUS SILK-EXPERT IPL 5001
Braun Silk-Expert is the fastest hair reduction system available that can treat your arm area within 8 minutes! The progress is very quick and if you follow the treatment plan, you can achieve permanent hair reduction in about 4 weeks. The sensors of this IPL device can recognise skin tone on different areas of the body and the detection happens 80 times a second, giving you safe and optimal treatment. As you move it across your skin, the silk-expert will modify its treatment on different skin tone, instead of just switching off completely. There is also a free app available to download where you can plan sessions and track progress. This hair removal system is not very effective for people with blonde/grey/white/red hair or darker skin tone.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF SKIN AFTER LASER HAIR REMOVAL
- After the session, avoid waxing, otherwise you might disrupt the normal cycle of hair follicle and laser would be ineffective in that case.
- Avoid sun exposure and tanning booths for at least 2-4 weeks after the treatment and make sure you always apply sunblock with higher SPF when you are spending time outdoors.
- If you’ve used the laser on your face or underarms, don’t apply makeup or deodorant.
- Wait for a week or two before using any kind of exfoliator on your skin.
- Give your skin a chance to recover by spacing out your session around 4 weeks apart or whatever the instruction manual recommends.
- Apply aloe vera gel or any other soothing ointment or gel prescribed by the doctor.