Hair removal is often one of the biggest parts of beauty regimes for women. Unlike men, most women do not feel comfortable with hairy armpits, legs, or excessive body hair anywhere on their bodies. Facial hair is a definite no-no, with very few women feeling happy with a moustache, chin hair, or sideburns.
So if you use hair removal methods that leave you with skin irritation, ingrown hairs, and a constant fight against regrowth, you might be considering laser hair removal. Even if you’re not, maybe you should? Read our answers to the top ten questions about laser hair removal before making up your mind.
- Is laser hair removal safe?
Laser hair removal is considered an extremely safe treatment. There are valid concerns around the possibility of burns, and unfortunately, people have experienced burns during laser hair removal. However, the risk of skin burns with laser hair removal is very low when performed correctly, which is why it is vital to have laser hair removal at a reputable and preferably medically led clinic.
- Does laser hair removal cause cancer?
Due to the use of lasers, there has been concern about the possibility of laser hair removal increasing the risk of cancer. Laser hair removal uses non-ionising radiation, which forms a concentrated light source to produce a laser beam to kill hair follicles (cells from where hair grows), resulting in the loss of hair growth.
Laser hair removal does not use ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths known to cause skin cancer. The NHS confirms that there is no scientific evidence that indicates laser hair removal increases the risk of getting skin cancer. In addition to being used for hair removal, laser therapy is also used by the NHS to treat various medical conditions and a wide range of cancers, including skin cancer.
- Can you have laser removal with dark skin?
When laser hair removal treatment was new, it was not recommended for darker skin. This was due to a higher risk of skin burns because the laser wavelength was not adjustable. Modern, advanced laser machines now have adjustable wavelengths, which can be set to work safely on dark skin. Many clinics now offer laser hair removal for dark skin. If you have dark skin, always ask if the laser machine has adjustable wavelengths and check if the clinic uses the industry-standard Fitzpatrick Scale to determine your skin type.
- Which is better, IPL (Intense pulse light) Or laser hair removal?
IPL and laser hair removal both have advantages and disadvantages. The key difference is that IPL devices use a wide range of wavelengths, generating a broader flash of light covering a larger area. This makes treatment faster and some people say it is less painful. One of the main concerns with IPL machines is that they can emit UV light and require UV filters.
Laser hair removal does not emit UV light and most people opt for laser hair removal over IPL, as it is considered more permanent. Simply put, laser hair removal requires fewer top-up treatments than IPL to stay hair-free.
- What do you need to do before you have laser hair removal?
Before having laser hair removal, you should avoid sunbeds or tanning and not wax or epilate hair for four to six weeks. Hair grows at different rates, so this ensures the laser can pick up as much hair as possible in the follicles in order to destroy it. You can continue to shave up until 24 hours prior to laser treatment. You should also avoid sunbeds for two weeks before. On the day, do not use any lotions or oils, perfume, body sprays, or roll-on deodorant if you are having your underarms treated.
- Is laser hair removal safe for every part of the body?
Advanced laser machines are perfectly safe to use in every area of the body. Not all clinics will treat all body areas and it is advisable to check if you want laser treatment on any intimate areas. As these areas are more difficult to treat, ensure the clinic has private rooms.
- Does laser hair removal hurt?
The older laser machines did hurt. However, the new generation of laser machines has heat controls and cooling heads to make laser hair removal a comfortable treatment. At worst, it feels like an elastic band pinging on your skin, although most people say they barely feel anything at all.
We spoke with Louise White, director of Body Lipo Lincoln and a leading aesthetic and women’s health expert.
“As the director of a medically-led clinic, I always want to provide treatments with market-leading advanced technology. There are many different laser hair removal machines. We use the 3D-Trilogy Ice laser hair removal system. The device is revolutionary with three wavelengths and a revolutionary contact-cooling applicator, laser hair removal becomes almost painless.”
- Can you sunbathe after laser hair removal?
Not for at least two weeks! So it’s best not to go on a beach holiday straight after laser hair removal. If you do risk sunbathing, you could end up with hyperpigmentation, burns, and permanent skin damage.
- Why do you need multiple treatments?
To target all of the hair, multiple treatments are needed to allow for the different rates of hair growth. Most people will find six sessions two weeks apart will be enough to be hair-free.
- Is laser hair removal permanent?
No, there is no hair removal method currently that is permanent. On average, laser hair removal is the “most permanent” type of hair removal. Normally following a course of treatments, only one top-up treatment is required every six months to a year.
When you are looking for a private clinic for laser hair removal ask what machine they use, and if it uses triple wavelength technology. Check how many treatments are recommended and how often top-up treatments may be required, once you complete the initial course of treatments. Top-up treatments are typically required by some women every six to 12 months. Laser hair removal, when done incorrectly, may cause burns and scars, this is why you should check that your laser hair removal, is being provided at a medically led clinic.