Alternatives to shaving: Is laser hair removal really worth it?

Alternatives to shaving: Is laser hair removal really worth it?

Is laser hair removal really worth it?

Shaving every day can be a pain, literally and figuratively. It’s time consuming, and often leaves a bumpy, itchy, and red patch of skin behind. Maybe you’ve tried waxing, which can be successful but painful and inconvenient (letting your hair grow out in between sessions is no fun). If you’re at the point where laser hair removal seems like a viable option, it’s important to understand the risks and benefits. We are here to answer some common questions.

How laser hair removal works

Does laser hair removal really work? It depends on what you’re looking to achieve. It’s important to note up front that contrary to popular belief, laser hair removal is not permanent. Laser hair removal treatments keep hair growth at bay longer than shaving and waxing, however over time, the hair will eventually grow back. The good news is, the hair that grows back won’t be as thick or dark as it was previously; it comes in somewhat lighter and thinner.  
Laser hair removal works by applying heat in the form of laser beams directly to the hair follicle, which is “a stocking-like structure that contains cells and connective tissue and surrounds the root of a hair. It exists within the dermis and the epidermis.” The laser damages the follicle, causing it to remain dormant for a period of time.  
In comparison to waxing, plucking, and shaving, which removes hair from the surface of the skin, heat lasers remove hair from the follicle, the producer of unwanted hair.  
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD), the back, bikini area, chest, face, neck, and shoulders are appropriate areas for laser hair removal, although armpit laser hair removal is also very common.  

About the laser hair removal procedure

You should always use a verified laser hair removal clinic with professionals that specialize in the procedure. To begin, the technician will clean the area and apply a numbing agent. Then, the skin is held secure and the laser treatment begins. There may be some smoke and sulfur odor. Some patients have described it as feeling like a rubber band is being smacked on their skin. There are different types of equipment that can be used, some are less painful than others.  
Because laser hair removal is not permanent, follow-up appointments are necessary. Successive appointments in the range of 4-6 treatments, broken up over the course of about nine months, help to ensure the rate of regrowth diminishes appropriately.  
Underarm laser hair removal does have its side effects, and patients are advised to avoid sunlight, tight clothing, and general heat exposure. The armpits may experience some swelling and tenderness following laser underarm hair removal.  

How much does laser hair cost?

Laser hair removal cost can range from $100-$1000 per session. The cost of laser underarm hair removal ranges from $150-$250 per session. So, at the high end, if you get six treatments you’ll run up a $2,250 tab; much more expensive than shaving or waxing.

Pros of laser hair removal

  • Laser hair removal is a very precise hair removal method
  • Each session is short - especially for laser hair removal in the underarms  
  • Patients see results right away
  • It significantly reduces hair growth
  • Treatments can be utilized on any part of the body, including the armpits
  • It’s less painful than waxing (ouch!)

Cons of laser hair removal

  • It gets expensive when considering follow-up appointments
  • It isn’t a permanent solution to hair removal
  • Can cause redness and irritation
  • Infection can occur
  • Can result in a change in skin color
  • Treatments can leave burns if administered by an untrained technician

How does skin color effect laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal, especially in the underarm area, tends to work better on individuals with fair skin and dark hair. That doesn’t mean that those with dark skin can’t also benefit from laser hair removal - just make sure to work with a certified, well-trained technician.  
If you currently use The Original, our natural underarm brightening and deodorant cream, please discuss with your healthcare provider before combining it with laser hair removal treatments. Our formula includes ingredients that may make your skin more sensitive to treatment. With that said, after your treatment is complete, your skin sensitivity should decrease and you can test using The OG on a small patch of underarm skin. 
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