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Laser Hair Removal Treatment Basics, Process & Costs

Laser hair removal may be the best cosmetic procedure to come along in the past hundred years. It's not surgery and is totally safe. It is fast—so fast you can get your bikini line done and head for Hawaii on the next flight. It's as easy as running a wand over the skin; and it's lasting. When you have laser hair removal treatments, spaced correctly to time for the natural growth cycle of hair, you will end up with hair that is either too fine to see or completely nonexistent.

How does the laser machine work?

Laser hair removal is practically painless. You feel slight snaps as the laser targets and incinerates the hair below the surface of the skin and right to the root. The hair is vaporized: any that are left can be wiped away by the technician. The laser zaps hundreds of hair follicles at a time, so if you're looking for a Brazilian bikini line, laser treatment is the most sensible way to go.

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Avoiding Razor Burn, Ingrown Hairs and Irritation Due to Hair Removal

Whether you're shaving, waxing, plucking or visiting an electrologist, you're going to experience some skin irritation after hair removal. You can tough it out or smooth on baby powder, but if your skin is tender and a little torn up, you'll probably want to soothe it with a product specially made for calming hurting skin. Plus, when skin is irritated, it can form bumps, welts or pimples that interfere with that smooth, hair-free look. What good is getting rid of unwanted hair if you wind up with a rash? Consider your options among skin soothing lotions, creams and ointments for after-hair removal skin care.


Laser hair removal works by running a laser set to the depth of the hair follicle across the skin. The laser beam is drawn to dark pigments, so the darker the hair and the greater the contrast between hair and skin, the more effective it will be. The beam passes through the skin harmlessly and contacts the hair and follicle. Newer treatments are more effective with blonde hair.

When the laser meets the hair, it burns it up in a tiny blast of light energy. Because hair regrows every six weeks, you need to have a half dozen treatments in any one area for hair to be permanently removed: the hair follicle is only actually killed during one week of that six week cycle. The only known side effect from laser hair removal is that your skin may be sensitive for a little while: treat it gently and avoid the sun for a day or two.

While there's no evidence that you shouldn't have laser hair removal treatments during pregnancy, you may have trouble finding a clinic to go along with that idea.

Yes, males can get this treatment too . . .

Men like it too! A man with excessive chest or back hair will find it much easier than other hair removal methods, and will see results the first time.

After your first laser treatments, hair may not regrow for a couple of months, and when it does, it will be sparser and lighter than it was before.

Where on your body can you use this hair removal process?

You can have laser hair removal on any part of the body: facial hair, legs, arms, necks, backs and the bikini line are all fair game. Most laser clinics are supervised by a medical doctor who may perform the hair removal, or by trained clinical staff. The typical cosmetologist still doesn't have a laser hair removal system: if you go for old fashioned hair removal, you'll find yourself in a waxing or electrolysis center. Waxing is much cheaper than laser hair removal and is a good option because the skin stays smoother than it does for shaving. Waxing can also cover a large area at a time. Electrolysis, on the other hand, is both somewhat costly and extremely painful. If you must have electrolysis, make sure the cosmetician supplies you with Emla cream to desensitize your skin somewhat, and take an analgesic before treatment. Better yet, shave or wax until you can afford laser treatments.

Questions about Safety of Laser Hair Removal

There is no known danger in laser hair removal. It's not a radiation treatment; it does not increase your chances of getting cancer. It affects hair growth, and the facts are available in any FAQ section of the brochures put out by laser hair removal clinics.

How Much Does It Cost and How to Prices Vary?

The machine and laser equipment are expensive, so laser hair removal is not yet cheap, but prices have lowered drastically over the past five years. For information on prices, consult your local hair removal clinic—the costs vary widely from region to region, and sometimes clinics have truly affordable deals to get people in the door.

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