I have seen questions flying around about laser hair reduction all the time, especially on Twitter. Here I am, to quench your curiosity.
Hair removal is an extremely personal and yet paradoxically controversial topic. Everyone should be free to do whatever they want with their bodies. If someone doesn’t want to remove hair anywhere and be au naturel, it’s their choice. And if someone prefers removing the hair, it does not make them shallow.
I remember first hearing about laser hair removal years ago when people were first talking about it. It sounded like magic! I have been at war with excessive facial hair throughout my teenage years. Punjabi genes are awesome. They give you so much flare, but also a lot of hair! To make matters worse, I tweezed and that made the hair coarser and more noticeable. Tried almost all hair removal methods but most of them are painful, time consuming and the results are not great. Finally after much deliberation, I took the plunge to get my upper lip and chin done, a couple of years ago, at one of the leading clinics (if you want the name, ping me).
Was it worth it? Yes, yes, yes!
What is Laser Hair Reduction?
Laser hair removal or reduction (the procedure reduces the hair, doesn’t remove completely) is a treatment in which laser is used to kill the hair follicles, over a period of 6-10 sessions. Really. Avada Kedavra. The cosmetic laser has settings adjusted to both your skin and hair type. The laser fires a concentrated beam that works on the pigment in your hair follicles. This destroys the follicle at its root, preventing the hair from growing back.
The process is pretty simple. The technician analyses your hair growth in the first consultative session. For a few days before the first session and in between sessions, you are not allowed to wax, thread, bleach etc. Why? Because remember, the laser works on the follicle so the follicle needs to exist in the first place. The method works best on dark, thick, coarse hair. You can shave the hair before your first session (and in between sessions. We will get to that later).
What to expect in your first session?
When you come for your first session, you come with all follicles intact. The technician then adjusts the laser intensity according to your skin colour and hair type. You are made to wear protective glasses. At this point, you are completely helpless, lying down on a bed while a stranger points a laser gun at you. You feel really cold gel being slathered on the area to be treated. And then it begins.
Does it hurt?
Yes. A lot? No way! It feels like a rubber band being snapped over your skin. And some heat. It hurts more on the areas where you have thicker growth. Otherwise, pretty manageable. I may be saying this because my pain threshold is pretty high. But it does get easier with every session. Partly because your body gets used to it and also because there is less hair to laser each time.
What to expect post your first session?
Red, sore skin, for a couple of hours. It settles down soon enough. A week after that, some hair will sprout which will fall off on its own. It will literally slide off when you run your hands over it. It is so satisfying seeing the once annoying hair fall off on its own!
Who is the best candidate for laser hair reduction?
If you have thick, coarse hair, and pale skin, you are perfect for laser hair reduction. Having said that, these days they have started tweaking the technique to suit darker skin too. Talk to your clinic first because you do not want to end up with burnt skin.
Things to take care of
Before you go for your first session, stop waxing or bleaching for a while. In between sessions, you can shave the area. Always use a soothing aloe gel (which the clinic will give you) in between sessions. Stay away from the sun as much as possible. Also, be consistent. Do not miss sessions or you will not see the desired results. And slather sunscreen on the area every single day.
What to REMEMBER
Please remember that laser will only reduce the hair. And also, if you have hormonal issues, do not expect the treatment to work like magic. Do sort out the hormonal issue first and then go for laser.
Most clinics will suggest maintenance sessions once a year. I have not been for any more sessions other than the 6 sessions I took and I am okay for now. So it all depends on your hair growth.
Does it cost a lot?
Not really. If you calculate the combined cost of waxing, bleach and razors for a year, it’ll be a staggering amount so yeah laser is totally worth it. And imagine the peace of mind! No more stress about what to do with the darn hair!
Will I do it again?
Yes! Definitely getting my armpits and legs done.
I think that should answer all your questions. If you do have any more questions please comment below or tweet to me at @lifestyle_stew.
Until next time, stay stylish.