Laser Hair Removal Treatment
by Julie Tridle
There's a lot of buzz out there about laser hair removal, offering permanent results on pretty much any part of the body. But is it really that safe and effective for everyone? The truth is, lasers can do a remarkable job of permanently reducing unwanted hair on some clients, but it won't work for everyone. When deciding whether to invest in laser treatments, there are several issues to consider, including your skin and hair color, the price and the number of treatments you're willing to undergo.
How it Works
Laser hair removal uses laser light to target and remove hair at the follicle. Because hair is destroyed at the root, the hair does not grow back. Laser hair removal is most effective on hair during its growth stage, and because not all hair is in the same stage at the same time, it often takes several treatments for optimal results. The permanence of the treatment offers advantages over short-term methods such as shaving and waxing. And because each hair does not need to be targeted individually, it offers the advantage of efficiency over electrolysis.
Laser hair removal targets the melanin or darker pigments of unwanted hair, therefore, patients with darker skin than hair are not good candidates. The best candidates are light skinned patients with dark hair. Specialty lasers are available for those with darker pigmented skin, but they are available only at specialty laser facilities. Darker skinned clients generally require more treatments for optimal results and also require technicians with greater skill.
Many lasers are FDA approved to advertise permanent hair "reduction" not "removal," meaning not every hair in the targeted region will necessarily be permanently removed. The permanence and effectiveness of results vary considerably from patient to patient, as does the number of treatments needed for optimal results. According to a consumer guide sponsored by the Institute of Laser Medicine in Los Angeles, laser hair removal centers that try to guarantee results often go out of business.
The cost of laser hair treatments varies considerably, depending on the quality of the lasers used, the area of the country you live in and the size of the area being treated. The Institute of Laser Medicine estimates the cost of a quality laser treatment averages around $500 per treatment. For optimal results, most patients require around four treatments on an average-sized area. Those with blond or red hair, or those targeting a large area (such as the back) will require more sessions.