Laser Hair Removal Myths and Facts

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2022-07-12 05:30 AM | By Admin
Hair Removal

Flawless, glowing and hair free skin is most women’s beauty goal. Regular waxing, shaving and trimming could be time consuming and high maintenance. Women who have jobs that demand them to be well-groomed prefer permanent hair removal solutions. In addition to them, anybody with erratic hair growth on the body due to hormonal issues would opt for laser hair removal. It is considered a great solution for long lasting results. However, there are a lot of myths surrounding laser hair reduction that keeps people skeptical about going for one. We attempt to keep your worries at rest by clarifying most of the myths.

Before we get started, let’s understand what laser hair removal is.

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that aims at removing unwanted hair by using high heat laser or light beams. The laser light damages hair follicles and stops or reduces the hair growth. A person might require anywhere between three to seven sessions for the desired results. This procedure is commonly performed on the legs, hands, chin, upper lip, neck and bikini regions. Today, there are advanced forms of laser hair removal technique that helps individuals of all skin and hair types get the best results.   

The many myths surrounding laser hair removal include:

MYTH 1: Laser hair removal makes the hair grow back denser

FACT: Laser hair removal in fact makes the hair grow back thinner and lighter with each completed session. The low heat waves sent to the hair follicles can damage the follicles and prevent them from growing at all overtime. Depending on the person’s ethnicity and hair density, the laser hair reduction procedure might give results sooner or later. The fact is that in majority of the cases, the hair starts to thin and grow back very slowly. The requirement for shaving or waxing drastically reduces after every session.

In extremely rare cases, there can be a growth of denser hair. There are two possibilities to this. One is that, when a person shaves before the treatment, lot of tiny smooth hair naturally present on the skin is removed. The laser light that works on this region might act differently where these tiny hairs were present. It might grow back denser while the coarse hair that you got the treatment for, grow thinner the next time. The other possibility is a condition called ‘post-laser hypertrichosis’. This is caused due to the intensity of the laser light being too low or too high. In such cases, it might actually work trigger thicker hair growth. Certain medications that are taken at the time the person undergoes laser treatment can also trigger the condition. But these possibilities are extremely rare that it cannot be considered as a generic after effect of laser hair reduction. It is important to get treated under a qualified cosmetologist to prevent any side-effects.

MYTH 2: Laser hair removal is not safe

FACT: Laser hair removal is one of the safest and effective cosmetic procedures. Most patients who undergo the treatment see remarkable and long-lasting results that they would not have got with alternate forms of hair removal. The safety, time and cost benefits that the procedure offers is one of the main reasons for people to opt for it.

Like in all cosmetic procedures, laser hair reduction also come with temporary side-effects and in rare cases, it could cause adverse reactions. Some of the temporary side-effects include redness, irritation, sensitivity and swelling of the skin. These symptoms subside on its own in a couple of days after the treatment. Laser hair removal side effects range from mild skin irritation to skin inflammation. Most patients experience slight redness and irritation that subside on its own. In rare cases, there can be skin pigmentation and infection.

There are a lot of benefits that override the risks associated with the treatment. Some of these include:

  • It gives long lasting results when compared to shaving, waxing or other forms of hair removal
  • Avoids scarring and ingrown hair
  • Leaves the skin smooth
  • Low ongoing maintenance giving more freedom and time
  • High precision – only the hair is damaged while the skin is untouched
  • The treatment takes only a few minutes to an hour depending on the area to be treated

MYTH 3: Laser hair removal can cause skin cancer due to its radiation

FACT: There is not enough evidence to prove that laser hair reduction can cause cancer. The radiation that is emitted target only the hair follicles and does cause any impact or damage to the skin cells. Moreover, the radiation that is used in laser hair removal procedure is non-ionizing. This means that the radiation does not have enough energy to cause harm to the body. There isn’t enough energy to ionize or change any component in the body. Laser related therapies are used for a wide range of treatment related to the eyes, prostrate, kidney stones and varicose veins and have been safe.

MYTH 4: Laser hair removal can cause infertility

FACT: This is another unfounded myth surrounding laser hair removal treatments. The laser light does not impact any organ in the body and hence does not cause side-effects such as infertility. When done even on the groin or bikini regions, the laser does not penetrate deep enough to cause any damage.

MYTH 5: Laser hair removal is painful

FACT: Unlike this popular belief, the procedure causes very minimal pain and discomfort. Most of them experience a prick like sensation and very less pain as compared to waxing. Patients only feel minimal pain similar to the snap of a band on the hand. Most people consider laser hair reduction for the comfort and painless procedure it offers.

MYTH 6: Laser hair removal is very expensive

FACT: Contrary to what it may seem, laser hair removal can in fact be cost effective. If you are a regular who does frequent waxing, laser hair reduction can save you of a lot of time and money. When you compare years of waxing, the time and cost spent on it can be solved with a few sessions of laser hair reduction. If you are one among those with medium dense hair and looking at results for a specific area, laser hair reduction in just a couple of sessions can give good results.

The cost of a laser hair removal treatment depends on the area that is being treated, the number of sessions needed, the city and clinic and the experience level of the doctor. The cost of the treatment would range between INR 5000 to 20000 per session depending on the above mentioned factors. For a full body laser hair removal in India, it would cost INR 8000 to 15000 per session. For full legs, the treatment might cost between INR 4000 to 8000. For smaller areas such as under arms or upper lips, it might cost between INR 1500 to 3000. In Chennai, laser hair reduction would cost between INR 1600 to 2400 per session.

MYTH 7: Laser hair removal does not remove all hair or stop hair growth  

FACT: After undergoing the right number of sessions, individuals can notice that there will be very less to no hair growth at all. The results are hugely dependent on the skills and precision that the cosmetologist offers. The right intensity of laser light depending on the person’s skin and hair colour is required to get the best results. Too low or too high light waves would not give the required results and can have the hair grow back. If you are under the right care, laser hair reduction can be life changing, saving you from the ordeal of repeated waxing.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the negatives of laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal might not work well for all and the cons must be weighed before finalizing on the treatment. Some of the negatives include

  • Semi-permanent results
  • Skin irritation
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Skin infection (folliculitis)

  1. Does laser hair removal actually last?

Laser hair removal could last for several months or years but there is a good chance of hair growing back after that. When hair follicles are only damaged and not destroyed completely, the hair could grow back depending on the individual’s hair growth pattern. Although laser hair reduction is claimed to be a permanent solution, one could expect unwanted hair to not grow for a few years.

  1. Does laser hair removal have long term side effects?

There are no solid evidence of laser treatment causing long term side effects. However, in rare cases there can be blistering and change in skin colour. Some individuals may also notice excessive hair growth in the surrounding regions where the procedure was performed.

  1. What happens if you don't shave before laser hair removal?

It is important to shave your hair before a laser hair reduction. This is because if you have long hair it can burn/blaze during the laser treatment and cause skin irritation. It is recommended to shave the hair at least 24 hours prior to the treatment. If you shave immediately before treatment, the skin will remain sensitive and may not be ready for the laser treatment.

  1. Can you shave in between laser hair removal?

A person might need 4 to 6 sessions of laser hair removal. One can shave hair between these sessions. With completion of each of the laser hair removal session, the need to shave would reduce significantly.

  1. Can you shave 2 hours before laser hair removal?

It is recommended to shave at least 12 to 16 hours before the scheduled laser hair removal session. This is advised to keep the skin free from getting irritated during the treatment. Also, the skin remains sensitive immediately after shaving and the person would not get the desired results if the session is done soon after.

  1. Can I shower after laser?

Individuals can take a cool shower immediately after the treatment. One should stay away from hot water bath for at least 24-48 hours. This is advised to prevent any burning of the skin.

  1. Is laser hair removal safe for face?

It is safe to get a laser hair removal done for the face. Mild irritation and redness is common for a few hours after the treatment.

  1. Why do I have stubble after laser hair removal?

After a period of 5 to 30 days, the hair will shed from the hair follicles leaving a stubble (which represents a growth of hair).  It is normal for hair to shed after laser hair removal.

  1. How much hair do you lose after first laser treatment?

Each session of laser hair reduction would remove around 5 to 15% of hair. It would need close to 6 sessions for complete removal of hair and for great results.

  1. How many laser sessions are needed?

Individuals would need 2 to 6 sessions for good results. Each person’s hair density and hair growth cycle is different which would be the deciding factor for the number of sessions needed.

  1. Is getting laser hair removal worth it?

Laser hair removal comes with a list of pros and cons. To get lasting results, it is important to get it done by an experienced doctor. The worth of the treatment is hugely dependent on the individual. If your doctor identifies your skin tone, hair growth cycle, health issues and skin problems to not come in the way of the laser hair reduction, he/she would recommend the procedure.

  1. How can I remove unwanted hair permanently naturally?

There are many home remedies that reduce the hair growth, some of them include:

  • Sugar, honey and lemon
  • Oatmeal and banana
  • Egg white and cornstarch
  • Papaya
  • Turmeric
  • Aloe Vera
  • Tea tree oil

  1. Does baking soda remove hair permanently?

Yes, baking soda along with turmeric and lemon can remove unwanted hair. Baking soda has alkaline crystal / salts that affect the hair fibers and lead to breakage. There is only anecdotal proof to this and any overuse of sodium bicarbonate or baking soda would result in side effects.

  1. Does plucking chin hair make it grow more?

Hormonal issues and aging can lead to the growth of hair on the chin. Plucking the hair can stimulate more growth and should be done inly under the advice of a dermatologist.

  1. Is hair on woman's breast normal?

It is common and normal to have hair on women’s breast. Hormonal changes with puberty, menopause, pregnancy and hormonal disorders could lead to hair growth on breasts.

  1. Is hair on nipples a sign of PCOS?

Hair on nipples is one among the many symptoms of PCOS. Commonly referred to as hirsutism, there will be excessive hair growth due to the change in hormone levels.

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