Everything You Should Know About Laser Hair Removal
Tending to your unwanted body hair is a constant chore. Guys who are constantly having to trim, shave, or wax the whole thing off, are drifting toward laser hair removal. It’s seen as a longer-lasting and more effective way to get rid of body hair for good. Why deal with the downsides of shaving (like razor bumps and irritation) when you can get the convenience of smooth skin round-the-clock?
Perhaps you've contemplated it before but were turned off by stories claiming how costly and painful the treatment was. However, the technology has advanced so much that many people who have completed at least one hair removal session report experiencing little to no pain. While everyone's pain threshold is different, and different body parts are more sensitive than others, it's still considerably less painful than waxing.
Curious about laser hair removal? There are a few guidelines and tips you should know about before booking an appointment. Which is why we caught up with Dr. Akhavan, celebrity dermatologist and founder of The Dermatology and Laser Group in New York City (whose practice offers quick, painless laser hair removal treatments for all skin types). Read on to get the lowdown from Dr. Akhavan on the most important things guys should know about the procedure, as well as how new technology is making it possible to go pain-free.
How Exactly Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Depending on which technology being used, there are some small differences, but the basics of it is all the same. "The laser light is attracted to the pigment of the hair follicles," explains Akhavan. "The darker the hair follicle, and the more difference there is between the hair follicle and the normal skin, more and more energy can be focused on the base of that root of the hair follicle and burn it so it doesn’t grow back."
It's a procedure that's becoming more and more popular for men. Dr. Akhavan notes that while the most popular places are chest and back, he still gets requests all the time for laser hair removal on every body part.
How Much Pain Do I Really Feel?
There are three different laser wavelengths used for hair removal, with Alexandrites traditionally being the most effective, but also the one most people experience pain. However, the latest technology in laser hair removal makes the entire session completely painless, so you can get the most effective treatment without the discomfort and pain the laser would normally inflict. Dr. Akhavan's office uses this technology, called the Motus AX, which he says men in particularly have really benefited from.
"For men, who traditionally have coarser hair, and a little bit of a lower pain tolerance, the main issue and impediment to getting laser hair removal has been pain," he says. "But with the Motus, you do not feel anything happening. Instead of delivering the energy in these large chunks like in a traditional laser, it breaks the energy down into smaller chunks and delivers them very rapidly, so you don't feel pain." In fact, it's not only pain-free, but also FDA-approved to work on all skin types, whereas previously it only really worked on people with lighter skin.
How Long Is The Entire Procedure?
On average, you'll have to get six sessions performed about six weeks apart. "The reason for this is that at any given time, only one out of six hairs goes all the way down to the root or bulb," he explains. "In the other five hairs, you’re frying the hair follicle but it’s not killing the bulb, so it’s going to produce more hair. But in about six weeks, the next set of hairs will cycle into the growth phase, so the laser can destroy it completely, and so on." And so after about 36 weeks, a successful hair removal happens when about 90-95% of the hair is being permanently gone.
What Should I Do To Prepare Beforehand? And What Happens After?
Warning: Dr. Akhavan says you can’t wax the area, because they need to have the hair follicle there for the laser to be attracted to it. "You want to shave either day of or day before so there’s no hair on the surface of the skin," he says. "That way all the energy of the laser can be transmitted under the skin and as close to the root as possible." With the Motus, most people don't feel any redness or irritation after a session. However, Dr. Akhavan recommends you try to avoid saunas, very hot showers, and any activity that heats you up (like exercise) for at least a day just in case.
This technology the only major development in the last 10 years that has changed (and improved) the entire process of laser hair removal significantly. So if you've been weary of trying it out due to the thought of pain, perhaps this new technology is just the encouragement you need to finally get started.
Read article on Men’sHealth.com here.
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