Laser technology has been used to remove hair for over 25 years, mainly in salons and clinics. However did you know that you can buy a laser hair removal device for home use. Whether you have tried laser treatments or you are exploring them for the first time, you will want to be informed about this home appliance.
What is special about laser technology?
Laser technology is the most popular hair removal technique for women age 34 and under and it is quickly becoming quite popular with men also.
Why? The answer is in the results. This method creates clean, smooth skin surfaces with minimal discomfort. The results are long-lasting, sometimes permanent, and can be achieved on large body areas in reasonable periods of time.
What are the benefits of laser hair removal at home?
The key benefits are privacy, convenience, and affordability. Some people prefer the privacy of doing their own personal care. Not having to commit to appointments at a clinic is another bonus. Our lives can be so busy that it is nice to be able to stay at home.
The cost of a series of clinic appointments to treat one part of your body can range in the thousands of dollars. A home system will cost much less. Once you own a system, you can use it as many times as you wish.
When manufacturer’s instructions are followed, these appliances are quite safe. They come with safety features such as skin tone detectors, energy level options, and toll-free customer service lines.
How does a home laser hair removal device work?
The basic technology behind home laser hair removal is called selective photothermolysis. This is quite a mouthful, but the basic principles are fairly simple. When you direct a laser beam at light skin it is only absorbed by dark hairs. The heated hair follicles are damaged by the heat and eventually the hair falls out.
Unfortunately these systems only work for persons with light skin tones and dark body hair. Dark skin–black, medium and dark brown–will absorb the laser energy and be burned. Home lasers are not recommended for sun-tanned or naturally dark skin.
Home lasers are also not sold for removal of light hair–grey, blonde, or red–simply because they do not absorb laser energy.
How effective are home laser hair removal devices?
As noted above, these devices are very effective for removal of dark hair growth on light skin. After a series of sessions over a period of 4 to 8 months, growth can be reduced by 50% to 80%. Growth reduction is reported to be long-lasting and sometimes permanent. You can do occasional touch-ups after your initial series of treatments.
Multiple sessions are needed to reduce growth as much as possible.
Why can’t the device complete the job in one session?
A laser can only stop growth of hairs that are actively growing. At any moment in time, over half of our hairs are resting! Resting hairs are immune to a laser’s “attack”. You have to use the device every 2 to 4 weeks in order to catch hairs that have come out of hibernation.
Where can you purchase a home laser hair removal system?
It is fairly easy to obtain one of these systems. Manufacturers sell them online. You can also purchase them from certain aesthetic doctors and spas.
Is Home Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
The results are comparable to those of clinical treatments. Home laser hair removal systems provide a long-lasting reduction of hair growth.
How much hair can be removed by a home laser device?
After a full series of treatments to a particular body area, you can permanently reduce hair growth by 50% to 80%. A manufacturer’s study found that after a partial treatment lasting just two months, growth was reduced by 33% for a full year.
How long does it take to obtain maximum results?
Laser treatment, whether done at home or in a clinic, involves a series of sessions that are spaced a few weeks apart. The number of sessions depends on how your hair grows and the body part you are working on. Generally you can achieve your maximum growth reduction in 4 to 8 months. To do this, you will use your appliance once or twice per month.
Why are multiple sessions required to obtain maximum results?
Lasers work by targeting hair follicles, which are hair growth “headquarters”. The heat of the laser beam damages follicles and prevents future growth.
This sounds simple doesn’t it? There is a complication though. Lasers cannot harm follicles when they are not growing. At any moment in time over one half of hair follicles are in a resting phase. This means you have to use your device at different times to catch hairs when they are growing. After each session you will reduce the number of hairs that grow back.
What happens after a full series of treatment sessions?
After regular use of your home laser hair removal system, you will reach your maximum growth reduction. Maximums vary, but as noted above, you can expect a long-lasting reduction in growth of up to 80%.
Your maximum reduction will last for up to a year or even longer. If there is new growth, it may be lighter in color and finer in texture. Touch-up sessions may be useful once or twice a year.
Home laser systems provide lasting results
Some advertisers of hair removal products use the term “permanent” when growth is absent for only a few weeks. This can be confusing.
No hair removal method can guarantee permanent hair removal. The laser method, used for many years by clinicians, is known to provide excellent results for a long period of time.
Home laser hair removal devices that are approved by the FDA are recognized for their ability to permanently reduce hair growth over a significant period of time.
How to Avoid Home Laser Hair Removal Side Effects
When considering home laser hair removal, the possibility of side effects is a natural concern. After all, there are sometimes side effects from professional laser treatments.
Three key safety guidelines for laser hair removal at home are:
- Select a government-approved hair removal system.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use common sense to take care of your skin.
What side effects might occur?
You might experience temporary side effects. Immediately after using your home device, your skin might be slightly irritated, reddened, or swollen. These symptoms disappear in a few days.
Permanent skin damage is rare. However, when things go wrong, your skin can be burned, blistered, scarred or discolored. A common cause of discoloration and burning is using a laser on dark skin. Home devices have built-in mechanisms designed to prevent use on tanned or dark skin.
Even for professional laser treatments, dark and tanned skin is a challenge because of how laser technology works. Laser energy is absorbed by dark pigments. This is great when you are targeting the roots of dark hair, but damaging when dark skin is burned.
Select a government-approved hair removal system
The first suggestion for safe laser hair removal at home is to choose your device wisely. Make sure you purchase a device that has been approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). An approved appliance will have been thoroughly tested to ensure consumer safety.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
As long as you read and follow the instructions, any side effects should be temporary. Usually hair removal equipment has built-in safety mechanisms, such as skin tone detectors and energy settings. However it is also up to you to follow instructions. This only makes sense and also ensures that you achieve the best results.
Following are some basic guidelines for using a home laser hair removal device:
- Home laser devices work very well when you have dark hair and light skin.
- Don’t use the device if your skin tone is medium brown, dark brown, or black.
- Shave the hair you want to remove before you laser.
- Never use the device on your face or neck.
- Protect your skin from direct sunlight for a week after using the appliance.
- Use common sense to take care of your skin
- Minor stinging is normal when using a laser device. Prolonged or severe pain while using the device is not to be expected; adjust the settings or discontinue use if significant pain should occur. In the unlikely event that you are burned or blistered, seek immediate medical attention to minimize the risk of scarring.
Whether you are tweezing, shaving, or waxing, some temporary skin irritation can be expected. Laser hair removal is no different in this regard. By simply following the three key safety guidelines, you will ensure healthy, smooth skin and avoid serious side effects.
Is Home Laser Hair Removal Right For Me?
Laser hair removal at home is an option for many people, but it is not suitable for every situation. To determine if a home system will work for you, screen yourself by reviewing the questions below:
What is your skin tone?
These systems only work for people with light skin (white, light brown, ivory, and beige).
Home laser appliances use a technology called “selective photothermolysis”. Dark pigments in the hair follicles absorb the lasers energy and heat up. The heat stops hair growth and eventually hairs fall out.
Unfortunately dark skin will also absorb the lasers energy and can be burned.
What color is the hair you wish to remove?
This technology works best with dark hair (black, medium brown and dark brown). Lighter hairs have less pigment and therefore absorb less laser energy.
Laser removal is not an effective technique for blonde, red, light brown, and gray hairs.
Where is the hair you are concerned about located?
Eventually these devices will be suitable for the face and neck, but this is currently not an option. Also you will want to consider if you can reach the hair you want to remove. For example, if the hairs are on your back, you will need assistance.
What is your budget?
This do-it-yourself option is much less expensive than going to a spa and clinic. However, be prepared to invest around $500 for a decent product.
Are You doing Laser Hair Removal in the Summer Months?
To achieve maximum results you will need to use your device over a period of 4 to 8 months. During this time you will need to avoid exposing the area you are treating to direct sunlight.
How did you do with the above survey? If you are still interested in using a home laser hair removal device, consider the following features and benefits:
Cost reduction: Not only is the cost of a home system lower than a series of clinic treatments, but you then get to use it again and again.
Privacy: Many people want to take care of their skin in the privacy of home.
Time Savings: You save travel time and costs when you stay at home to look after your cosmetic needs.
Convenience: There is no need to commit hours of your personal time for an appointment. You can spontaneously select a convenient time to use your device.
Long-lasting hair reduction: These devices can permanently reduce 50% to 80% of hair growth. After 4 to 8 months of personal treatments, only occasional maintenance sessions will be needed.
Safety: The FDA has approved several home laser appliances. When used according to instructions, the risk of skin damage is low.
Home laser hair removal devices arrived 15 years after professional laser techniques were first introduced. Now these home appliances offer the key benefits of professional equipment. If you are interested in making a purchase, contact an aesthetician or aesthetic doctor.