Whether you're male or female, young or old, particularly hirsute or just fed up with never-ending grooming, excess body hair can be extremely challenging. When it comes to body hair, there's no such thing as normal – the amount and type you will experience differs significantly from person to person. One thing's for sure though, if it's causing you unnecessary distress, then it's time for your excess body hair to go.
Whilst there are lots of options available to remove this unwanted body hair, many of these methods can be time consuming, painful and expensive.
Even though physically removing excess hair by plucking, waxing or shaving can be effective, each has considerable drawbacks. Their lack of permanence is their main issue, and it's this that's led those suffering with unwanted body hair to turn to laser hair removal.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that utilises the intense heat energy of a laser beam to destroy hair follicles, preventing future growth. During the procedure, a handheld device is passed over problem areas in order to target these individual follicles.
How Effective Is the Procedure?
Several sessions are usually necessary for the laser hair removal to achieve desired results as each individual hair needs to be targeted during the growth phase of its life cycle for the treatment to be effective.
Initially, the treatment will slow hair growth, but in order for it to have a permanent effect a course of treatments is necessary. The results of laser hair removal can last anywhere from several months to several years, and results differ from person to person. Once you and your practitioner are happy with the level of hair removal you've achieved, maintenance treatments are usually advisable to prevent re-growth.
It's also important to note that laser hair removal works best on people with pale skin and dark hair, as the melanin in darker skin will absorb the laser light before it reaches the hair follicles.
Is laser hair removal suitable for everyone?
Laser treatments are not suitable for tanned skins so you will be expected to avoid tanning prior to any treatment or allow time for your tan to fade. Some lasers are not suitable for darker skin types so it important to seek a clinic with experience of treating darker skin types if you fall into this group.
If your hair is fair, it is likely laser will not be an effective option for you. Electrolysis works in a similar way to laser, heating the follicle, but the practitioner manually treats each individual follicle so it may not be suitable for large areas such as legs, chest or back.
For some women, their unwanted hair is caused by a medical condition, commonly; this is a problem for those suffering from polycystic ovaries. Any treatment programme is likely to take longer and with the goal being to achieve manageable hair regrowth rather than complete hair removal for a prolonged period.
You will be expected to shave rather than wax or use depilatory creams, which some people find inconvenient, but for effective treatment, the surface hair must be removed leaving the follicle intact.
Generally, laser hair removal is only available in private clinics and the cost of a course of treatment will vary considerably depending on the size of the problem area.
Single treatments for small areas such as eyebrows begin at around £50 with costs rising to around £700 for full body treatments. Many practitioners will offer combination packages or discounted procedures when courses of several treatments are booked.
However, if you are concerned that your excess hair is being caused by a hormonal imbalance then it is always worth talking to your GP to discuss further investigation and treatments available on the NHS.
Laser hair removal is not generally considered to be painful, but this depends on the individual's ability to tolerate pain. The sensation is said to be like the snapping of a hot elastic band onto the skin or a slight pinching feeling that stops as soon as a treatment session is complete.
Technology is advancing, and there are now machines that deliver painless treatments, the sensation being likened to a hot stone massage rather than a flicking elastic band.
Any further or more serious pain should be reported to the practitioner immediately and the session stopped.
Post-treatment spot breakouts are a common side effect, as the procedure leaves the hair follicle open to bacteria for a few days. In order to prevent this happening, use an antibacterial lotion.
Whilst it is rare, occasionally permanent scarring from burns, or pigmentation can occur after laser hair removal, particularly if the treatment is carried out on tanned skins or by an untrained professional.
As laser hair removal is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure, at this moment in time there is no mandatory register regulating practitioners who carry out such treatments.
At Save Face, we want to ensure that anyone thinking of having laser hair removal can do so without worrying about the worst happening, and that each individual can expect to receive an excellent quality of care.
Our independent, impartial accreditation scheme allows safe, qualified, experienced practitioners to distinguish themselves from those who are unsafe and unethical, taking the worry out of finding an appropriate practitioner.
Use the Save Face search engine today to get in touch with an accredited practitioner you can trust.