For many people, the growing availability and popularity of laser hair removal as a way of eradicating unwanted body hair has been a highly preferable alternative to more painful methods such as plucking or waxing. A process that guarantees permanent removal of hair, laser hair removal can provide a range of treatments, from a facial to a Brazilian, and there are also many discounts and sales that now include laser hair removal packages, driving down prices.
The popularity of laser hair removal has seen its global market value soar to over US$500 million by 2018, with forecasts pointing towards further annual growth of nearly 16% between 2019 and 2026. This has been partly driven by the wider availability of home laser hair removal kits, which offer numerous benefits such as lower prices, privacy and comfort.
Is laser hair removal the right option for everyone?
The permanent nature of laser hair removal means it is not something for everyone. Some women in particular have since expressed regret at undergoing treatments that were largely a fad at the time – with Brazilian procedures in particular something that spiked in popularity around the early 2000s. Shows such as Sex and the Cityhave been cited as playing a big role in raising the appeal of Brazilian hair removal treatments at the time.
As with all cosmetic procedures, anyone considering laser hair removal as an option must do their research. The widespread availability of laser hair removal clinics heightens the risk of poor practice and there are some accounts of extremely painful and disfiguring experiences as a result of this. While low prices might be appealing to anyone looking for a facial or Brazilian procedure, finding a safe and reliable cosmetic practitioner is imperative for customers, especially as laser hair removal is permanent.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal represents the general movement of many cosmetic and aesthetic procedures towards faster and largely pain-free methods, with timescales for both the actual treatment and the recovery phase now much shorter. People wishing to be free of unwanted hair no longer have to endure wax strips tearing hairs out of skin or the slow, manual plucking of hairs that can leave a tender feeling afterwards. The permanent nature of laser hair removal also removes the need for further treatments.
The treatment works by a machine delivering light energy towards hundreds of hair follicles at the same time, either damaging or destroying them in a process that prevents the hair from growing back. Newer methods now have the laser pulse twice per second, which is quicker than older approaches by some laser hair removal technologies and which can see the completion of a full leg in under 20 minutes. Some people might only require between four and eight treatments, depending on the amount of hair and the complexity of the treatment.
Laser hair removal is set up to provide extra comfort for patients, while also removing the initial stage of preparatorily numbing the skin or lubricating it with gel. Many laser therapy machines have this element built in, with some devices such as the GentleMaxPro featuring an onboard cryogen spray that quickly covers the treatment area, ensuring the skin is numbed in the moment right before the pulsing of the laser starts.
Extra comfort can be provided afterwards, with any mild stinging or pinching effect usually treated by a topical anaesthetic cream. This slight discomfort can be affected by the location of the laser hair removal, which can be carried out on the legs, cheeks, lips, back, underarms and arms. Mild swelling or redness afterwards is usually a sign that the hair follicles are responding as intended – so people are strongly advised to avoid any further intervention such as plucking or waxing, although the application of sunscreen is recommended for further protection.
Laser hair removal in the privacy of the home
The wider availability of home laser hair removal devices provides an extra option for anyone looking for privacy when conducting their facial or Brazilian. According to experts, this approach can offer value for money alongside the comfort and familiarity of one’s own home – while the relative safety and reliability of laser hair removal devices has improved as technology develops. A one-off outlay of $400 to $500 compares favourably with the potential thousands that may have to be paid out for a number of trips to a clinic.
However, experts warn that home laser hair removal devices are substantially less powerful than the sophisticated technologies used by professional clinics. This reflects the lower costs involved but also helps to drive down risk – a lower-powered device is less in need of safety measures and professional oversight than heavy-duty laser therapy machines. Home devices are also not guaranteed to provide permanent hair removal.
With greater awareness of the risks of laser hair removal, and the resulting scrutiny of professional clinics that fail to maintain safety standards, there is a degree of reassurance for patients that is likely to see laser hair removal continue to grow in popularity, particularly for those who are looking for a pain-free and permanent solution to unwanted