Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Bye bye hair! Permanent hair removal with the laser or the IPL device (Intense Pulsed Light) finally makes the dream of smooth skin, without any hair , come true. So that was annoying shaving or waxing obsolete forever. So not only do we save a lot of time, annoying stubble is a thing of the past. At REALR Professional Skin Care in boston, MA, we specialize in luxury paramedical health and beauty services, offering a full array of advanced skincare and therapeutic body treatments. Our mission is to empower you to be your best self through providing beauty-enhancing treatments and anti-aging services.
What do I need to know if I opt for permanent hair removal? We have summarized the most important information about methods, costs and effects here.
Tired of body hair? But it is also annoying if you decide to regularly remove your hair on your legs, arms or in the genital area. Because it doesn't matter whether you opt for an epilation or the razor decides, after a few days or weeks the hairs start to sprout again. More and more women are therefore opting for permanent hair removal - and that already in puberty. So they want to stay hair-free permanently. This is also confirmed by Dr. med. Nicola, Head of Laser Medicine at Boston: "Hair - wherever - has become totally uncool in young girls. Girls between 14 and 16 years of age come to our practice who already find the fine fuzz on their upper lip annoying."In the age group of 16 to 55-year-old women, hair removal in the bikini line is in particular demand, closely followed by the lower legs. Third place went to the armpits. By the way, there is hardly a part of the body where the hair cannot be removed.
Hair-free with the laser treatment
Laser hair removal (laser epilation) is particularly effective. One thing Dr. Nicola Otte is clear: "There is no such thing as a 'forever-always' hair removal method". Even if the majority of the hair roots have been removed with the help of a laser and a flash lamp and no hair has grown for many years, it can happen that one or the other root regenerates and a new hair develops. Usually, however, a maximum of three laser treatments are then sufficient to prevent these hair roots from producing hair again.
What do you have to consider before and after laser epilation?
Every professional treatment starts with a detailed consultation, a thorough analysis of the skin and hair and, if necessary, a test treatment.
Before hair removal with the laser, the skin should not be tanned, as burns can occur due to the increased melanin in the skin. In addition, the sun should be avoided for four to six weeks after the treatment - a high sun protection factor is mandatory during the entire treatment period . This is the only way to be sure that the vascular obliteration works optimally.
How long does the laser treatment last and how many sessions are required?
The duration and cost of permanent hair removal using laser procedures vary considerably. They are not only depend on the part of the body to be treated, but also on the density and texture of the hair. Since hair all over the body grows cyclically in three phases and the majority of our hair follicles are most of the time in the so-called resting phase, no new hair is formed in the hair roots, you should plan at least six sessions at intervals of four weeks.
Permanent laser hair removal: what are the costs?
The prices at a dermatologist can be significantly higher than at a cosmetic studio. However, doctors usually have better options for analyzing skin and hair - and thus the knowledge of which technology is best for everyone. They also have the latest equipment available; in the laser sector, for example, this is currently the diode laser vectus.
You don't want to spend that much money? Then you should be aware that lower costs in the beauty salon can have a high price in the form of serious side effects such as pigmentation disorders, inflammation or severe burns.
By the way: In most cases, the costs for permanent hair removal are not covered, unless the hair growth is due to illness or you suffer from a large number of ingrown hairs that have to be surgically removed again and again. It is best to find out about this from your health insurance company before treatment.
Permanent hair removal: these methods still exist
In 2005, the magazine "test" published a report in which it touted needle epilation, also known as electroepilation, as the most effective method for permanent hair removal. With this technique, every single hair root is given a small electric shock with an ultra-fine needle, which is supposed to desert it. One advantage: In contrast to hair removal with some laser devices, very fine, light hairs can also be removed. The disadvantage of this method is that it can be extremely painful, especially if the area to be treated is large. The aftermath can also be serious. This can lead to swelling and redness, but also to inflammation - especially if it is used improperly.
Hair removal with alexandrite and diode lasers
Lasers make use of the absorption capacity of skin and hair. "There are three places where the light works," explains Dr. Nicola Otte. "In melanin, the pigment of skin and hair, in hemoglobin, i.e. the red blood cells, and in water." The absorption of light in melanin creates heat. This destroys the hair root and prevents new hair from forming at this point.
Most dermatologists today work with diode and alexandrite lasers. They fire in exactly the wavelengths that are absorbed by melanin - and only in these. This is intended to minimize possible side effects (such as injuring blood vessels). The latest models can even be individually adjusted to the skin and hair type. "We work with a device that uses several measuring processes to estimate how much pigment is contained in the hair and skin and thus provides us with an individual setting recommendation," explains the laser expert. "This enables an effective and at the same time minimally invasive treatment."
Good to know: the key to laser hair removal is melanin. And that is the reason why dark hair is easier to remove than light hair - if a hair contains a lot of melanin, the hair's absorption capacity is also higher. "Today we can also remove blonde and reddish hair," explains Dr. Otte. "That wasn't possible a few years ago." However, if a hair is completely white, i.e. if it has lost all of its dye, laser hair removal is not possible.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
The IPL device is also a laser and targets the melanin in the hair. The difference: while alexandrite and diode lasers always fire at the same wavelength, the light in the IPL device lies within a certain spectrum that can be varied between 650 and 1200 nanometers.
"When applied professionally, the IPL method is just as effective as the other technologies," explains Dr. Otte. "But IPL has fallen into disrepute mainly because of the fact that this technology has been used for so much shoddy." Because precisely because the IPL laser does not emit the light in a fixed wavelength, it cannot be ensured that only the melanin is addressed if the wavelength spectrum is improperly set. Possible consequences: swelling, redness, pigment disorders and burns.
Hair removal with the IPL device is offered not only by doctors, but also by cosmetic studios. Although the "Law on Protection from Non-Ionizing Radiation" came into force in March 2010, the use of IPL devices is still not clearly regulated. Many insurance companies therefore require proof of special training, but there is a problem here: The training courses are usually offered by the device manufacturers and are not objective. Also the German Dermatological Laser Society DDLcalls for a legal basis for the use of lasers and high-energy flash lamps (IPL) for aesthetic-cosmetic interventions: "Our goal is that these interventions in the future only take place by trained doctors or under medical supervision," says Dr. med. Wolfgang Kimmig, President of the DDL. A similar legal basis was recently enacted in Denmark.