The Lowdown on Laser Hair Removal

We love showing more skin in the summer, but the necessary increase in shaving and waxing sessions is a drag.

Instead, you may want to try laser hair removal. We looked at the specifics of the treatment to find out who makes an ideal candidate.

How It Works

During laser hair removal, an intense pulsating wand of light is held over a patch of skin for a few seconds. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth.” While laser hair removal slows hair growth, it doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal, although any remaining hairs will be thinner and lighter than the starting point.

It generally takes around five to eight laser hair removal treatments to provide an extended hair-free period, but additional maintenance treatments may be required. Erica Trojan, Licensed Medical Esthetician at Original Skin in Wilmette, says, “We suggest clients repeat treatments every six weeks for a minimum of six treatments. What we’re essentially doing is going after the hairs in the active growth cycle.”

Blonde vs. Brunette
According to Sheryl Keller, Licensed Medical Esthetician of Northshore Dermatology Center in Lake Forest, laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark pigmented (brown or black) hair, although, Keller says, “Today’s new lasers are enabling us to treat dark hair in patients with darker skin.”

Christy from Wilmette tried laser hair removal at a Chicago facility after seeing it advertised on Groupon. She paid around $190 for six laser sessions. “I was tired of spending $50 each time I got waxed and I’d heard that laser hair removal lasts for a few years. I didn’t realize that because I was blonde, I would require many more sessions than a brunette. Had I known this, I don’t know that I would have gone through with the process.” Jess, a brunette and Northbrook resident, had better luck with the treatment after multiple sessions on her legs. She says, “Laser hair removal was completely effective for me and I no longer worry about shaving.”

Feeling the Burn
According to Keller, after a treatment “patients most commonly experience a slight reddening which may last a few hours to a few days. Laser hair reduction is completely safe and vey effective when performed by a certified technician who has experience using a state of the art laser best for your skin type.”

Christy felt that the pain was comparable to getting waxed; most clinics offer different levels of laser strength for people with more sensitive skin.

Trojan advises, “Book an appointment with a clinician who will take the time to answer all of your questions upfront, has experience, explains the procedure thoroughly, and selects clients appropriately.”