Sep 27, 2012

Beauty Nightmares; Making Small Talk in the Buff

If you enjoy taking your clothes off and chatting about the weather with a complete stranger then this post probably isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you panic at the sheer thought of walking in to a salon and baring it all for hair removal, read on. Like most women, and plenty of men, problem hair removal is not only a time consuming nuisance, it’s something that can make even the brave start to blush, that’s why many companies are working hard to make laser hair removal easy and affordable right in the comfort of your own home.

Back in the 1960’s researchers realized that lasers could be used to remove hair. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that treatments became commercially available. Lasers use a beam of light set at a specific wavelength to destroy melanin in the hair; this is the dark pigment that is found in both hair and skin. As lasers are highly targeted they can be set at frequencies that destroy only the pigment in the growth cells of the hairs. This has two effects, killing off the hair and inhibiting its re-growth. Similar to salon treatments, home lasers do require a series of sessions in order to be effective because hair grows in several stages and it is only during the growth stage that the treatment is effective.

The Bad News?

Sadly, laser hair removal does not work for all skin and hair types. For those with darker hair and lighter skin lasers will work well, but it is not recommended for those with very dark skin and will not work on blonde, red or grey hair. Home laser hair removal systems feature safety settings to ensure that they will not work on inappropriate skin colors.

Permanent Hair Removal

To date, there is no permanent hair removal system available – other than electrolysis which is expensive and  time consuming (it can take months or years to completely remove hair). Laser treatment manufacturers are not allowed to claim that their products offer a final solution to problem hair, however they do (rightly) claim that laser treatment offers a permanent reduction. The reality for many users is that this reduction is not only significant but the effects are often surprisingly quick. The advantage to the home treatment systems is, of course, that for an initial investment you can complete treatments at your leisure when you need them.

Laser vs. Other Options

So how does laser compare to other home treatments? Let’s forget about shaving for a moment. Most of us would certainly like to since it's tedious and often results in razor burn and unwanted ingrown hairs. Waxing is also available in a home version, which is slightly less daunting than those uncomfortable sessions in the salon, but the major downside is that hair needs to be grown in advance for waxing to be effective, which is not ideal at any time of year, least of all during the summer. Then there's depilatory creams, which like waxing, offer a longer term solution but because they cause skin irritation they are not suitable for everyone. Last but not least there's IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and Lasers, which both offer long term solutions to unwanted hair. The difference between the two is that IPL does not disrupt the growth cycle and will require constant treatments. Laser may also require a regular treatments but in general it’s considered more effective at producing long-term results. 

 Guest post provided by Tria. For more information on laser hair removal visit

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