A. Everything You Need to Know About At-Home Laser Hair Removal
Hair removal of any kind – waxing, shaving, tweezers, laser – has always been a deeply private act for me. I know it’s perfectly normal for people to go to beauty salons, take off their pants and spread their legs so that a stranger can pull or pull the hair out of the perineum, but I … just can’t. I like to think that giving yourself a Brazilian character at home is as frustrating as putting together a piece of furniture – sometimes it is frustrating and always takes longer than planned, but it provides a good distraction from everything else. life and leaving you with a sense of accomplishment and pride when you’re done.
But with on-site shelter requests that know how long it will take, I skip waxing and instead reconnect to my IPL full body LumaRx skin beauty system ($ 449). A few years ago, I used the hair removal device as instructed for three months and saw impressive results on my legs, arms and bikini line that lasted for almost a year. (It is important to note that while home devices are less robust than office lasers, none are really permanent. Most people need annual touch-ups to maintain results.) to stay.
If you’re complaining about the fact that beauty salons, medical spas and doctors’ offices are currently not open for your waxing needs – or if you just need a hobby – I asked two experts everything you need to know before you invest and use a home device.
1. Does laser hair removal work at home?
“I think [home devices] can be effective for the right person,” says Dr. Nikhil Dhringra, a certified dermatologist based in New York. “Laser hair removal depends a lot on the hair pigment and, in a way, on the contrast between the hair pigment and the lack of skin pigment. It can be effective for lighter skin types, especially those with darker hair. For others, this is much less likely. ”
He adds that home devices are not only “relatively weak compared to office options”, but also use intense pulsed light that is less concentrated than laser light. “IPL is definitely not safe for people with skin pigment,” says Dr. Dhringa. His biggest warning is that people “endowed with melanin” or with a touch of tan stay away from home appliances “even if the brand affirms safety for colored skin”.
Josie Holes, a cosmetologist at SKINNEY Medspa in New York, says that laser devices for home use simply cannot compete with office devices. In addition to the very low energy output, they also cannot treat darker skin tones than olive (while licensed professionals can treat all skin tones, she says) or detect blond, red or gray hair. “The only reason these homemade tools are useful or efficient in any way is to treat a very small area like the lips or forearms, or to treat an area for maintenance that has already been treated in the office.”
2. Is laser hair removal at home safe? What are the biggest risks of laser or light equipment at home?
The biggest risk, according to the professionals, is hyperpigmentation and damage to the skin with the use of a device that is not suitable for your skin tone or hair color. Although homemade tools usually come with basic guidelines, it is a good idea to check with your dermatologist or laser hair removal specialist before investing. “Some of these devices are smart enough and really prevent the laser from burning if the skin or hair color is not ideal,” says Holes Sie.
In addition, Holes believes that “laser devices are generally very safe at home. The FDA would not allow companies to manufacture and sell these devices to the general public if they could cause serious damage. “However, it is important to be aware of the contraindications to treatment – for example, pregnant and lactating women are not candidates – so she recommends doing a thorough search first.
You should also avoid retinoids, antibiotics, suntan lotions and exposure to the sun for at least two weeks before and after treatment and prevent hair growth or pinning in the treated area. “This removes hair directly from the follicle when the light from lasers is directed to the hair in the follicle,” she explains. (On the other hand, it is necessary to shave before treatment.) Over-treating an area is also a problem, according to Holes. Therefore, read the instruction manual carefully before using, as the number of passes between the tools may vary.
3. Do you have to wear safety glasses at home?
Many laser hair removal tools do not come with safety glasses, but Dr. Dhringa says that “eye protection is mandatory” because “there are structures in the eyes that can be affected by the wavelength of light and the laser emitted by these devices . You can find numerous options on Amazon.
In addition to protecting your eyes, according to Holes, you should also make sure that your device does not fire around mirrors: “The type of light used in laser technologies is reflected by mirrors and its energy is dispersed”.
4. What areas should you not address at home?
Both Dr. Both Dhringa and Holes agree: leave the genitals laser to the professionals. “This is a very sensitive area that can be easily burned if it is not treated with the correct settings”, warns Holes. She recommends holding small areas like the upper lip, armpits, toes or just the bikini line.
If you choose to treat larger areas, Dr. Dhringa: “In order to properly use these devices to remove hair, firm skin contact is required. As a result, difficult-to-reach areas, such as your back, are difficult to reach, unless a friend can help. ”
5. How often can you have a laser hair removal treatment at home?
If you are going to do laser hair removal in a doctor’s office or spa, the sessions have an interval of four to six weeks. “Hair growth has four phases – anagen, catagen, telogen and exogenous – and last from four to six weeks,” explains Holes. Anagen is the ideal time for treatment. “The hair is still attached to the papilla, which is at the base of the hair follicle, but is visible above the skin. It is noticeable when you are at this stage. You can clearly see the hair above the epidermis, ”says Holes. (Don’t forget to shave: “Unshaven makes treatment less effective because some of the energy released is wasted on the outside of your hair.”)
However, most home devices recommend treating the desired area every two weeks. According to the Trias website, “Hair grows in cycles, so not all strands can be treated at the same time. After the second treatment, 70% less hair will regrow and you are on your way to permanent results. However, to treat the remaining hair, the laser must reach each hair follicle during its growth cycle. For permanent results, treat the area every two weeks for at least three months until all of the hair has been treated and stops growing again. ”
6. When can you expect results?
This varies and depends on your skin tone and hair color, but Holes says: “Most home laser hair removal devices claim that you can see the complete results in 8 to 10 treatments.” In the office, light skin tones can usually get results after two or three sessions, while Dr. Dhringa says that dark skin tones can often take six to eight to achieve satisfactory results.
7. What can you do to make the treatment less painful?
Dr. Dhringa recommends taking a mild anti-inflammatory agent, such as ibuprofen, one hour before treatment and then freezing the area. And remember, says Holes, “Your treatment doesn’t have to be painful to see hair reduction. If you find that higher settings are more difficult, you can keep your device at a medium or lower setting. This only increases the time it takes to see the results. ”
B. Laser Hair Removal at Home: Our Favorite Devices
Of all the hair removal options, lasers look the most attractive … in theory. A few zaps and you’ll never have to touch a razor again? It looks good, and there is a reason why 1 million people underwent the procedure in 2018, according to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.1 But there is the not-so-attractive part: the price. A laser hair removal session can cost hundreds of dollars, and some people need almost a dozen sessions to get rid of their hair forever.
1. What is?
Laser hair removal works like this: after a laser is aimed at your hair, the pigment in the hair follicles absorbs the light and is destroyed. Homemade laser hair works the same way: a futuristic-looking device sends a laser pulse that hits your hair follicle, warming it up and preventing new hair from growing. Tria Hair Removal 4X ($ 449) is the first FDA approved home hair removal laser to use a diode laser (the same as a dermis would use if you were being treated in the office).
Other home laser kits, such as the LumaRx Pro IPL Skin Beauty System ($ 549), provide permanent hair removal after three treatments and are great for both large and small areas of hair removal. Another option for the home, Silk’n Flash & Go Freedom hair removal ($ 199) uses HPL (Home Pulsed Light) technology, which the company claims lasers and IPL due to its wide range of wavelengths and blemishes larger are greater than size and lower levels of pain (you can read more about it here).
2. Who can use
As the laser requires high contrast between skin and hair to effectively reach the hair follicle, devices such as Tria 4X and Silk’n Flash & Go are best for people with light to medium skin and dark hair.
3. How to use it
This depends on home laser treatment, but it usually works like this: you point the device where you want to banish your hair, let it point to the hair follicle and go to a different area. Each area requires a specific number of zaps (or pulses, which sounds less intimidating). The Tria 4X has its own pulse counter that allows you to track the number of pulses by the body so that you know when you have treated the area effectively.
4. Where can you use this?
Basically, wherever you receive laser treatment in the office – legs, arms, bikini area, forearms, upper lip, stomach, feet, hands … the list goes on. One thing to keep in mind: if you have a low tolerance for pain, it may be better to stay in smaller areas, like your forearms or bikini area, as it looks like using a laser like “a rubber band popping against your skin”. described.
5. It works?
According to a study by Dr. Ronald Wheeland of the University of Arizona Health Sciences, the Tria 4X hair removal laser resulted in a 70% reduction in hair growth after just two treatments. The OG hair removal laser tool uses the same diode laser technology that Derms prefers for best results. It aims to prevent the growth of hair on the face and body.
Developed for home use with pulsed light technology, this device allows you to control pain levels. This patented technology helps to get rid of hair in all skin tones and in a variety of hair colors. Claims permanent hair removal in three treatments. You get two interchangeable covers: one for treating larger areas and a more precise cover for smaller areas.
C. The Pros and Cons of At-Home Laser Hair Removal
Some DIY beauty tricks are absolutely worth it. You can save time and money by coloring your roots or shaving your eyebrows in the comfort of the bathroom. But laser hair removal? If before the procedure was only available at the dermatologist’s office, nowadays you can even buy small devices to brush your hair. Before saying goodbye to your shaver, however, find out what dermatologist Rachel Ward, MD has to say about the safety and effectiveness of these devices.
1. Permanent hair removal
Laser hair removal devices kill the hair follicle. However, hair grows cyclically and lasers only damage the follicles during an active cycle of hair growth. Therefore, several treatments are needed about a month apart to completely prevent hair growth. For some people, laser hair removal is not entirely permanent. You may need a maintenance treatment every year to prevent the appearance of loose strands of hair.
The process is not cheap. Professional laser hair removal can cost a few hundred dollars per treatment and can take half a dozen sessions (or more) to shut off all follicles. You could spend over a thousand dollars chasing a bald bikini line. In the meantime, you can order a hair removal laser at home for around $ 400 or $ 500. At first glance, it may seem like a better investment. But there are some important caveats, says Dr. Ala.
2. Laser hair removal at home: pros and cons
There are two types of hair removal devices at home. One is a real laser and the other uses intense pulsed light. Both types remove hair and are less powerful than the device you find in the dermatologist’s office, explains Dr. Ala. This is good and bad. On the one hand, less work means less responsibility. These devices are safe for home use by amateurs, so you don’t have to worry about getting burned for smooth skin. (Even so, be sure to follow the instructions exactly – because of the lasers.)
- But with less performance, there is also less effectiveness: home devices don’t work as well as Pro models.
Other disadvantages: It is difficult to cover a large area – such as an entire leg – with small household devices, says Dr. Ala. And they may not be strong enough to be completely hairless. “In several sessions, you reduce the number of hairs you see – but it probably won’t be a home run,” she says.
3. Who should try laser hair removal at home?
One of the biggest disadvantages of laser hair removal at home? The tools work only with a narrow range of hair and skin colors. Lasers are concentrated in the hair follicle pigments and are only effective when there is a strong contrast between the skin and the hair. That said, the systems are recommended for people with fair skin and dark hair.
There is a risk of burns in people with darker skin. To prevent this from happening, many household devices have sensors that prevent them from working on darker skins. If you don’t have the combination of fair skin and dark hair, professional lasers are the only option. “The lasers we use in the dermatologist’s office are more sophisticated and can be used on patients of any skin color,” says Dr. Ala.
4. Laser hair removal safety
In general, if you have the right hair and skin tones, it is safe to try the devices, says Dr. Ala. However, it is important to use them correctly.
a. Do not use them
- Close to the eyes (although the upper lip is fine).
- About tattoos or pigmented areas, including birthmarks.
- In the genital area (but you can safely point to the bikini line).
When doing the calculation, keep in mind that household devices may have limited battery power or contain light cartridges that need to be replaced, says Dr. Ala. And no matter how many times you use them, you can never achieve total hairlessness.