Laser Hair Removal - The Ultimate Guide in 2019

Laser Hair Removal - The ultimate guide

1. How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

For more than 20 years, clinicians and beauticians have been testing and commercially applying a relatively new method of hair removal - Laser Hair Removal.

This technique uses pulses of laser light to target the chromophore molecules sitting in your hair follicle and skin. These are called melanin, a term you may have come across before. There is a higher concentration of melanin in your hair compared to your skin.

Through HoneySkin experiments, this method has been found ineffective on pale skin tones in combination with blonde hair, or black hair in combination with deeper skin tones, due to the lower ratio of melanin in hair:skin.

The light emitted by the device is absorbed by these pigmented areas to specifically disrupt the hair follicle. Therefore it is especially effective when your skin and hair colour has visibly high colour contrast as the higher melanin content in the hair shaft allows better targeting of the follicle with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue.

After several treatment sessions, the regular disruption to the hair follicle dramatically reduces hair growth. Over the years we have perfected the technology and today, many are using this as an approved, safe and efficient method of hair removal to treat the growth of hair on the body; including facial hair for women and men.

Although this method has long-term, stable reductions in hair growth, overtime some hair will grow back because the treatment does not permanently stop growth from all hair follicles. They may claim permanent facial hair removal and best laser hair removal with the best laser hair removal machine, but it is not permanent!

It’s a fantastic approach but it doesn’t work on all skin/hair combinations, and you will experience regrowth in the years following treatment.
Our Recommended Article Reading: Laser Hair Removal Costs

Now let’s have a look at some other forms of hair removal and compare them to Laser Hair Removal. 


2. Comparison With Other Hair Removal Techniques

2.1 Comparison With Electrolysis

You may not have heard of electrolysis. It's a similar technique to Laser Hair Removal except that a professional delivers a small amount of electricity to the pores in your skin through a small metal probe.

This approach also targets the follicles to reduce their activity. It causes damage to them in one of the following ways: sodium hydroxide (a strong acid which damages the follicle), overheating (a similar approach to Laser Hair Removal) or both (a double damaging approach).

Albeit effective, this is a very lengthy process, averaging 2 years with one hour sessions per week. Let’s face it - for all you 9-5 city slicker workaholics out there, this is not realistic! For all you busy individuals - Our recommendation would be an At Home IPL Device.

2.2 Comparison with Shaving

NEXT? SHAVING! This has to be one of the most common methods of hair removal - easy, convenient, cheap.

BUT, raise your hand if you can relate to those stinging cuts, sensitive rashes, and painful ingrowns - not to mention the prickly stubble after a single day!

Our skin deserves the best treatment, it’s with us for life. We are not doing any favors to our delicate skin by regularly irritating it with harsh over-used blades. Not only are we drying out our skin by shaving, but we are also increasing our risk of infection through micro-tears. This can lead to folliculitis or an infection of your hair follicle where you get inflammation and pus formation. 

Time to put down your razors, ladies, and gents! 
If however, you enjoy at home treatments due to privacy, read our article on At Home IPL Laser.

2.3 Comparison with Waxing

Now if you thought that was compelling, waxing is a whole ‘nother ballgame!

As you may know, waxing can have many of the same results as shaving: the drying up of your skin, the painful rashes, and nasty ingrowns.

The pain itself is enough for Honey Skin to say no and encourage treating yourself and your skin better.

However, waxing can also leave small wounds where the hair has been pulled from the root, increase your risk of STIs as you have removed the protective layer on the surface of the skin and leave your skin vulnerable to damage due to the temporary widening of pores.

But there’s still something we’re forgetting - the regular pulling and stretching of the skin causes premature aging!

We’re all about retaining our youth and yet we expose our delicate skin to such harsh treatment. For all individuals with sensitive skin, we recommend you read our article on IPL and Sensitive Skin.

2.4 Comparison with Intense Pulsed Light

Now let us talk - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). You may have heard of this popular technology from your beauty therapist, your best friend, or even your mum.

It is an effective hair removal alternative to those pesky razors, sizzling wax strips, and nasty chemicals! IPL involves a permanent reduction in hair growth by exposing a pulse light to the hair follicles.

Thought it was a trend, think again - it’s been commercially in use for more than 20 years! 

For 10 years Honey Skin has researched, trialed and experimented with an up-and-coming IPL treatment.

We’ve created an IPL device which is an effective, simple and portable method of fast-tracking your hair removal journey, and the best part, you ask? You can do it all in the comfort of your own home.

Our IPL technology uses intense beams of light to target the chromophore. The photon particle is then absorbed for penetration and disruption of your hair follicle. Regular application of this thermal treatment to your hair follicles results in significantly reduced hair growth. 

But why IPL over Laser Hair removal?

This one’s easy! Not only is the light used a broader spectrum high-intensity light compared to Laser Hair Removal meaning it can cover larger areas of skin, but it is also just as effective at quickly disrupting the hair follicle without damaging any surrounding skin tissue.

So FAST and EFFECTIVE.

And for all my peeps with lower pain tolerance - we also receive so much feedback on how much less painful this method is. Recommended reading: At Home IPL and Sensitive Skin Individuals

Bonus Fact: IPL is an effective method for not only acne but also ingrown hair removal. 

Also, the busy working 9-5 gals can have the flexibility and convenience of doing it at home without strict intervals between sessions. If you would like to get to know more benefits of our at home IPL device: At Home IPL Benefits.

The treatment cycles are shorter (12 weeks compared to 1 year) AND you can save some big bucks for your next holiday. Honey Skin says, enjoy your next tropical holiday with smooth, silky legs!

Ladies, we want you to be done with damaging your skin and wasting hours a week on removing your body hair using out-dated techniques. OH, and don't feel left out guys, this is a very effective method of hair removal for men and women!.  It’s time you give Honey Skin a go. We can't provide you with verified laser hair removal before and after photos but just in case you are hesitant because you think it might not work please check out our At home IPL's before and after photos and our customer reviews:

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2.5 Comparison with Depilatory Creams

Depilatory Creams are chemical-based creams you must place on your skin to remove hair. This is not permanent hair removal. We do not recommend this as there have been many cases where individuals have burnt themselves due to allergic reactions. 

If you are interested in learning more about Depilatory Creams please read our other article Depilatory Creams - The Complete Cheat Sheet.


3. Regulations

Every country and state has its own regulations for the usage of laser hair removal.

In some countries/states, laser hair removal is a procedure that is unregulated, which means anyone can do it.

In other countries/states, laser hair removal can only be performed by doctors.

Whereas in other countries/states, laser hair removal can only be performed by licensed professionals.

But do you really know the regulations of laser hair removal in the state you're living in?

 

3.1 Australia

If you are not a medical practitioner (a physician or surgeon), the licensing requirements needed for the operation of lasers for cosmetic use are:

New South Whales - UNREGULATED - No Licensing Requirements
Victoria - UNREGULATED - No Licensing Requirements
Northern Territory - UNREGULATED - No Licensing Requirements
South Australia - UNREGULATED - No Licensing Requirements
Australian Capital Territory - UNREGULATED - No Licensing Requirements
Queensland - License Required
Tasmania - License Required
Western Australia - Registered Medical Practitioners Only [21]

In summary of the results above, any individual can be hired and instructed to do laser hair removal on your skin if their business is located in NSW, VIC, NT, SA, ACP.

For this reason, most companies will make the customer sign a consent form prior to treatment, which will contain in the fine print that burns are possible (basically covering themselves in case of an accident).

However, Laser hair Removal operators in Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia are legally forced to have specific licenses.

 

3.2 United States

In the United States, Laser Hair Removal is considered a separate procedure in most states.

When studying the laws and regulations of Laser Hair Removal in the United States, it is evident that there is a lack of clearly set rules in most states. 

Here is a complete list of the regulations in place for the operation of lasers in the different states of the United States.
Note: Only a few states have no searchable information regarding regulations, guidance, statues, or laws on the operation of laser devices.

States where only physicians can operate Lasers:
New Jersey. [22]

States with no clear rules or regulations to operate Lasers (anyone can do it):

Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Massachusetts. [22]

States that Consider Laser Procedures to be a "Practice of Medicine", and they all have a variety of definitions of what is considered to mean "practice of Medicine":
Note: If your state falls in this category, we recommend you do in-depth research to find out specifics.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. [22]


In conclusion, New Jersey is the only state that exclusively limits the operation of a laser to licensed physicians.

There are thirteen states in united states that literally anyone can be operating laser hair removal devices at your local clinic.

Lastly, the remaining states all consider the operation of lasers to be considered "practice of medicine" and all have their own individual regulations according to this.

 

 3.3 Canada

According to Health Canada, "Laser therapy facilities are advised that they should only purchase laser hair removal devices that have an active Canadian medical device license in accordance with the Medical Devices Regulations." [Source 23]

This implies that the buyer of these laser machines should follow the safety procedures while purchasing their machine.

However, there is no written official requirement as to who can actually use these machines for hair removal treatments.

Dermatologist Dr. Vince Bertucci has seen patients with permanent disfigurement, skin discoloration, and burns as a result of complications from laser hair removal — a procedure largely unregulated in Canada. [Source 24]

 

3.4 United Kingdom

Non-surgical laser treatments are currently not regulated by the UK government, meaning that there are no restrictions on who can perform laser tattoo removal treatments or what equipment/premises they use. [Source 25]

Practitioners who use IPL or lasers for exclusively cosmetic purposes don’t have to register with the CQC. [Source 26]

 

 

4. Different Types of Laser Hair Removal

As we know, light has different wavelengths (measured in nanometers or nm) and the Laser Hair Removal approach has been trialed and tested with a wide variety of lights.

The width/length of the pulse achieved by the device is called the pulse duration and is directly correlated with the amount of damage caused to the hair follicle.

When the light is emitted, it is absorbed by the hair shaft containing the pigment and the heat generated within the shaft moves to the germ cells in the follicle.

So not only do we need to ensure the temperature generated in the follicle is high enough but we also need to ensure it is kept at that temperature for enough time such that these germ cells can actually be destroyed.

The diameter of the beam will determine the level of penetration into the follicle due to light scattering at the dermal layer of the skin.

So, the wider the diameter of the beam, the deeper the light beam can penetrate and the higher the temperature achieved and maintained in the deeper follicle.

Therefore the amount of energy produced by the device, the pulse duration and the diameter of the beam are all important in determining the effectiveness of the Laser type, and together we call this the ‘power density’ of the device.

The different types of Laser Hair Removal, based on wavelengths from lowest to highest include Argon, Ruby, Alexandrite, Pulsed diode array and Nd:YAG.

The lasers on the lower end of the wavelength spectrum tend to have higher energy and thus are more effective at permanently reducing hair growth. Recommended Reading: At Home IPL vs Laser Hair Removal.



5. How Many Sessions are Needed?

With Laser Hair Removal, a minimum of 8 treatments, 3-8 weeks apart is required to permanently reduce hair growth.

This is required because hair growths in cycles of 3 phases, and the follicle must be damaged in all 3 phases in order for the hair to revert to near-invisible baby hairs.

The hairs being treated will fall out on their own after 2-3 weeks, and it is best to allow this process to occur naturally for safety reasons.

Generally, different beauticians, clinics and brands will require their own conditions on length of treatment.

A number of factors are involved such as the type of laser being used, the clients' skin and hair pigment combination and the targeted area.

Recommended Reading: Honey Skins Article on Laser Hair Removal Costs.



6. Side Effects and Risks of Laser Hair Removal

I know when I went for my first treatment, I was more concerned if there were laser hair removal side effects; well here's the truth. A couple of days post-treatment, you may experience some side effects of follicle inflammation and skin rashes. In severe cases you may experience increase acne, skin discoloration or burns - this is BAD, you should immediately stop treatment or have your clinic agree to lengthen break intervals and reduce the laser strength settings.

Given these risks, we encourage proper research and professional consultation into the appropriate laser type, clinic, and settings to be used for your particular hair and skin types.

The pain of treatment is generally not a side effect we recommend trying to prevent. However, if using numbing creams, we recommend talking to your GP about the safety of this procedure.

Some safer techniques are to apply ice on your skin following the treatment as this will help reduce the pain and swelling. 

If you're interested in bikini laser hair removal:
Recommended Reading: Honey Skins' Article on Brazilian Laser Hair Removal - Everything you Need to Know.



7. Frequently Asked Questions

7.1 Is it worth getting Laser Hair Removal?

This is a question that can only be answered by you. We can only give you the reasons why it is not worth it. Don't be one of those individuals that just decides to search "laser hair removal near me"  and contacts the first result without any prior research.

In summary, Laser Hair Removal at Clinics is effective to stop hair growth, but it is a costly procedure with fee's easily adding up into the thousands.

Furthermore, it offers a false sense of security by indirectly persuading you that you are in the hands of a professional.

Professionals are not legally required to operate such powerful machines.

And then we wonder why there are all these stories of accidents happening but the victims cannot pursue legal actions?

Because in most cases, you must sign a form prior to your session, and in this form states that burns can happen and when you sign it, you agree that the operator and business are not to be held liable for any of this.

Don't be fooled, you may not be in the hands of a professional. 

 

7.2 How permanent is Laser Hair Removal?

Well, is laser hair removal permanent? When you talk about both "permanent" and "laser clinics", it may get a bit tricky. There is no doubt that Laser Hair Removal may result in permanent hair reduction.

This means that these treatments on specific areas may permanently reduce the total number of body hairs, but it will not result in permanent removal of all hairs.

Furthermore, even after you have gotten the results you desired, ongoing treatments are required to maintain these results.

 

7.3 At Home IPL or Laser Hair Removal?

At Home IPL's have been proven to work for permanent hair reduction results just like those of Laser Clinics.

For all the reasons in this article, we believe At Home IPL is definitely the safer and smarter option.

At Home IPL's can be bought for a one time purchase and last up to 15 years worth of weekly treatments. Some may say that you would prefer to be in the hands of a professional at a clinic, but in this article, we've explained this is not always true.

Others may argue that the Laser Hair Removal machines at Clinics are stronger; this is true, but could you imagine what these machines could do to your skin if something was to go wrong, especially in the hands of an individual with no licensing requirements.

Not to mention, At Home IPL's usually, such as this one,  have an energy output of 4.9J/cm2 which is more than plenty to achieve permanent hair reduction results in a safe manner by individuals who are not licensed, professionals.
See the recommended At Home IPL Laser for more information.

Recommended Reading: How Do At Home IPL's Help with Acne?

home laser hair removal

 

 7.4 Can you get skin cancer from Laser Hair Removal?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states the laser energy in hair removal procedures use non-ionizing radiation. The pulses of light energy used in laser hair removal treatments are only designed to heat and destroy hair follicles. “The light energy from these lasers actually remains superficially, it remains at the level of the skin,” Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York City told FoxNews.com. No research as of today has shown the light energy from hair removal lasers can cause cancer. [Source 30]

 

7.5 Does Laser Hair Removal last forever?

No, Laser hair removal results do not last forever. You are required to do consistent 'touch ups' in order to maintain results.

 

7.6 How long does Laser Hair Removal take to see results?

Every individual is different, but on average, whether you are using an At Home IPL or receiving Laser treatment at a clinic, some users may see results as early as after the 2nd session, while others may not see results until after the 10th session. We are all different, and everyone reacts differently to laser treatment. 

 See Honey Skins' At Home IPL Before and After Results Page. 


7.7 What happens after the first session of Laser Hair Removal?

You might notice redness and/or swelling on the treated areas after your first treatment of Laser Hair Removal.

The specialist might advise you to take some sort of anti-inflammatory tablets or to apply some sort of anti-inflammatory cream (they most likely sell it at their clinic).

To reduce the discomfort and swelling, it's recommended you treat the area with ice. Also, avoid sun exposure after your first treatment; they will advise you to use a specific sunscreen for this.

The average time to avoid sun exposure is around 6 weeks after your treatment, however, you will need to double-check this with the clinic that did your treatment. 

 

7.8 Can you tweeze your hair after Laser Hair Removal?

It is not recommended to pluck or epilate the hair after a laser hair removal treatment because your skin will be sensitive and needs time to recover. 

You need to remember your skin will be irritated and tweezing over this will not be a good idea.

You should wait at least a week after your session before tweezing. If you are in desperate need of smooth skin, you can, however, shave.

7.9 Does Laser Hair Removal hurt more than waxing?

To answer this question, we interviewed Jenny, a 21-year-old female volunteer from Sydney. Jenny is experienced with both waxing and laser hair removal at clinics. "In my opinion, laser hair removal is less painful and a lot more tolerable" she explained. "It just costs too much though", adds Jenny. 

 

7.10 How painful is Laser Hair Removal?

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it doesn't hurt! It feels like someone is repeatedly snapping you with a rubber band! It definitely is uncomfortable!

Most Laser Clinics will tell you it's nothing, but truth be told, go grab a rubber band, and place it next to your skin. Now stretch it, and let it swing back to slap your skin. Now do this repeatedly. This is the best way I can describe to you how it feels to get Laser done at Clinics.

On your underarms however it is a different story, this is hands down the most painful area on the body to be treated with laser hair removal. If you have sensitive skin, read our other article on At Home IPL's and Sensitive Skin.

See below a video of the live process of Laser Hair Removal:
NOTE: Armpit Treatment Begins at 7:15.

 

7.11 How often should you get Laser Hair Removal?

Every Laser Clinic recommends differently. Some recommend you do your first 6-8 treatments in 6-8 weeks.

While others recommend each treatment should be 4 weeks apart. This depends highly on your skin tone, hair color and area of the body you are treating.

 

7.12 How much does Laser Hair Removal cost?

How much is laser hair removal?
Laser Hair Removal prices in 2019 are highly dependant on the size of the body area you want to treat, and the clinic you are at, therefore it is hard to say the exact price.

However, Honey Skin did a study on the average price of twenty different Laser Clinics in Sydney and Brisbane.

Read our article on Laser Hair Removal Costs to see the whole study.

 

7.13 Is At Home IPL Laser Hair Removal Safe?

Over the years, dermatologists concluded that IPL is a safe, effective and more affordable solution to permanent hair removal. The IPL's light 'waves' are absorbed by the dark pigment in the skin (hair). When those 'waves' are absorbed by the dark pigment it’s then converted to heat which causes damage to the hair follicle.

The Honey Skin At Home IPL utilizes intelligent technology adapted for safe at home use, such as a full filter censor; the device will detect when it is properly placed completely flat on your skin, and if it is not placed accordingly, it will not allow you to continue. 

See the video below for a visual representation on how to use your very own At Home IPL

 

 

7.14 Does At Home IPL Laser Hair Removal Work?

Truth be told, IPL and Laser work in a very similar way to each other. Both treatments utilize heat and light in order to damage the hair follicle, in the aim to permanently prohibit hair regrowth.

The main difference between the two is that laser uses a single, more focused beam of light whereas IPL works like a flash lamp, covering larger areas at a time with light 'waves'.  "It works in the same way black clothing absorbs heat on a hot day, versus white clothing which reflects it," explains laser specialist Debbie Thomas. "The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. It quickly turns to heat which then kills the growing cells that make the hair" Thomas adds.

If you are interested in the Honey Skin At Home IPL Device Click Here. 

Further Readings:

At Home IPL and Sensitive Skin

How does At Home IPL help with Acne?

Benefits of At Home IPL

Before and After Results of the Honey Skin At Home IPL Device


NOTE: Remember to use the code "honeyskin" at checkout for a $30 discount and free shipping! 

honey skin discount code

 

 

Reference

[Source 21]  https://www.racgp.org.au/

[Source 22]  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/

[Source 23]  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/

[Source 24]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

[Source 25]  http://www.bmla.co.uk/faqs/

[Source 26]  https://www.gov.uk/

[Source 30]  https://www.foxnews.com/


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