Hair removal procedure can be divided into two types - temporary and permanent. Temporary methods comprise depilation (removing the part of the hair above the skin surface) and epilation (removing the entire hair from its root). Hair removal through depilation, lasts for a few days and can be performed by shaving or trimming (manually or with electric shavers).
The depilatories that are used in this procedure are, shaving creams or powders, and friction, i.e using rough surfaces to buff away hair. Hair removal through epilation lasts for a few weeks and can be performed using tweezers, waxing, sugaring (similar to waxing but with a sticky paste made of sugar, lemon and honey), threading, and rotary epilators.
Permanent hair removal methods remove the hair completely from the body. They mainly comprise electrolysis and laser treatment. In electrolysis, a hair-thin metal probe is carefully inserted into a hair follicle without puncturing the skin. Electricity is supplied to the follicle through the probe, which leads to localized damage to the areas that produce hair. If not performed correctly, it can lead to skin rashes and infections.
Laser hair removal is based on the mechanism of selective photothermolysis, in which a light at a specific wavelength, is supplied from a handpiece into the skin. It causes restricted damage by specifically heating the dark target region called melanin, that causes hair growth, while not affecting the remaining areas of the skin.
- As the light is easily absorbed by dark objects, lasers operate best on people with dark hair and light skin. For dark or tanned skin, lasers can lead to discoloration of the skin unless one uses a machine created for dark skin.
- According to research, a hair grows in three phases: growing, resting, and shedding. Lasers or pulsed lights target and damage the melanin (dark pigment) in the hair during the growing phase.
- A hair usually falls out within 10-14 days. You can use a mild sugar scrub on the 11th day, as it helps exfoliate the skin and remove the hair.
- It targets many follicles in one go, so one can treat large areas of the skin at a time. It is best for treating back, shoulders, arms, legs, chest, as it takes less time as compared to electrolysis. But for the upper lip and chin, it works well only on dark hair. So, if you want to zap blond hair, it's better to opt for electrolysis.
- The treatment is not very painful and the pulse light feels like a rubber band popping against your skin. But for some people it might be different, as they may find some areas more painful than others.
- Once it's finalized which type of laser or pulsed light machine will be used, you'll be asked to either shave on the day of your treatment or a few days before. Always consult your aesthetician before you show up.
- The cost of the complete treatment depends on, which body part you want to treat.
The results of laser treatment may not always be 100%, as it works well on some people than others. Some people have noticed regrowth of hair after a few months or years, while others have experienced no such signs. On an average, there is at least 70-80% reduction in the hair growth, if you complete the 4-6 session treatment.