Laser hair removal is a popular procedure this time of year, as Mother Nature beckons us to come out and play. The last thing many women want to bother with is shaving legs, arms and bikini areas. If you’re one of them, laser hair removal might be something you’re considering.
The first thing to understand about laser hair removal is that it’s not a simple, straightforward topic. There’s quite a bit of disagreement about which laser is best, how much pain is involved and whether the treatment is effective enough to be worthwhile. While the ultimate judgment will rest with you, here are some ways to increase your chances of being satisfied with your experience.
First, be prepared to consider whether the actual laser recommended for your treatment is the one that’s right for you, or simply the one the doctor happens to own. There are several different kinds of lasers—types, not brand names. These include ruby (an older laser), diode, alexandrite and Nd:YAG. You want to be sure your practitioner has more than one type of laser to offer.
The right laser for you depends on your skin tone, whether you have a tan or not and the color and thickness of your hair. Lasers vary in the type of light they produce, the size of the spot they target and the way they cool your skin. Ask your doctor about these factors and find out specifically why the recommended laser is a good match for you. You should also ask whether the equipment is FDA-approved for patients with your skin color and hair type.
As you research your options, you’ll find that most doctors and laser treatment centers characterize the pain involved as “slight,” akin to the snap of a rubber band or a mild sting. When you read reviews by real patients, however, some describe the pain as much worse. In general, it seems that the more sensitive the skin, as in the underarms and bikini area, the more painful treatment is. Since it’s hard to predict how you will react until you try it, it’s extra comforting if the facility you choose offers a complimentary consultation including a few pulses of the laser. You can also ask about numbing creams.