Laser hair removal is becoming increasingly popular, according to statistics from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS). Just among members of the society alone, more than a half-million procedures (633,000) were performed during 2014. The 2014 figures were 27% higher than 2013 ones, and they were 51% higher than 2012.
Data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) shows that the number of occurrences of laser hair removal nationwide has continued to rise since 2014. In 2016, nonsurgical cosmetic procedures generally experienced 7% growth. Of those services, laser hair removal (13% rise) was one of the fastest growth areas, only outdone by photorejuvenation (36%) and hyaluronic acid (16%). Laser hair removal is also third in its overall use, with 1.0 million procedures conducted in 2016 (behind botulinum toxin injections at 4.6 million and hyaluronic acid at 2.5 million).
The raw numbers show us that this treatment is very popular. Let’s personalize it though, by looking at one woman’s experience with it. Then we’ll explore the various benefits of the procedure.
Men are typically interested in focusing on the back and neck. Meanwhile, women will often want to use the procedure to rid their body of unwanted hair in the bikini line and underarms. One reporter, a woman, told her story of getting laser hair removal in Best Health Magazine.
The writer had started considering this treatment after years of bikini waxes that were very unpleasant. When she finally decided to get hair removal, she was most anxious that it actually would not cause any pain. However, since she spends a large amount of her time poolside during the summer, the idea of having an easier way to groom was compelling.
For her initial treatment, she was instructed to prepare by shaving the region, since exposure to the light of the laser can cause hair that is directly on the skin's surface to burn.
When she was called into the appointment, she was first left by herself to put on a robe and pair of disposable underwear before lying down on a table. Her hair removal practitioner, Eva, gave her a pair of protective sunglasses and put a pair on herself as well. Eva then introduced gel to the area that they were treating, her bikini line.
Eva did a series of side-to-side motions using the wand. At that point, the writer felt her skin getting warmer.
The reporter said she reclined and stayed calm while Eva treated her for fifteen minutes. Following treatment, there was a small amount of redness, she said. However, other than that, there was no discomfort in the area where she was treated.
Two weeks later, she said that some of her hair started to return but that it was fine and minimal. Eva told her that the number of visits she would require would depend on her hair's growth rate as well as its receptivity to the laser. Eventually, the writer received six treatments over the course of a year.
The key thing is whether or not it works, since that will ultimately determine whether someone recommends it to others. The Best Health Magazine reporter said that she was an advocate for the treatment since her bikini line was now completely free of hair. "I love that I can throw on my suit and hit the pool without giving my bikini line much thought," she said.
You can see that one woman appreciated the treatment above. However, what are the specific reasons people are so enthusiastic about this treatment?
#1 – Lasers are extraordinarily precise. You can systematically treat coarse and dark hairs without posing any risk to the health of the nearby skin.
#2 – Lasers are fast. You need less than a second for each pulse of a laser – with each pulse treating numerous hairs. Every second, you are able to treat an area that is about the size of a quarter, noted WebMD. It will take you less than a minute to treat an area such as your upper lip. Note that while the laser is fast, it may take as long as an hour to treat large parts of the body, such as the legs or back.
#3 – Lasers reliably work. Typically a patient will achieve permanent loss of the hair in the desired area following 3-7 visits.
#4 – It is not nearly as painful as waxing is. That assessment comes from Jessica Cruel in Self. Practitioners will often use ice to aid in desensitizing the area both ahead of and following treatment. Plus, as the sessions continue and your hair gets finer, any discomfort you experience naturally reduces.
Are you exploring laser hair removal? At Bayview General Medicine, Dr. Richard Blanchar uses the latest technology in laser hair removal to permanently eliminate problem hair, leaving nothing but smooth skin behind. See our laser hair removal Q & A.