There are a ton of myths about laser hair removal out there. Some are dealt with swiftly and quick. Other take more times to be taken care of. Indeed, some misconceptions hold so strong, that they require much more convincing to overcome. Good thing that at Infinity Laser Spa, something we do love to do, is kicking misconceptions and myths about laser hair removal out of the door. We've got ten myths to bust today!
10 common myths about laser hair removal to bust
Myth #1 - Laser hair removal is painful
We write extensively about laser hair removal on this blog. As a matter of fact, we believe that the more information we provide, the clearer the procedure will be and the most trust people will put in it. A comment and reaction we often get on our blog post is people explaining why they have not tried laser hair removal yet: it is too painful.
Or so they believe. Pain is one of the most common myths about laser hair removal. Let's bust it now, shall we! Laser hair removal is not painful, simply because pain is not the right word to use here. You will not really feel pain during the procedure. It will not necessarily be pleasant but it will be more than bearable. The were will be pinching and heat. It might feel like a rubber band repeatedly snapping against your skin.
Myth #2 - Laser hair removal is expensive
This used to be true. No longer is though. Yet, people still strongly believe that laser hair removal is unfordable and way out of their reach. One of the most stubborn myths about laser hair removal though. The cost of laser hair removal will vastly vary on the supplier you choose. Dermatologist, clinics and spas will have a different cost.
That cost will also be dependent on the location. However, laser hair removal does not have to be expensive. It can indeed be affordable. Groupon is of course a major way to make laser hair removal more affordable. Seasonal deals and discounts will also make treatments cheaper. Cost can range anywhere from $99 for a small area up to $3000 for full body.
Myth #3 - Laser hair removal does not work on dark skin
The light energy produced by the laser targets pigments in the hair in order to reach the follicle. Thus, the ideal candidate has dark hair and light skin. For a very long time, laser hair removal was unsafe for dark skins which were at greater risks of getting burns. Indeed, the laser could only with difficulty catch the contrast between hair and skin.
However, technology improvements changed everything. People of color can undergo laser hair removal in a very safe way. The key is to use Nd:YAG laser. Indeed, its 1064 nm wavelength is not as highly absorbed by melanin as other wavelengths. This wavelength bypasses the epidermis, so it’s very safe on dark skin.
Myth #4 - Laser hair removal does not work on fair hair
While the issue with dark skin is the absence of sharp contrast between hair and skin pigments, the problems is of a different kind with blonde, ginger or grey hair. Indeed, they are hair colors that are characterized by a very low quantity of pigments... which on fair skin is hard to detect. In short, the pigmentation of those hairs is too close to the skin's pigmentation.
However, people with blonde or ginger hair can still undergo laser hair removal. First of all, there might be areas of the body were hair is darker (i.e. bikini area). Second of all, new laser hair removal technologies such as Nd:YAG laser can now successfully remove light-colored hair. Nd:YAG laser devices have a longer wavelength that is highly sensitive to all colors and melanin. This means it can more precisely penetrate hair follicles without damaging surrounding tissue.
Myth #5 - Laser hair removal is not permanent
Laser hair removal is a fairly new way of removing body hair. For example, electrolysis has been around for more than a century. Thus there is very few research done on it that can guarantee laser hair removal is permanent. This is one of the most common myths about the procedure and to the FDA, it is indeed not permanent.
However, the succession of laser sessions will lead to at least hair growth reduction, and at best permanent hair removal. While patients should not expect hair removal to be permanent, it most of the time is. By repeatedly targeting the follicle, the laser will eventually destroy it. Thus, hair growth will no longer be possible.
Myth #6 - Laser hair removal is not safe
Laser hair removal is very safe when it is done by a certified technician. Indeed, only someone who knows the procedure inside out, has trained on the machine and knows when to alter the treatment can perform it correctly. It is also up to the patient to listen to the technician's advice to ensure the safety of the procedure.
Like any other aesthetic procedure, laser hair removal has risks. Patients can suffer redness, burns and blistering but it is very rare. Secondary effects may incur should a patient not respect the safety guidelines as laid out by the laser technician. Exposure to the sun should be minimized to avoid taking unnecessary risks for instance.
Myth #7 - Laser hair removal only requires one or two sessions
Some people will see great results after one session. A significant hair growth reduction after just one treatment might encourage people to think that an additional session will be enough. However, that's wrong. This is one of those myths that can really interfere with the results of the procedure should you listen to it.
Laser hair removal works best when the hair is in the anagen growth of stage. It is the only time the light energy can get to the hair follicle through the hair as both connect. Unfortunately, only 20% of all body hairs is in this stage at any point in time. Thus, you can only target 20% of your hair during each session. That is why you need several session to ensure the laser targets every single follicle.
Plus, the laser will damage the hair follicle. However, some follicles may need more than one time to be fully damaged and unable to produce any more hair. Not going for anymore sessions will allow those follicle to regenerate and grow new hair. Thus, you'll be back to square one.
Myth #8 - Laser hair removal can't be done in summer
Of course you can absolutely start laser hair removal in the summer. The problem is not when to start. It is what you are likely to do. In summer, the sun is strong, you're likely to be on holiday and to tan. That's the problem. For laser hair removal to work best and to avoid any negative side-effects, you must avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
If you start laser hair removal in the mid of summer, know that you will not be able to sunbath as you would like to. Whether you expose yourself to the sun or not, you need to apply a strong SPF. Sunscreen is gonna be your best friend for a while. If you are wondering when is the best time to start laser hair removal, it is the beginning of fall.
Myth #9 - Laser hair removal will damage the skin
Laser hair removal will not damage the skin. It does have potential side effects and risks like any other aesthetic procedure. However, when done well, it should not damage the skin. What laser hair removal will do however, is leaving the skin vulnerable and sensitive to external aggressors.
The skin will be much more vulnerable to UV rays, which is why you should not expose yourself to direct sunlight after a session. You should not go to the gym or take part in any activity that may produce heat against your skin. Indeed, the heat produced by the laser will stay under your skin for 24 hours. You may see redness but it will disappear within a few hours.
Myth #10 - Laser hair removal stimulates hair growth
Actually, this is not the most common of myths about laser hair removal but it is one that goes around quite a lot still. Some think that laser hair removal will stimulate hair growth. It should not and it will not. If that were true, we would have found the remedy to baldness already! Every person has their own hair growth patterns and everyone’s bodies are constantly changing.
Some people will lose body hair over time, and some will grow more hair in new places as they age. Lasers can destroy hair follicles, but they’re not magical: they won’t create new ones, and they won’t prevent new hair follicles from growing over time. However, in the rarest of instances, laser hair removal may stimulate hair growth. The percentage rate is however very low: 0.1%.
And there you have 10 common myths about laser hair removal busted!