Does At-Home Laser Hair Removal Really Work?
Spring is upon us. Thus, summer is around the corner. It is almost time to sport the little dress and get bare legs. Or pick the best bikini for our upcoming holiday in the sun. It is also that time of the year where most people think about hair removal and how to get rid of their hair for good. Good news, there is a solution and it is called laser hair removal. However, the best time to start laser hair removal isn’t necessarily summer. Mostly because of the sun, even though laser hair removal is still possible in summer. If you’re just now thinking of your hair situation and do not have much time to think, you may be tempted to give into at-home laser hair removal.
Now that at-home laser hair removal devices are flooding the market, it is hard to not consider give them a try. After all, they do seem to provide a lot of benefits. The cost of a at-home laser device seems much lower than paying for a laser hair removal treatment at a spa. That is one myth, considering the significant time and energy investment that goes into DIY laser hair removal. Also, there are many ways to save on laser hair removal, which in the end, makes it very affordable.
Thus, we totally get it. Purchasing an at-home laser hair removal device and doing the procedure at home sounds tempting. It seems like a good way to save money as well. Plus you are in the comfort of your home, not subjected to any spa’s availabilities. In conclusion, you’ve got total control over your time, the location, the whole procedure. However, is at-home laser hair removal really worth it?
At-home laser hair removal, worth the hype?
1. How does laser hair removal work?
A professional laser hair removal machine and an at-home laser hair removal device essentially have the same objective. They must remove your hair and reduce hair growth as much as possible. The difference is, home devices use intense pulsed light while professional laser hair removal uses, well, as laser. However, both will target the hair in the same way.
During the procedure, the energy produced by the device or the laser will target the pigment in the hair. The energy will get through the hair to the hair follicle and damage it enough so that any further hair growth is stopped. The procedure is successful only if the hair is in the anagen stage of the hair growth cycle because it is the only time there is a connection between the hair and follicle. Then, after a few days, the hair will be expelled from the shaft and shed.
Only 20% of the hair is in the anagen phase at any point in time, explaining why you need several sessions. Indeed, you can only target 20% of the hair at a time. Patients can see results after the first session, when the hair sheds a couple of weeks after the session. The cumulative effects of all the sessions will produce amazing results and help reduce hair growth by up to 90%.
2. What about accuracy?
Have you ever tried waxing at home? Whether with cold wax stripes or with hot wax? Back then, you probably thought that it would save you money so you want all out. Until a stripe of wax was left to dry on your bikini area because you were too scared to pull it off. Or you just missed some areas. Thus, what is really worth the hassle? What the at-home treatment successful? Most likely not. We’re about to reveal a big secret: it is the same with laser hair removal.
At-home laser hair removal will not be as accurate as laser hair removal at a spa. You will miss patches of hair or will not be able to reach all the areas you want to treat. Some areas are also notoriously more painful than others and you may either not do them well, or not even dare give them a go. When you go to a spa, the technician will be able to accurately and efficiently treat all the areas. Furthermore, they will have no problem reaching them.
Laser hair removal at a spa is simply more efficient and produces better results. The technician will have no hesitation when performing the procedure and will ensure you are satisfied with your results. Plus, when it comes to the bikini area, which we strongly advise against doing home no matter what. It is just too sensitive.
3. Is at-home laser hair removal time-consuming?
Let’s get back to our example of at-home waxing. If you have tried waxing at home, you will have noticed that it is not as simple nor straightforward the in-spa treatment. It will have taken you way more time as well. At-home laser hair removal will have the exact same implications.
First, you will need to get around using the at-home laser hair removal device. You will have to learn how to use, get familiar with its functionalities, give it a few tries, see what angles work, etc. All those take time. You will also have to give the device a test run to see whether your skin reacts well to the pulsed-light.
Second, beyond learning how to use the device, it is the apprehension and fear of pain that will make you hesitate and take up a lot of your time. Remember when you did those cold wax stripes? When you applied them around your bikini area? You had to give yourself a pep-talk and take a long breathe before pulling it off, give a prayer or two. Sometimes you had to give it a second try since you could not pull it off right the first time. Pain is a huge obstacle. There is no certainty you will be able to sustain the pain induced by the at-home laser hair removal device, which will make the procedure longer and add minutes to each sessions.
4. How much of a commitment is it?
When you purchase a laser hair removal treatment at a clinic or spa, you know that you will have to come in for at least six sessions. Each session will be spaced out six weeks. Depending on the size of the area or the number of areas, a session will take more or less time. You will come in, remove your clothes, get in the table, the laser hair removal session will start. Overall, your appointment will be over pretty fast and you’ll be out in no time. Your next session will not be before six weeks, leaving you with some freedom.
Do you know why you need to wait six weeks between each session? Because diode lasers use an intensity that is rather high and catch a lot of hair at once, damaging enough hair follicle. Then, the skin will rest for six weeks. At-home laser hair removal devices use intense pulsed light. Thus, they will have a much lower intensity. Thus, the device will not be able to provide the same results nor catch as many hair follicle. Which is why you will need bi-weekly sessions.
5. Is at-home laser hair removal safe?
Each laser hair removal machine has its own wavelength. Thus, some machines will be more suitable to particular skin complexions and hair colors. For example, 750-900 nm is suitable for pale to medium skin tones while a wavelength over 1000 nm works great for darker skin tones. While the first wavelength will be used on blonde hair, the second will be used on women of color.
Professional laser hair removal machine can adjust the intensity of the laser used so that it is safe for each skin tone. Such is the case of Nd:YAG laser, which we use at Infinity Laser Spa. However, at-home laser hair removal devices do not have the ability to adjust light intensity and wavelength. Manufacturers may claim that those devices are suitable for all skin types but it is not try. They work on specific complexions and often are not safe for dark skins. Not only will IPL devices not be safe on dark skins but they will likely not work.
At-home laser hair removal devices are not as sophisticated as professional laser hair removal machines. Using such devices on dark skins increase the risk of burning and scaring. Plus, they are very dangerous when used on sensitive areas of your body, like the bikini or the face. Holding a laser that close to the eyes is very risky and may incur irreversible damages. To ensure total safety during laser hair removal, better let a professional do it.
6. Is it painful?
We’ve already covered the fact that pain during the procedure at home may increase the length of a session and the time you need to get through the targeted area. The main reason why you switched to laser hair removal in the first place is because it is less painful that other hair removal methods, such as waxing.
However, there are difference type of lasers with different wavelengths. Diode lasers are less painful than IPL devices. To read more about the difference click here.
At-home laser hair removal seems more affordable than professional laser hair removal. However, the results will not be as good due to reduced accuracy and efficiency. Furthermore, finding the right at-home device takes time. Choose professional laser hair removal for efficient and fast results. Make sure that your dermatologist or laser technician uses right the machine for your complexion. To know how to choose the right laser hair removal specialist, click here.