Permanent Facial Hair Removal: Myth or Reality?
While men are more than used to shaving their beard and moustache, women also have to take care of their facial hair. Indeed, a lot of women have unwanted hair above the upper lip, on the chin and sometimes even on the sideburns. While facial hair removal is not new to anyone, facial laser hair removal raises quite a few questions.
Whether full face, upper lip or chin laser hair removal, facial hair removal is a very popular treatment here at Infinity Laser Spa NYC. While laser hair removal is meant to give you a break from shaving, using wax strips, sugaring or threading, you should know that the first step to achieve permanent facial hair removal actually is… shaving!
We did explore every nook and cranny of why you need to shave prior to your laser hair removal session. Yet, we do understand why you’d have questions about the shaving/laser hair removal combination. After all, would not shaving defeat the purpose of a laser treatment? Is facial hair removal really achievable? And is it a myth or a reality?
Is facial hair removal for men only?
We briefly touched on that above. Men are not the only one removing their facial hair. However they do make ideal candidates for facial hair removal. Indeed, they have a lot of facial hair, which grows even thicker, darker and coarser because of shaving. If they have pale skin and dark hairs, they do make prime candidates for facial laser hair removal.
Note that laser hair removal works on all skin tones, skin types and hair colors. As long as your complexion is your natural skin color and not a tan, laser hair removal will be both safe and very effective for you. Full face laser hair removal is not exclusive to men, and women as well as transgenders people also undergo such treatment.
Just like with removing body hair, there is no one unique reason to remove facial hair. Men, women and transgender people will wish to be rid of hair on their face permanently because of personal preferences, a medical condition, a lifestyle requirement, transitioning, etc. Patients may however remember that the face is a very hormonal area. Therefore, not only can it contribute to unusual or unwanted hair growth, but it can also require more sessions to achieve satisfactory results.
However, the question still remains. Is permanent facial hair removal actually a thing? Is it a myth or reality?
Why choose laser hair removal to remove facial hair?
Laser hair removal is the best method to remove facial hair simply because it is the most hassle-free, affordable and effective method. Yes, you have read well. Laser hair removal ends up being cheaper in the long-run than shaving or waxing. Indeed, you need six to twelve sessions over the course of a year to a year and a half. While you need to shave everyday and wax every month.
Shaving is not a long-term hair growth reduction method. On the contrary, it will stimulate hair growth and make facial hair look thicker, darker and coarser. Waxing seems better but it is inconvenient, time consuming, expensive and can cause ingrown hair outbreaks amongst other side-effects. Let’s not even talk about depilatory creams which damage sensitive skins and are packed with chemicals.
On the other hand, laser hair removal provides a safe, effective, long-lasting, affordable and painless solution to facial hair removal. Yes, because let’s not forget that waxing hurts. Not only is laser hair removal cheaper in the long-run but you will no longer have to worry about hair on your face!
How does facial laser hair removal work?
The principle behind facial laser hair removal is the same as any other laser treatments: selective photothermolysis. The laser will produce a light energy target at the hair. This energy will travel through the hair to the hair follicle where it will turn into thermal energy. There, the energy will damage or even destroy the hair follicle.
When the hair follicles are all damaged beyond repair, they are no longer able to produce any new hair, thus achieving hair growth reduction. What the laser actually does once it reaches the hair follicle is cauterize the blood vessel feeding the follicle. Without fuel, the hair follicle cannot regenerate nor function.
Laser hair removal works only when unwanted hairs are in their active phase of growth, i.e. the anagen phase of growth. Indeed, it is the only time during the hair growth cycle that the hair and the follicle connect, thus allowing the energy to go from the former to the latter. Each hair has a different cycle and growth rate. Unfortunately, only 20% of all your body hairs will be in the anagen phase of growth.
Therefore, the laser will only be able to catch 18% to 20% of your body hair during each session. This explains why you will need to come back for several sessions. First, to give your hair the time to move into the proper stage of growth. Second, to give your skin time to heal (laser does make the skin more vulnerable to UV rays in the few days after the treatment). Third, to target hair follicles that may have regenerated because they were not completely destroyed.
When will my facial hair be gone?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if permanent facial hair removal was like magic? Instantaneous and immediate? It would be, but it is not. Unwanted hair takes time to go away. Time and patience. If you carry on waxing, you will need years and years before you achieve hair growth reduction. You could go for electrolysis but it is painful and a very long process. Laser hair removal remains the most sustainable and fastest option.
Note that laser hair removal, while very effective on dark facial hair, will not work on peach fuzz. Vellus hair is very low pigmented, very thin and barely noticeable. It cannot be removed with laser hair removal. However, should you really wish to remove peach fuzz, you could do a dermaplanning facial.
Laser hair removal has no downtime. This means you may go back to your usual life after your laser treatment. There are however a few recommendations to follow like not exposing yourself to direct sunlight. Laser facial hair removal will require you to come in for a session every six weeks or so.
Each session will treat up to 20% of your unwanted facial hair. Coming back for more sessions will ensure you treat all your hair. A complete treatment can take up to 18 months. You may start to see results after the first or second session. However, you will really have to wait until the end of the treatment to get the best results.
How many sessions will I need?
Since only 20% of your body hair or facial hair will be in the anagen phase of growth at any point in time, one laser session will not be able to treat more than 20% of your hair. Therefore, you will need several sessions. The hair growth cycle is one factor behind the length of the treatment.
Each individual being different, each patient will require a different number of sessions. What works on someone may not work on someone else. Several factors may impact the effectiveness and length of your laser treatment:
- A big hormonal change, i.e. hormone therapy, transitioning, pregnancy.
- Genetics, i.e. how hairy your family is and how coarse the hair is
- Skin tones and hair colors, i.e. even though laser hair removal works on all skin and hair colors, very dark skins and very light hair may need more sessions.
- Regularity of sessions, i.e. if you miss sessions, the treatment will take longer
- Previous hair removal methods used, i.e. waxing contribute to hair growth reduction albeit very slowly but may have already damaged some hair follicles.
Laser hair removal packages at Infinity Laser Spa NYC always come in six sessions. It is the minimum as advised by the industry. However, due to the factors listed above, you may need more sessions. It is also common that patients need a touch-up session a year later. Indeed, hair regrowth may happen if a follicle was not damaged enough or never targeted in the first place.
This is why laser hair removal is considered a long-term hair growth reduction method as opposed to a permanent hair removal method. The face is a naturally hormonal area and may require additional sessions to achieve complete facial hair removal.
How long does each face laser hair removal session last?
Permanent facial hair removal is a fairly quick procedure. The face is not the largest part of the body. Depending on how many facial areas you are doing, a session can take up to 25 minutes. For example, upper lip laser hair removal and chin laser hair removal will not take longer than 10 minutes each. On the other hand, full face laser hair removal will take up to 25 minutes.
Laser facial hair removal sessions are overall fairly quick. It is also a laser treatment that has no downtime and that is very safe. Side-effects are very rare and easily avoidable when the treatment is performed by a trained technician and when the patient follows the aftercare guidelines.
Open communication during the laser session is key to its success and comfort. Should the laser be too hot for you, do not hesitate to tell the technician. There may be redness after the treatment but it will be gone within hours.
Is facial laser hair removal painful?
Facial laser hair removal, or any other laser hair removal treatments, is not painful. Your definition of pain will of course depend on your tolerance to pain and whether you have sensitive skin. However, the sensation will be very tolerable.
You may feel some discomfort during your laser facial hair removal session. The sensations will be those of pinching and heating. You may also compare them to a rubber band snapping at your skin very fast.
However, at Infinity Laser Spa, we use state-of-the-art, FDA board certified laser hair removal machines that will decrease discomfort as they are equipped with a cooling laser technology. We use V-Frost by Vertex Lasers as well as Soprano Ice by Alma Lasers. They are diode lasers
Facial laser hair removal is not permanent per se. Indeed, you may see some hair growth back, especially as you go through some significant lifestyle changes or hormonal imbalance. Yet, a laser treatment will actively contribute to reducing hair growth by up to 90%. When the treatment ends, you will see a big difference between before and after. A lot of patients do however achieve permanent facial hair removal.