Summary: These days, unless it’s living on the top of your head, hair is a pretty unwelcome, if natural, part of your body. Sure, no one’s going to argue that everybody grows hair—but it’s relatively uncommon to actually want that hair. These days, the trendy look is a smooth look. The problem with that, as it has always been, is that a smooth look isn’t always what you would call easy to accomplish. Your choices basically come down to shaving and waxing. As more and more men look for a hairless body and more and more women tire of shaving and waxing, a new option has become popular everywhere, even in Los Angeles laser hair removal.

What to do With Your Hair

There was a time when hair was sexy—that little poof of hair that escaped the button-up shirt was a big thing in the 1970s and into the 1980s. And while we may revisit the fashion of those eras, we haven’t gotten to the point where we want to re-run the big hair of past decades. This is a good thing. In fact, most trends have actually gone in the opposite direction in terms of hair. These days, the less hair you have, the sleeker and sexier your overall look will be. But getting that hairless look can be trying, especially depending on where you want to be smooth. For example, for men who want a smooth and hairless chest, shaving with a razor can be highly problematic—especially when that hair decides to grow back.

In order to circumvent the complications that arise from shaving, many women decide to wax. For the uninitiated, waxing involves applying a solution of hot, sticky wax (not dissimilar from the melted wax you might see dripping from a candle) to the skin. The wax sticks to the hairs and an adhesive is then used to remove the wax along with all of hair that the wax was touching. The hair is literally torn out of the tissue. It’s usually a painful and time consuming process. It’s also (unfairly, we might argue) a gendered process, and so many men will avoid waxing despite the fact that it results in a smother surface for a longer period of time. (It’s quite possible that the femininity of the waxing processes is used as a smoke screen so that men who want to be hairless do not have to deal with the pain involved and also don’t have to admit that as behind their reasoning.)

When Shaving and Waxing Don’t Work, Try Lasers

When shaving and waxing aren’t viable options to control hair growth, it might be time to take a look at what is a growing sub-field within the medical spa industry. A popular alternative to both shaving and waxing is a procedure known as laser hair removal, though it might go by any number of other, trendier names out there, but they’re all the same basic procedure. Rather than directly removing the hair, which can be quite painful, laser hair removal systems use energy to, basically, penetrate the skin and damage the hair follicle. They damage an area of the follicle known as the follicle “bulge,” which his basically the growth center of the hair. This damage prevents the hair from continuing to grow.

Of course, as with any technology that, somehow, miraculously, performs procedures with no pain or no discomfort, there are some drawbacks. Laser hair removal works, in part, by targeting the melanin in the hair itself Melanin is also present in your skin (it’s what controls pigment). Because of this, these laser procedures tend to work best on darker hair that’s growing on lighter skin. That doesn’t mean that, if you have lighter hair you’re completely out of luck—it just means that the situation probably won’t produce optimum results. At least not right away.

The Ups and Downs of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal treatments generally take several session to achieve the best results. This is because hair does not grow simultaneously. In fact, your body hair tends to grow in phases (and most people’s hair grows in roughly four different phases). This means that most people can achieve great results in only about four treatments, but sometimes it does indeed take a little bit longer, especially if the hair is lighter in pigment.That doesn’t mean you’ll need to wait months to see results, of course. Often, hair growth can be retarded after the first treatment.

At the end of the day, many people are simply looking for a way to get smoother legs, a smoother chest, or smoother bikini lines. It seems to have been going this way for a while (as an aside, the idea of women shaving their legs is relatively novel. During World War II, with all the men overseas, razor companies needed a new audience, and they marketed smooth legs to women. The nylon rationing helped shaving look like a great alternative—and now smooth legs are what’s considered “normal” today). But getting rid of hair can take quite a bit of time and energy—or money. Laser hair removal isn’t necessarily inexpensive, depending on the size of the area and the number of treatments it takes to clear out the hair. But it has the advantage of being essentially permanent. This means you won’t have to buy razors (or wax) week after week.

To be fair, laser hair removal isn’t going to be for everyone. But those who it really works for generally rave about the results. If nothing else, it’s yet another option in our quest to finally get rid of hair.

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