Summary: Despite laser hair removal’s consistent popularity as one of the most frequently performed nonsurgical cosmetic procedures for both men and women in the United States, there are still plenty of persistent myths surrounding this treatment. Here’s a little reality to shed some light on the situation.
Myth #1: Laser Hair Removal Is Too Painful
Urban legend would have you believe that laser hair removal is nothing short of agony on par with a medieval torture device, but that’s a pretty melodramatic interpretation of the actual experience of undergoing LHR. Most men and women equate a laser hair removal session to the same sensation that you might feel if someone snapped a rubber band against your skin. Not your favorite activity, but a far cry from the Spanish Inquisition.
Everyone has a different tolerance level, though, so if you know that you have more sensitive skin, mention that fact to your laser technician before beginning treatment. There are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that you feel as comfortable as possible during your session, from topical numbing creams to cooling the skin’s surface during treatment.
Myth #2: LHR Won’t Work on Dark Skin
The myth that laser hair removal never works on dark skin is actually based on some fact. The way lasers work is by targeting the pigment in the hair. When patients have dark hair against light skin, laser energy easily finds and targets the darker hair follicle. In men and women with dark hair against dark skin, however, the skin’s pigmentation could absorb the laser energy instead of the hair, leading to skin tone irregularities or even surface burns.
When the proper wavelength and depth of penetration are used during treatment, though, laser hair removal on dark skin tones is absolutely possible. An experienced laser technician using the latest equipment that’s correctly calibrated can ensure safe yet effective permanent hair reduction for a wide range of skin tones.
Myth #3: My Hair Will Grow Back Thicker
Thinking hair will grow back thicker is a myth that’s common to a number of hair removal treatments, including waxing, shaving and depilatory creams… and it’s also something that doesn’t happen after any of those hair removal procedures.
Despite that disclaimer, there is, however, an extremely rare possibility seen in a small percentage of patients that a condition called “paradoxical hypertrichosis” could develop after LHR. Research indicates that less than one percent of study participants experienced more vigorous hair regrowth after LHR. It’s thought that this occurrence is due to the use of very low intensity lasers that inadvertently stimulate hair growth rather than destroying the follicle. An experienced laser technician will choose a strong enough setting to help you see the results you hope for.
Myth #4: Seeing Results Takes Too Long
“Too long” is a subjective term that’s pretty hard to measure. It’s true that several LHR sessions are necessary to permanently reduce hair regrowth in the treatment area, and these should be spaced a few weeks apart. The reason more than one treatment is necessary is because hair follicles are only permanently impacted by the laser during their growth phase, which occurs at varying intervals for each individual hair. This means a full hair removal treatment could take several weeks to a few months. However, when the payoff means never having to wax or shave before another vacation again, isn’t the time investment well worth the reward?