Shaving your legs is never enjoyable. It’s a chore that never goes away. In fact, it is estimated that women spend an average of 72 days of their life shaving. That’s 2 months of our lives dedicated to what is also apparently our most hated beauty task! Even worse, over the course of our lives, it is estimated we spend $10,000 on shaving-related products! But rest assured, there is a much better long-term, even permanent solution, and you can do it in your own home! The answer is laser hair removal, and contrary to popular belief, it is no longer limited to expensive salon appointments.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Which Hair Removal Machine Is Right For You?
- 2 At Home Laser Hair Removal Products
- 3 Philips Lumea BRI956 Prestige
- 4 Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert IPL 5001
- 5 DEESS Hair Removal System Series 3
- 6 Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X
- 7 Remington iLIGHT Ultra Face & Body Pro Hair Removal System
- 8 Illuminage Touch Device
- 9 Silk’n Infinity
- 10 How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost At A Clinic?
- 11 Why At Home Laser Hair Removal Is So Popular
- 12 How Does Laser Hair Removal Work To Stop Hair Growth?
- 13 Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?
- 14 Laser Hair Removal vs IPL
- 15 How To Prepare For Treatments
- 16 Aftercare
- 17 Benefits Of Laser And IPL Hair Removal At Home
- 18 Conclusion
Which Hair Removal Machine Is Right For You?
Laser hair removal is not a one-size-fits-all. You are probably already aware that you will see the best results if you have pale skin and dark hair – we’ll talk about why later – but if this isn’t your colouring, don’t give up. There are laser and IPL hair removal machines for every skin tone, you just need to find the one that suits you best. So how do you know if it will work for you?
Clinicians often use the Fitzpatrick Scale to classify skin color. This puts skin tones into 6 categories, based on how much pigment (known as melanin) is present in the skin. If you have pale skin, you will be given a score of I (1), while if you have very dark skin, which contains much more melanin, you have a score of VI (6). Paler skin absorbs less light than dark skin does; therefore more light is available to be absorbed by hairs, damaging them to prevent regrowth.
You already know that people with dark hair see the best results, but with the right laser or IPL device, you can still treat your light hair. The Illuminage Touch works very well for blonde and red hair.
At Home Laser Hair Removal Products
Here is our list of some of the leading at-home laser hair removal laser and IPL products which we have compiled and reviewed to help you decide which product is best for you:
- 5 Intensity Levels
- 250,000 Flash Capacity
- Mains Powered & Battery Powered
- 2 Year warranty
Skin Tone Coverage 1-5
Hair Color coverage: dark blonde, light brown, medium brown, dark brown and black hair
- 2 modes with variable intensity levels
- 300,000 Flash Capacity
- Mains Powered
- 1 Year Warranty
Skin Tone Coverage 1-5
Hair Color Coverage: Natural blonde, medium brown, dark brown, black
- 5 Intensity Levels
- 350,000 Flashes
- Mains Powered
- Warranty Unspecified
Skin Tone Coverage 1-5
Hair Color coverage: light brown, medium brown, dark brown and black hair
- 5 Intensity Levels
- 30 Minutes Battery Life
- 1 Year Warranty
Skin Tone Coverage 1-4
Hair Color Coverage: Light brown, medium brown, dark brown, black
- 5 Intensity Levels
- 65,000 Flash Capacity
- Mains Powered
- 2 Year Warranty
Skin Tone Coverage 1-4
Hair Color Coverage: Light brown, medium brown, dark brown, black (light blonde & red - less effective)
- 3 Intensity Levels
- 120,000 Flash Capacity
- Mains Powered
- 1 Year Warranty
Skin Tone Coverage 1-6
Hair Color Coverage: Blonde, dark blonde, red, light brown, medium brown, dark brown & black
If you need more information about permanent hair removal before looking at our reviews, we included a buyer’s guide which will help you make a decision.
Philips Lumea BRI956 Prestige
The Philips Lumea BRI1956 Prestige is an award-winning IPL machine. In fact, it is Philips’ most powerful IPL device yet. It has 4 distinctively curved, intelligent attachments that are designed to work with the contours of your body and the skin tone sensor advises the optimum setting for your skin tone, helping you to achieve the best results.
With this device, you can see as much as 92% hair reduction, after just 3 treatments! It is suitable for a wide range of skin tones and hair colors, working easily, effectively and, most importantly, safely.
Philips recognise that the hairs and curves vary a huge amount across your body. With that in mind, they have developed this intelligent system that delivers personalised treatments to different areas.
In this set, you get 4 intelligent attachments. These are all hair removal heads designed to be used on different areas of your body – one each for your face, body, underarms and bikini area. The attachments are:
- Body Attachment – convex shape with 4.1 cm² window
- Face attachment – flat with a 2 cm² window with an extra filter
- Under arm attachment – concave shape with 3 cm² window
- Bikini attachment – concave shape with 3 cm² window and an extra filter
Each head is designed to suit that particular part of your body, with different combinations of shape, window size and even filter. Your choice of head also decides the tailored programme for that part of your body, meaning that you get the optimum treatment in each area. This combination of optimum shape and personalised treatment setting ensures you get safe but effective treatments in even the sensitive areas. It also means that it is a very hygienic choice of IPL machine, because you won’t have to use the same head for your face as your bikini line, for example. You also get a free local country travel adapter in this set, and the device is able to be used anywhere in the world.
The Philips Lumea BRI956 Prestige is suitable for use on a wide range of hair colours and skin tones. It can be used on skin tones I to V of the Fitzpatrick Scale and it works on naturally dark blonde, brown and black hair. It is unlikely to work on white, grey, light blonde or red hair.
Ease Of Use
The Lumea Prestige has an easy-to-use control panel which is located on the top of the device head. You can choose between the five different intensity levels, but there is also a built-in skin tone sensor – the SmartSkin sensor give you the correct setting.
The integrated UV filter protects your skin from UV light, giving you that extra level of confidence.
There are two different flash modes, “stamp and flash” and “slide and flash”. “Slide and flash” is for quick applications on areas where you are moving around a lot, for example, your legs. “Stamp and flash” mode, on the other hand, is for smaller areas such as your underarm. This choice of modes gives you a lot more control over the treatment you are getting each time.
You can use the Philips Lumea Prestige both plugged in and cordless. This is a great feature because it gives you the freedom of using it anywhere, but you don’t need to wait for it to charge up in between or in the middle of treatments – if it runs out of power part way through a treatment session you can just plug it in and keep going! You can, therefore, always have a constant power output, meaning your treatment quality is not compromised.
The high-quality lamp delivers over 250,000 flashes, meaning it is unlikely you will run out! That means you don’t need to worry about buying replacement parts, so there are no hidden costs! There is even an integrated safety system to prevent accidental flashes – meaning you don’t waste any. It works 40% faster so you can benefit from shorter treatment times.
Overall, we think this is a great IPL hair removal device. It is a versatile system that is designed to work with the natural contours of your body to get the best results. We love the thought that has been put into ensuring that you get both the optimum settings for each area to give you the best results, with the tailored safety too.
Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert IPL 5001
This IPL model is thought to be the fastest hair reduction system available – it can treat your arm in as little as 8 minutes! It also achieves permanent hair reduction in as few as 4 weeks if you follow the treatment plan so you can see progress very quickly. It is suitable for you to use in all over your face and body, and you will find it virtually painless to use.
The developers of this IPL device recognise that skin tone not only varies between different people but also different areas on the same body. Therefore, they gave it a skin tone sensor. This means that as you move it across your skin, it will modify the treatment it gives – much better for you, especially compared to other products which frustratingly just shut off.
You still choose between two intensity settings – normal or gentle, and then the device adapts the treatment within a range to suit your skin, adjusting the energy output between different levels to give the best result for that area of pigment. The skin tone detection happens 80 times a second, and therefore gives you the optimum effectiveness of the device and delivers safe treatment.
This is the first at-home IPL device we have come across to modify the treatment like this.
To help you get the most out of your Braun Silk Expert, there is a free app for you to use alongside it. It contains an easy-to-use treatment calendar to guide you through sessions, plan your regimen and follow your progress. It is a great system and your results are sure to improve if you use the app. It also gives useful information, for example explaining how the adaptive skin sensor works.
The Braun Gillette Venus Silk Expert IPL is highly effective and is suitable for a wide range of users. You can use it if you have a skin tone between I and V on the Fitzpatrick Scale and for any hair colours ranging from natural blonde to black. Ladies, you can use it on your face from your cheekbones down and your body, and gentlemen you can use it on your body.
This is a great IPL device. You will feel little to no pain when using it and can see great results. It can give you noticeable hair reduction very quickly.
The instructions do not mention the need to wear safety glasses when operating the IPL device, but we always recommend investing in a pair and using them throughout every treatment session. This is because the glare from the flashes is very bright and may cause you some discomfort.
DEESS Hair Removal System Series 3
The DEESS Series 3 is an FDA-cleared, professional, intense pulsed light device. It can give you close to spa-level results from treating yourself at home with this smaller and lighter-weight unit. It is available in 7 different packages, and there is also a Fitzpatrick Skin Tone analyzer that you can buy separately if you want to confirm your skin tone level.
What Is Included?
The standard package includes the multifunctional device. It has a huge 350,00 flashes per lamp and has a 3-year lifespan. It is thought that the 350,000 flashes are enough to treat 7 to 8 people for permanent hair reduction, so you probably won’t need to get a replacement lamp, but if you do, then they are available to buy separately. The device is mains-powered, so you are slightly more limited in movement than with other models, but this means consistent power and no time wasted waiting around for it to charge!
The device doesn’t require cooling gel and the set includes goggles to protect your eyes. The light is UV-filtered so that it is safe for your skin, with a wavelength of between 510 and 1100nm. It has a 3.1 cm² spot size with a quartz tube. You can select between 5 energy levels. The lamp has a fast flash, with 20 to 25 flashes per minute, meaning it can take just 8 minutes to treat a leg or an arm!
The unit has a simple, minimalistic design. It has just one button to power it on and off, adjust the energy level and to click for flashing. It is a smooth, ergonomic design and the indicator on the top shows you which intensity level is selected.
If the IPL hair removal isn’t enough for you, then you can go for a 2-in-1 or even 3-in-1 option of IPL pack. Depending on which you go for, these come with an extra lamp head or two – one is for treating acne while the other is for skin rejuvenation. Alternatively, if you go for the standard single-lamp pack and you change your mind, you are also able to buy the attachments separately.
With this system, the manufacturers say you can expect a 90% reduction in hairs within 3 months from a 6 to 12 week plan. After this, you will still need the occasional maintenance session to top it up every now and again. The suggested 12-week plan is 1 treatment per week, repeating 2 to 3 times then continued monthly treatments, or as and when required.
The DEESS Series 3 is suitable for skin tones I through to V on the Fitzpatrick scale, so it has a pretty wide coverage, but it isn’t suitable for all hair colours. It is not suitable for white, grey, red or blonde hair.
DEESS has over 17 years of experience in supplying equipment to salons and clinics in more than 120 different countries, and now that technology is here for you to use at home!
Overall, we like this simple design of this IPL device. While it is simple, it packs a punch in the number of flashes and the coverage it is capable of in a short space of time. We also like that it is multifunctional and that you can buy different heads for it if you want to utilize IPL for different types of treatments, such as skin rejuvenation.
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X
The Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X is the first FDA-cleared laser kit which was made available for home use. It uses the same diode laser technology to focus on hair follicles that dermatologists use, damaging them, so that hair regrowth is slowed and even prevented permanently. It was designed to produce professional, permanent results and can be used on the face and body. It is backed by dermatologists who have used it and rate it for the technology, quality and effectiveness.
It comes in 2 different color options – green and white or fuchsia and white, and is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which is included in the package. It features a comfortable grip handle. Unlike professional salons who recommend leaving between 4 and 12 weeks in between treatment sessions, the manufacturers of the Tria Laser 4X recommend repeating treatments every 2 weeks until you achieve your desired result.
The Tria 4x features an interactive display which you can use to help you through each treatment safely and successfully. This displays the following features:
- A pulse counter to aid the accuracy of your treatment coverage.
- A treatment level indicator so you can choose your intensity level.
- A battery life indicator to let you know when it needs charging.
- A skin sensor indicator which lets you know when it is ready to be used.
- A safety lock which unlocks when the skin sensor is ready.
Who Can Use It?
The Tria Laser 4X can be used by women on most areas of the face and body, including the bikini line, but not on the scalp or genitals. Men should not use it for facial hair, but it can be used in most other areas. It is important to be aware of how your hair and skin color will affect its effectiveness. Not all skin and hair types are suitable for using this product. Unfortunately, it will not be as effective against blonde, red or grey hair.
Darker, courser hair against fair skin will get the most noticeable results. Similarly, it should not be used on large freckles, birthmarks, moles or tattoos as these areas will absorb too much of the light from the laser which could potentially result in skin burns. Be sure to check your skin tone is suitable for this device, as the skin sensor will prevent you from unlocking the device if it is not deemed to be safe.
The Tria Laser 4X is intended only for use in adults as tests have not been completed for users under the age of 18. It is designed for personal use, so it is also not recommended to share the product with others due to hygiene risks, particularly when it is used for treating the bikini line.
It is a fantastic laser hair removal device that is extremely effective at getting rid of your unwanted hairs. It is the first device to offer at-home laser hair removal, boasting professional-quality technology, alongside its Precision counterpart. While this means you may experience some more discomfort when you use it, you are sure to see fantastic results, quickly. This is a great benefit for anyone, but specifically for those who have hirsutism from PCOS.
You will find areas of denser hair will naturally take longer to achieve the optimal results, but keep going with it; you will be silky smooth in no time. We think you will be thrilled with the results from this laser device.
Remington iLIGHT Ultra Face & Body Pro Hair Removal System
The Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System is an FDA-cleared system which uses the same technology as that used by professionals. It uses a quartz lamp that is safe to use on the (female) face and body (male and female) and using it can result in permanent reduction of hair growth by up to 94%, even after as few as 3 treatments!
The kit comes with 2 different treatment caps, one for use on the body and one for use on the face. This is a key feature as it helps keep the device hygienic when being used in different areas, as well as improve comfort. The system has a skin contact sensor which prevents it from flashing when it is not against suitable skin.
The fast flash rate means it is very quick to use. The flash window is 50% larger and when using the body cap, there are just 3 seconds between flashes, while there are 4 seconds between flashes for the face cap.
To aid use of the Remington iLight Ultra System, developers have also created an app which is available in the iTunes store and Google Play. This app is designed to maximise the results that can be achieved when using the iLight System by enabling users to track and manage treatments. Potential buyers can download the app as well, to establish whether their skin tone is the correct color for successful treatment.
The system comes with one treatment cartridge, which is capable of 65,000 flashes, with no bearing on which energy level has been used. Once the cartridge has reached 90% capacity, a warning light will illuminate on the display screen, indicating that the cartridge will soon need replacing.
We love how this kit works alongside an app, so you can monitor your progress and get the most out of your session. Also, while this is less portable than other kits we have reviewed, by being mains-powered you will get a consistent output throughout your treatments.
Plan to put in more time if you have blonde or red hair – it is less effective on hair with less pigment in, so expect to wait longer before you see results. Overall, we think this is a great product which is easy to use, effective and looks great on your shelf!
Illuminage Touch Device
This is the first at-home hair removal device to combine IPL with radio frequency (RF) waves. The result is effective and long-term hair reduction and removal for all skin tones and the widest range of hair colors. It is a patented technology that results in safe and effective hair removal, without pain!
The suggested treatment plan for you is weekly sessions for 7 weeks, and then the occasional maintenance treatment if they are required.
The initial quartz cartridge that you will first receive with the device will last for about 120,000 flashes, which is plenty. If you want to buy another cartridge though you can, as well as cartridges for epilating shaving or a precision head for treating hard-to-reach areas with IPL.
Unlike some IPL and laser devices, the Illuminage Touch is mains-powered. This means you don’t have to wait for the battery to charge before you start a treatment session, saving you time. It also means it has a consistent output throughout your treatment, giving you the best result.
You will also find that treatment sessions are quicker with this device, as you can continually move it across your skin, not having to pause for each flash, again saving you time but delivering excellent hair reduction.
No matter what skin tone you have, this device is right for you. The complementing dual-energy technology means that this is the only FDA-cleared IPL device that is highly effective on all skin tones. The device has also been clinically proven to be effective on the widest range of hair colours – even blonde and red hair which is notoriously tricky to treat with light! Even better, it is not painful to use!
You are sure to be thrilled with this dual-energy IPL device. If you don’t notice it straight away, don’t lose hope – just keep going, some hair colour and skin tone combinations take a little longer, and it’s worth the wait!
The product is easy to use and hassle-free, and you will love how quick the treatment times are.
The Silk’n Infinity is a small, high-speed home pulsed light (HPL) device. It combines HPL with galvanic energy to give you deeper-reaching light and faster treatment times. It is one of the fastest hair removal options in the Silk’n product line, and not only that but it is also painless and shouldn’t cause you irritation. It is fast, convenient, and can give you as much as a 92% reduction in your hair growth, for a range of different hair colours and skin tones!
The new technology helps you to achieve a full-body treatment in less than 20 minutes! Not only, that, but it can help you accomplish long-term hair removal using a fraction of the energy level that other devices require. The device gives you a lifetime of pulses – that means there is no need to purchase refill cartridges!
The combination of optical, HPL technology with galvanic energy gives you hair removal that is twice as fast as other hair removal technologies, and beautifully smooth and supple skin after.
Just like other hair removal devices, the Silk’n Infinity uses a quartz lamp to deliver the optical pulses of light to your skin, which is transferred and absorbed by your hairs to destroy the follicle. The galvanic energy on the other hand, enhances your circulation and opens your pores to allow the light energy to reach deeper into your skin, affecting the hairs at a deeper level. It also means that if you apply a soothing lotion after your hair treatment, that it will be better absorbed by your skin, leaving it smooth and supple. This impressive combination means that you are getting a powerful treatment that will even destroy deep-rooted, coarse and stubborn hairs.
The Silk’n Infinity is suitable for skin tones I through to V on the Fitzpatrick scale, with different energies recommended for each. Just like many other IPL devices, it is not suitable for types VI skin tones. It will work on a wide range of hair colors, but white, grey or blonde hairs will unfortunately not usually respond. Lighter brown hair may take more treatment sessions, but darker brown and black hair against fair skin will see the best results.
Ease Of Use
Just like many other IPL and laser hair removal devices, don’t wax, pluck or use depilatory creams in the two-week run up to your treatment sessions. Instead, it is better to have clean, newly shaved skin.
It is very simple to use this IPL device, simply set it to the lowest energy setting to start off with and you are ready to go. We recommend you stick to the energy level that the manufacturers advise for your skin tone to prevent injuries. If you aren’t sure however, there is the safety back-up of the built-in skin tone sensor which will only enable you to use it on suitable skin tones.
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost At A Clinic?
Laser hair removal is offered by many dermatology clinics, spas and salons, but it is not cheap. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that the average cost of laser hair removal is $306 per session just to cover the surgeon/physician cost. The price, of course, will increase when treating a larger area. Unfortunately, as laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure, it is usually not covered by insurance.
Can You Get Salon Results At Home Instead?
Yes, at home laser hair removal gives you the freedom to treat yourself in the comfort of your own home. The devices and systems have been created so that you can give yourself safe, effective hair reduction treatments at a fraction of the cost that doctors charge. They use the same technology as the doctors and clinics do, but are developed specifically so they can be used safely by untrained users in their home.
Why At Home Laser Hair Removal Is So Popular
Hair removal has been a hot topic for a number of years. While other hair removal methods are effective, most have annoying side effects and require a considerable amount of time over the course of a lifetime. Shaving lasts for only a few days and can result in razor burn and irritation, while waxing is not only expensive, but you also have to wait for the hair to grow out between sessions. Plus, the added inconvenience and pain of ingrown hairs and bruising can mean you want to cover up anyway.
Laser hair removal is getting more popular because of its long-term and even permanent results which are evident from just a few sessions. Now, you can even do laser hair removal from the comfort of your own home, getting professional results at a fraction of the cost. If you are considering getting laser hair removal, read on to find out more about it.
How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Take?
The time taken for each treatment session depends on the area being treated. For example, treating the underarms or bikini line will be much quicker than treating the legs. More than one hair will be targeted with each flash of the laser, unlike other hair removal treatments like electrolysis, so a single session should not take more than an hour unless you are having more than one area done in a single session.
How Many Sessions Of Laser Hair Removal Are Required?
Laser hair removal can be extremely effective, with most patients reporting permanent hair loss of the treated areas after only 3 – 7 treatments. According to ASAPS, clients can expect to require between 1 and 10 sessions with an average of 6 being necessary for a satisfactory result. This will be dependent also on the hair type. You may need an occasional top up after that, but it is unlikely that your hair growth will ever return to its original thickness and density.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work To Stop Hair Growth?
A focused beam of light is aimed at the hair. The pigment of the hair absorbs this light energy, which transfers as heat energy, causing damage to the hair follicle. This results in the destruction of the hair at the root which prevents or at least slows its regrowth.
As the laser flashes, its transfers light energy to the hairs. The hairs contain a pigment called melanin. Darker hairs contain more melanin and the more melanin that the hairs contain, the more light energy they will absorb. As they absorb the light, this energy becomes heat energy, which burns the hair, damaging it. It is this burning which deactivates the hair. However, because of their growth cycle, the hairs will not always be as responsive to the laser due to the amount of melanin they contain changing.
Cycles Of Hair Growth
Hair originates from follicles, which are effectively the root, which sit in the dermis layer of skin. They do not grow continually but instead in a three-part growth cycle. Each hair you have will be at a slightly different stage of this cycle.
The cycle length differs for different people, so while hair removal methods may last a month for one person, a second person may find it lasts only a week or two. This can also be affected by hormonal fluctuations such as those due to pregnancy.
The three stages of the hair growth cycle are known as the anagen, catagen and telogen phases. It is during the anagen phase when the hair is actively growing from the follicle. The second stage is the shorter catagen phase, which is when the follicle shrinks rapidly and the hair stops growing. Finally, the telogen phase is the resting phase, when a new follicle begins to grow and will form around the old one. The new follicle will expand downwards, weakening the anchoring point of the hair which will be easier to remove.
Body hair remains in the telogen phase much longer than scalp hair, so it spends much more of the cycle without the nutrient-providing blood supply. It also has a much shorter anagen (growth) phase. These reasons combined mean that body hair reaches a much shorter maximum length that scalp hair.
When Does Laser Hair Removal Work Best?
Laser hair removal works best on hair which is in the anagen phase as this is when the hair contains the most pigment, known as melanin. More pigment means that more light energy is absorbed and therefore the follicle will be heated to a higher temperature by this energy which will impair the growth. This is supported by many studies, including one by Eremia et al. in 2001 which found that best results from laser hair removal were demonstrated in individuals who had untanned, fairer skin.
Over time, the hairs in the impaired follicles will fall out. With every hair being at a slightly different stage of the cycle, multiple treatments will be required to catch all the follicles in the anagen phase.
Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?
As the laser is moved over the body its light energy is absorbed by the hairs because they are areas of higher pigment. For this reason, laser hair removal should not be used on moles, tattoos or birthmarks as they too are areas of higher pigment. Laser hair removal is therefore safe when used correctly because it will not target anything but the hairs.
Does Laser Hair Removal Cause Cancer?
You may be concerned about radiation and its effects. There are many different forms of radiation, which are demonstrated on the electromagnetic spectrum. Radiation used in medical imaging uses ionizing radiation, for example, gamma waves and x-rays. Ultraviolet light from the sun is also ionizing radiation. Ionising radiation has enough energy to be able to break the bonds between (ionize) molecules, which can mean DNA in cells can be affected.
However not all radiation has enough energy to be able to do this. Non-ionising radiation has similar properties to ionizing radiation but does not have sufficient energy to break the bonds in the molecules. The radiation used in laser hair removal is a form of non-ionising radiation, so it will not cause molecules to break or cells to mutate. Laser hair removal, therefore, has not been found to cause cancer.
However, an important feature of the laser or IPL hair removal device that you choose is a UV filter. This removes the potentially harmful UV rays from the beam of light that targets your hair, to prevent unnecessary damage to your skin. Laser or IPL hair removal devices which do not have this feature should be avoided.
What Are The Risks Of Laser Hair Removal?
While the radiation used in laser hair removal has not been found to cause cancer, it still needs to be used with care. The main risk is that the heat transferred can cause burns if it is not used appropriately. This is of particular concern on areas of the body such as freckles, moles and tattoos. Such areas have a greater amount of pigment than other skin and therefore can heat up causing painful burns.
If you have melanoma, epilepsy, herpes, keloid scarring, skin trauma, lupus, scleroderma, vitiligo or have recently used medications such as Accutane or tetracycline, then we recommend conducting more research and if required, seeking medical advice before commencing laser hair removal.
Due to the lack of information on the effects on the fetus, we do not recommend using laser hair removal while pregnant. You can use it once you have had the baby and are not breastfeeding.
What Are The Side Effects Of Laser & IPL?
Skin irritation is a common side effect, which may manifest as itching, discomfort, tingling, redness and swelling. These are considered normal and typically only last a few hours though as with other hair removal methods. Occasionally the pigment in the treated area may change. It may get darker or lighter, but this is usually only temporary.
Rarer side effects include blistering, crusting or scarring. The hair may turn grey or in some very rare cases may cause hair growth to increase. It is important to keep the area clean before and after treatment to prevent infection, which is also a rare but possible side effect.
Laser Hair Removal vs IPL
IPL, which stands for Intense Pulsed Light, is another form of hair removal very similar to laser hair removal. The principle for both treatments is the same and is based on using targeted light energy which is absorbed by the hair follicles, damaging them, so that it eventually prevents hair regrowth. IPL therapy, however, does not use lasers. It instead uses a broad spectrum of light wavelengths that cannot be focussed like a laser can.
IPL does not penetrate the skin as deep as lasers can, which may result in more heating of the surrounding skin. By being less focussed, IPL takes longer to affect hair growth. However, it is a cheaper alternative.
There is also VPL hair removal, which stands for Variable Pulsed Light. Like IPL this uses a broad spectrum of light rather than lasers, but the settings can be changed so that different types of hair can be targeted. It has been argued that because VPL hair removal is more precise in the targeting of hairs, it gets better results. However, because it is less targeted down into the hair follicles, you will likely need to have more treatments for effect than laser hair removal.
How To Prepare For Treatments
If you have been taking any antibiotic treatments, delay your laser hair removal session until two weeks after you take your final dose.
You May Shave
Unlike when you have waxing or threading, you do not need to have surface hair for the laser treatment to work. In fact, shaving within 12 hours before your laser treatment is recommended as it will prevent the hair from being singed on the surface by the laser.
Do Not Wax Or Thread
However, it is important also to not wax or thread the area in the month running up to your laser removal as this will disrupt the stage of natural hair growth and therefore significantly reduce how effective the laser treatment is.
Clean The Skin
Make sure that there are no cosmetics, deodorants, creams or other beauty products on the skin. Make sure that in the weeks running up to your treatment that your skin is sufficiently moisturized though.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes
You want to choose items of clothing to enable you to expose the treatment area comfortably and easily. You will also want to minimise any irritation to the area after the session, so skinny jeans aren’t a good idea if you are having your bikini line or legs lasered.
Protect Your Skin
Ensure that you are using sun protection liberally in the weeks running up to and after your treatment, even when you are just stuck in the office. Do not use sunbeds or even use fake tan, and stay out in direct sun in the weeks running up to and after your laser hair removal. This will dry out your skin, and make you more prone to burning. Tanned skin will also mean that the laser hair removal is less effective as darker skin will absorb more of the energy from the laser.
Once Again, Do Not Wax
By waxing or threading after your treatment, you may disrupt the follicle and impede the damage that the laser has done to the follicle. This could mean that you cause regrowth in areas that it may not otherwise begin in.
Use Sun Protection
You need to avoid direct sunlight and tanning booths for 2-4 weeks after treatment. You can apply sunblock but make sure it has a high SPF rating. Skin that has been treated will be more sensitive to the sun than normal, so use a higher SPF than you usually would.
Avoid Hot Baths And Showers
For at least 48 hours after your treatment, avoid showering or bathing in hot water as this can irritate the skin. Similarly, don’t use the gym or saunas at this time.
Avoid Use Of Makeup and Deodorants
If you have had your underarms or face treated, avoid using deodorants and makeup. Mineral-based products may be used if absolutely necessary but if irritation develops, remove it and moisturize with vitamin E to soothe the skin.
Do Not Scratch
It is normal for the skin to feel a bit itchy, but do not scratch it as the skin will be more delicate and more likely to scar if it is broken.
After any redness has subsided, you can gently exfoliate the area. However, it is important not to do this too soon. Usually, you will need to wait at least 1-2 weeks following treatment.
Space Treatments Out
To give the skin a chance to recover, make sure that you leave between 4 and 12 weeks in between laser hair removal session, unless your instruction manual recommends otherwise. Remember though that over-treating your skin can damage it.
Benefits Of Laser And IPL Hair Removal At Home
Laser hair removal targets dark hairs without damaging the surrounding skin. The nature of lasers means that it can be focussed in small areas or cover a larger area depending on how it is used. IPL hair removal is not quite as precise as the light cannot be focussed down into the pore, like a laser can. However, it still targets areas of high pigment such as dark hairs against fair skin, so while it is not as precise, IPL is still very effective.
Laser hair removal is extremely effective with most patients achieving permanent hair loss with between 3 and 7 sessions. It is important to remember however that different types of hair are affected differently. Fairer hair will likely take more sessions as it will take longer to absorb the light and therefore require more energy to damage the follicle. The advantage of owning your own device is you can do it as many times as you want, without paying for more appointments.
Each pulse of the laser will target multiple hairs in a fraction of a second. It means that large areas like the legs can even be completed in only an hour. Plus think of the time you will save when you no longer need to shave regularly or sit through wax appointments.
Cost-Effective Over Time
Using your own laser hair removal device is far more cost effective than paying for multiple salon appointments. You will no longer have to spend money on regular waxing or razors/depilatory creams. Over the course of your life, you will save a huge amount of money by not buying these items anymore.
No More Ingrown Hairs
This hair removal method is a good choice for people who suffer from ingrown hairs, as well as those who have sensitive skin prone to irritation from waxing or razor burns.
No Grow-Out Times
While with waxing and threading you need to wait until the hair is a decent length for effective removal, with laser or IPL hair removal, you can shave as often as you like between treatments.
The important thing to remember when buying an at home laser or IPL hair removal system is that everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another.
While you may be able to achieve permanent hair removal, often you will need to have top-up treatments to maintain it. It is also important to understand what skin and hair type you have, and grasp which product is best for you and the areas that you wish to treat.
While the initial cost of an at-home laser/IPL hair removal device may be high, long term it works out much cheaper and saves lots of time!