Removing hair from legs, underarms, bikini lines and beyond is an age-old challenge…
From as early as Ancient Rome, many women – and even some men – have been dealing with unwanted hair using razors, depilatory creams, tweezers and wax.
But laser hair removal, the most effective method to remove hair to date, has only been around for the last 20-odd years. This month, Oi speaks to two dermatologists from Orient Skincare and Laser Center – Dr. Le Thi Thu Ha and Dr. Chuong Ngoc Hanh – on this cutting edge solution to a hairy problem.
Laser hair removal is said to be the most effective method to remove unwanted hair. How does it compare with plucking, shaving, waxing and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal methods?
Dr. Ha: First of all, compared to traditional hair removal methods, laser hair removal is far superior. Not only is it more effective and lasts longer, laser removal is also better for your skin. If you shave or pluck your hair, it will grow back within a couple of days and if it’s the armpit, then the skin will become dark and wrinkled. You also run the risks of getting skin irritation, ingrown hair, even folliculitis. Waxing on a monthly basis is a little better, but it still has many of the same hygienic risks aside from being less convenient and more costly in the long term compared to laser hair removal.
Second, compared to IPL, laser hair removal is applicable and safer for more people. Technically speaking, IPL has the same level of effectiveness as laser and it is painless. However, due to technological limitations, IPL cannot be used for people with dark complexions. Anyone with skin tone darker than pure alabaster has a chance of getting burned when using IPL. Laser hair removal, on the other hand, does not have the same limitation and can be used safely on people of all skin tones.
Is laser hair removal painful?
Dr. Ha: There is some pain during the procedure yes, but it is nowhere as painful as, say, getting a bikini wax for the first time. You will also grow used to it after a couple of times.
Is laser hair removal really permanent?
Dr. Hanh: Certainly not. Truly permanent hair removal is still impossible. The laser hair removal procedure simply weakens hair follicles underneath your skin in a gradual process. Over time, the hair that grow from these follicles becomes like the hair on your face: so fine and thin it all but becomes invisible to the human eye, but it’s still there.
How many sessions does it take to completely remove hair?
Dr. Hanh: Anywhere from four to eight sessions depending on the individual. We advise repeat sessions every three months to maintain optimum condition of the skin and hair of the treated area.
How long does a session take?
Dr. Ha: Depending on the exact location, a single session can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as one hour.
Before and after laser hair removal treatment, do the patients have to prepare anything?
Dr. Ha: Yes. Within six weeks before laser treatment, they should refrain from waxing as this will interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment. Within three to four weeks before treatment, they should stay out of the sun. Within 24 hours of treatment, we advise against shaving.
After the treatment, patients should stay out of the sun and use sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and up. After treatment, they may see some hair growth in the treated spot. They should not shave, wax or pluck these hairs. Instead, they should use a wet towel to gently clean them away.
Does laser hair removal have any contraindications?
Dr. Ha: Laser hair removal has the same restrictions as any other laser treatments. It is not for pregnant women, people with metal inserts in their bodies, people with pacemakers, people with melanoma, people with scratched skin or diabetes.
If you have any of these conditions, then laser hair removal is not for you.
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* Images provided by Orient Skincare