We all know that feeling of being completely ready to rock whatever hairstyle we’re going for, only to find a few rogue hairs that just won’t cooperate. Whether it’s on your legs, bikini line, arms, or back, extra body hair can be downright annoying.
Luckily, there are options for permanently removing those not-so-cooperative coarse hairs. Such options range from preventing further growth using medical treatments to at-home laser and IPL treatments.
In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth look into the world of permanent hair removal. We’ll give you the lowdown on laser and IPL treatments, and review some of the best at-home devices on the market. Plus, you can learn about other non-invasive options and choose the solution that works best for your routine and budget. So stop tweezing and join us as we explore the world of permanent hair removal!
What Is Permanent Hair Removal?
You’ve probably heard friends or family boast about how they’ve permanently removed their unwanted body hair. They may have even seen ads touting the possibility of permanent hair removal. But while that might sound like a dream come true, it’s not exactly true.
The fact is, there isn’t really such a thing as permanent hair removal, only permanent hair reduction. You see, although conventional methods of removing body hair like waxing, depilatories and shaving give the impression that the hair is gone permanently, it’s not—the hair will eventually grow back.
Permanent hair reduction is achievable through laser treatments such as IPL (intense pulsed light), laser and electrolysis. While these treatments won’t necessarily get rid of all your unwanted body hair for good, they can be used to make sure that it doesn’t keep coming back. Generally speaking, successful permanent reduction requires 4-8 treatments spaced 3-6 weeks apart.
What Are the Different Methods of Permanent Hair Removal?
Permanent hair removal methods are a great option for anyone who wants more control over their body hair and the freedom from the daily time and money spent shaving, waxing, or plucking. But before you go out of your way to permanently remove your hair, you should know a bit about the different methods available, each with its own pros and cons.
The most popular permanent body hair removal methods for women include IPL (intense pulsed light), laser hair removal, electrolysis, and physical methods such as waxing and plucking. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
- IPL: IPL is similar to laser treatment but uses less focused beams of light that are “flooded” over the skin to target hairs. It can be used on large areas like the legs easily and is great for people with darker skin tones who’re not candidates for laser treatments. The downside? You’ll likely need multiple sessions to achieve results.
- Laser Hair Removal: The process involves firing a laser light at individual hairs which are then destroyed by the heat of the laser; it’s typically best on small areas such as the chin or upper lip. You can expect some hair regrowth which will need to be treated with further sessions.
- Electrolysis: Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method for permanent hair removal; it works by using an electrical current to destroy individual hairs in their follicles. It’s more effective than laser treatments but also much more time consuming since each individual follicle needs to be treated one at a time—it can take several sessions for results to become visible.
- Physical Methods: Waxing and plucking will give you
Benefits and Drawbacks of Permanent Hair Removal
Permanent hair removal is a long-term solution to get rid of unwanted hair—but it’s important to check in with a professional before you make any decisions. In this section, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of taking the permanent route for getting rid of hair.
The most obvious benefit of permanent hair removal is that the results are, well, permanent! Hair removal treatments like laser hair removal and electrolysis destroy the follicles of your unwanted hairs, meaning they won’t grow back as easily or as quickly. And while results may vary (as with any procedure), many people experience smoother and softer skin after their sessions.
Though treatments like laser hair removal can be a great way to permanently reduce facial or body hair, lasers may not be effective on all skin types. If you have dark skin, the pigment in your skin can absorb the laser energy—making results less consistent than they would be on lighter skin types. Additionally, these treatments can take several sessions to achieve maximum results—so if you’re hoping to see full reduction after just one session, it’s probably not going to happen.
Overall, permanent hair removal is an effective way to get rid of unwanted body or facial hair—but everyone’s experience is different. When it comes down to it, it’s important to speak with your doctor or dermatologist about what type of treatment would work best for you so that you can make an informed decision about what type of treatment works for you and your lifestyle.
How to Prepare for Permanent Hair Removal
If you’re scheduled for a permanent hair removal appointment soon, you’ll want to make sure you do all the right prep work before your treatment so that you get the best results. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Shave Treatment Area
Make sure to shave the area two days before your appointment. This will remove existing and fine hairs so that they don’t get in the way of a successful treatment.
Avoid Hair Removal Methods
It’s best to avoid waxing, tweezing, epilating or using chemical depilatories two weeks before your appointment. Any of these processes can interfere with the effectiveness of permanent hair removal and should be avoided prior to treatment.
Refrain from Plucking or Waxing
Another thing that should be avoided is plucking hairs or waxing them out—at least 2 weeks before your appointment. Plucking hairs violates the root structure making it more difficult for the laser device to target them during the procedure.
Tips for Aftercare and Maintenance After Treatment
Once you’ve had your permanent hair removal treatment, there are some simple tips you can follow to ensure the best results.
First, it’s really important to avoid sun exposure for 7 days after treatment. This is because the treatment area may be more sensitive to sunlight. Prolonged exposure could also lead to skin discoloration in the affected area.
You should also avoid heat treatments such as spas, steam rooms and saunas for at least 2 weeks after treatment. This will help reduce any risk of redness or tenderness in the area that was treated.
Finally, until your next appointment, you should avoid waxing and plucking the area that was treated. Doing so can cause irritation and interfere with the laser’s effectiveness on subsequent treatments.
FAQs on Permanent Hair Removal
At this point, you’re probably wondering what makes permanent hair removal truly permanent. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions related to permanent hair removal.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
No, laser hair removal is not a permanent solution to unwanted hair, because it damages the follicles instead of completely removing them. Most patients need to have 2-6 treatments to be able to get rid of the targeted hair, and it may take several months for all hairs to be gone.
What Is the Only FDA-Approved Method for Completely Removing Unwanted Hair?
The only FDA-approved treatment for completely removing unwanted hair is electrolysis. During this procedure, a professional technician uses electric currents that convert into heat energy and destroy each individual follicle. After all hairs are removed, you won’t have to worry about them growing back.
Are There Any Side Effects from Permanent Hair Removal?
The side effects associated with permanent hair removal depend on the type of treatment used. Common side effects from laser treatments include temporary redness and irritation in the treated area and skin pigmentation changes in darker skin tones. For electrolysis, possible side effects include redness and swelling at the treated areas and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (darkening).
Permanent hair removal is a great way to get a lasting solution for unwanted hair. The key is to find out which type best suits your needs, and to get it done from a certified professional to ensure safety and the best results.
Before you decide to pursue any form of permanent hair removal, it’s important to research the different methods and possible risks. Different types of hair removal require different types of care and preparation before, during and after the procedure, so be sure to read up and check with your doctor first.
Ultimately, permanent hair removal can be an effective, long-term solution to rid yourself of unwanted hair. With the right precautions and procedures, you can enjoy smooth and hair-free skin for years to come.