The Lowdown on Laser Hair Removal

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Four weeks ago, I was hosted by Simply Laser to experience a laser hair removal session. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and I hope that this article will inspire you to consider laser hair removal as a feasible hair removal option.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser and IPL systems use energy in the form of light to denature the blood supply to the hair follicle. The energy from the light source is absorbed by the pigment, called melanin, which gives hair its color. The hair rapidly absorbs this filtered light and transfers it to the surrounding cells, which in turn convert it into heat.

This heating denatures the cells, rendering them incapable of producing further hair growth. In other words, the laser beam is attracted to the dark brown pigment in the center of the hair follicle. When the hair follicle is heated, the growth center of the hair is destroyed and the skin remains unaffected.

Over the course of the next 1-3 weeks, the treated hair falls out. The process requires a series of treatments, but results can be seen after just the first time, proving how effective even just the initial treatment can be.
With every treatment you’ll progressively see fewer and fewer hairs return. Finishing the entire series of treatments is crucial, as that ensures that you see the highest degree of permanent hair reduction.

Where did I go?

I went to Simply Laser in Morningside, Durban.

How long does a session take?

For my underarms, the session was surprisingly quick. Both underarms were done in under 5 minutes. Some ultrasound gel is applied to the area and the laser is run across the skin. So quick and easy.

Does it hurt?

Beauty is pain but it doesn’t always have to be! I was a bit nervous about the pain, but I didn’t feel much at all. On a scale of 1-10, it was probably a 1, due to the fact that felt a bit of heat being emitted from the laser.
Compared to waxing ,laser is a walk in the park. If you can bear waxing, laser will be a breeze for you. With waxing, the area stings for a couple seconds or more after the wax strip is pulled off, which is the most painful part to me. However with laser, there is no lasting stinging. It is a quick, heat-filled rubber band snap kind of sensation.
Some areas are more sensitive than others, such as the bikini area which might be more painful.

Is it effective?

I was told I wouldn’t see results until a 2-3 sessions later but to be honest, I saw results from the first session. After shaving and using hair removal creams for years, my hairs have become thicker and they also grew faster. But after laser, the hairs that grew back are sparse as can be. I would say that 80% of my underarm hair has stopped growing. Generally, after each treatment, you’ll see a noticeable, permanent reduction in the number of hairs that re-grow in the treatment area.

Do I have any regrets about laser hair removal?

The only regret I have was not doing it sooner.

Important things to note?

    • Don’t do anything except shave between sessions. This includes waxing, tweezing, depilatory creams, etc. Each session targets the hairs at different growth stages in order to kill it. So when you wax/pluck/etc you are interfering with the hair growth cycle.
    • Make sure you do a consultation first. Laser hair removal is not for everyone. In particular, it is harder to laser light blonde hairs or dark skin tone, so your technician needs to look at your particular hair and see if it works for you.
    • Be patient and not lazy. For LHR to work, you need to be patient with the results because it’ll be worth it! I was fortunate to see results from the first session.
    • Don’t expect your hair to be 100% gone. Hair grows back slower and thinner.

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