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September 29, 2023

Laser hair removal – advantages and disadvantages

Hair removal laser advantages and disadvantages
© iStock.com/Svitlana Hulko

Body hair – including in the armpit area, on the legs, chest and back as well as in the intimate zone – is usually perceived as annoying and unaesthetic in the current understanding of beauty. Of course, this always depends on individual feelings and opinions. Various methods are available to remove unwanted hair. These include shaving, waxing, epilation and modern laser hair removal. This article will take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the latter.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal uses highly focused pulses of light to damage the hair root and hair follicles in a targeted manner. This disrupts hair growth and causes unwanted hair to fall out. In aesthetic medicine, various laser systems with different wavelengths are available to address and treat different hair types. The duration of laser hair removal varies depending on the size of the area to be treated: treatment of unwanted facial hair (“lady’s beard”) is often completed after a few minutes, while hair removal on the legs or back can take an hour or longer.

Advantages of laser hair removal

1. Long-lasting result

One of the advantages of laser treatment against unwanted hair is the durability of the result. While shaving, epilation and waxing have to be repeated at relatively short intervals to keep the skin smooth and hair-free, the results of laser hair removal usually last for several years. Only around ten to 30 percent of the hair removed can regenerate and grow back over time. It can often be observed that these hairs are thinner and lighter in color, making them less noticeable. In order to achieve an optimal result of smooth skin, it may be advisable to repeat the laser treatment once a year.

2. No surgery or injections necessary

The laser treatment is minimally invasive. It does not involve skin incisions or injections. The corresponding handpiece is simply passed over the upper layer of skin. With an experienced specialist, the treatment is therefore an extremely safe and reliable method that hardly puts any strain on the body. This means that you do not have to be prepared for a downtime or closed season (but you should take sun protection into account).

3. Almost painless treatment

The light pulses during treatment are usually perceived as a slight tingling, prickling or mild stinging sensation. During hair removal, the upper layer of skin is cooled so that less irritation or discomfort occurs. Additional anesthesia is usually not necessary. If desired, it is possible to apply an anesthetic cream to make sensitive areas in particular less sensitive to pain. Compared to other methods such as shaving, waxing and epilation, laser treatment is perceived as more pleasant and less painful.

4. Modern lasers make hair removal possible for all hair types

Thanks to different wavelengths, different hair colors can be treated effectively. This means that it is now possible to treat almost all hair types and achieve the desired smooth skin.

5. Long-term plus: less waste, lower costs, time savings

Other methods of hair removal often require materials that need to be replaced and renewed (e.g. wax strips, razor blades, disposable razors). Laser treatment therefore offers the advantage of saving waste compared to many other methods. In the long term, the costs can even out, as hair growth is inhibited for several years and the number of follow-up treatments is low. Laser treatment is particularly noticeable in terms of the time factor, as there is no need for constant shaving.

What are the disadvantages of laser hair removal?

1. Several treatment sessions necessary

At the beginning of laser hair removal, several sessions (approx. six to eight) are necessary at intervals of a few weeks to reduce the unwanted hair in the area. This is mainly due to the fact that the laser treatment targets the hairs that are in the growth phase at this time. Regular repetition ensures that hair that was at a different stage of the hair cycle during the first session is also removed.

2. No immediate result

In contrast to shaving, epilation or waxing, the results of laser hair removal are not immediately visible. The hair gradually falls out. The process can take several weeks. In addition, as mentioned in the previous section, not all hair is removed at once, so it takes several months to achieve the final result.

3. More difficult treatment of pre-tanned skin

The light pulses emitted are absorbed by the dye in the hair roots and hair follicles and converted into heat. They are specifically damaged by this intense heat development. With tanned skin, however, it can happen that the energy is absorbed by the skin’s pigment and not by that of the hair as desired. This can influence the result of the hair removal. Ideally, the skin should not be pre-tanned at the time of treatment.

4. Skin temporarily becomes more sensitive to light

A side effect of hair removal is that the skin becomes more sensitive to light for some time. It is therefore important to protect them from sunlight and avoid sunbathing. Also apply sun cream with a high sun protection factor. This side effect and the corresponding aftercare measures are normal, harmless and minor, but can be perceived as annoying, especially in summer (increased risk of pigment shift in the skin).

5. No 100 percent result possible

Laser treatment is a very effective and gentle way to combat unwanted hair. However, no method enables completely hairless skin in the long term. Even with laser treatment, a few hairs may remain that need to be shaved. In addition, individual hairs can grow back over the years. Realistic expectations are therefore very important for satisfactory treatment. In our practice, you will receive comprehensive information and advice in advance.

Important: Laser treatment only by a specialist!

Laser hair removal is a low-pain, safe and low-risk method, but only in the hands of an experienced specialist. Only have your laser hair removal performed by a licensed doctor with appropriate training to minimize risks such as injuries and burns due to improper use. As an experienced specialist, Dr. Kors will be happy to explain all the details to you and answer any questions you may have on the subject. Arrange here your personal appointment at the Weißensee Skin Center.

last update: 29.09.2023

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