Laser Hair Removal: Is It Worth It?
How Painful Is It?
Since laser hair removal is only effective on short, visible hair, candidates should shave the desired area a few days before the treatment and let the hair grow into stubble. Do not wax or pluck hair beforehand, because hair may not grow back in time for your treatment.
What does it feel like? "They push a laser about two or three inches long against your skin for a second or two, and you hear a faint buzzing noise," says Kelly, 23, whose underarms and bikini area have been treated. "It feels like a hot, bristly hairbrush is bouncing against your skin." Uh... how hot? "Hot enough to make you nervous," she says, describing the heat as similar to waving your hand near a hot curling iron. Other women who have undergone laser hair removal describe the sensation as similar to having a rubber band snapped against the skin. Within 30 minutes of starting treatment, the area may become pink and sensitive. You may also notice the smell of singed hair, which is normal. Afterward, you may experiences swelling and tenderness. Applying a thick layer of ointment that contains lidocaine, an anesthetic, 45 minutes before treatment may help with the pain.
Within 10 days of treatment, hair will begin sprouting again, but fear not -- this most likely isn't regrowth. Instead, these are the remainder of hairs that have been treated, and they should fall out in time. However, since hair grows in staggered cycles, several treatments are needed to make sure all hair is treated during its active growth phase. An estimated four to 10 sessions are recommended. Depending on the size of the treatment area, it may take anywhere from minutes to hours to complete a session.