However, if you’ve made the personal choice to remove the hair from your face or body it’s worth knowing that aesthetic treatment options work far better long-term than methods like shaving, waxing, sugaring, epilating and hair removal creams.
So, for everything you need to know about the three most effective in-clinic hair removal options, keep reading…
LaserLaser is the most well-known hair removal treatment due to its precision and effectiveness. Lasers work by emitting light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. The light converts to heat, that causes damage to the hair follicle, which over time slows down and should eventually inhibit hair growth.
Alexandrite lasers are good for paler skin types, Diode lasers are good for pale to medium skin tones, while the ND:Yag is the gold standard for darker tones. However, if you have blonde or red hair, laser treatments tend not to work as there is less pigment in the hair.
A few weeks before the treatment it’s advised that you don’t wax or pluck any hair so that the hair removal targets as much hair as possible. It’s also advised to avoid sun exposure as that can interfere with the laser process or cause skin sensitivity post-laser. Sometimes a numbing cream is applied to the area before the treatment. Usually, you will have to shave the hair within 24 hours of your treatment, while some practitioners shave or trim the hairs at the beginning of your treatment. But before any treatment course begins, you will be patch tested to ensure you can tolerate the laser chosen for you.
Your practitioner will adjust the intensity of the laser depending on your skin colour, hair thickness and hair position; it’s normally lower for more sensitive or painful areas like the bikini.
Most people need six to eight sessions to see results. The hair might not completely disappear everywhere, but it should become very sparse, thin or even blonde so it’s not visible.
Prices start from £85 for small areas like the upper lip, £110 for underarms and £130 for the bikini line.
IPLIPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, and it’s a technology used not only for hair removal but for rosacea and vein removal too. This is also the type of light used in most at-home hair removal devices.
Similar to laser, IPL targets the melanin found in hair and the root, to minimise hair growth. It has multiple wavelengths and a larger head, so it’s not as precise nor as strong as laser hair removal and it targets a larger area at a time. However, IPL is gentler so might be more suitable for people with sensitive skin.
Avoid waxing or plucking for a few weeks before the treatment. You might need to shave before, but ask your practitioner as this depends on the machines they use.
IPL may not be suitable for all skin tones, so a patch test and consultation are advisable before treatment. During treatment, the practitioner will normally apply a gel across the area as this helps the device glide over the skin with ease and helps keep skin cool too.
Results may not be as effective as laser and a minimum of eight sessions is advised to see results.
Prices start at £50 for small areas like the upper lip, £65 for underarms and £80 for the bikini line.
ElectrolysisElectrolysis is a hair removal technique that’s more ‘old school’. It was founded in 1875 by ophthalmologist Dr. Charles Michel. It’s actually a fully permanent hair removal treatment so it’s rather popular for the face. Electrolysis works by inserting a small fine needle into the hair follicle, followed by a small electrical current that damages and eventually destroys the follicle.
Sun exposure doesn’t interfere pre- or post-treatment, but as with the other treatments you should avoid waxing or tweezing in the weeks leading up to your treatment.
During the treatment, a thin heated probe targets the hair follicle with a small current and essentially destroys it from the root. It is considered a more painful method, however newer technology isn’t as painful as it used to be. As this method doesn’t target melanin, it can be used on blonde, white or red hair, and is suitable for all skin tones. It takes longer to perform this treatment, in comparison to laser or IPL and there may be some redness. It’s advised to protect the area post-treatment, as it’s essentially a wound and avoid applying water, swimming, exercising or anything that may expose the area to bacteria.
Most people return weekly or monthly until the hair disappears completely. The amount of sessions needed depends on the person’s age, hormones and hair. After the series of treatments the hair is gone forever.
Prices start from £20-40 per 15 minute session, and the duration depends on the amount of hair that needs to be targeted.