People have been finding reasons to remove hair on the face and body since the beginning of time. In the Ice Age, men and women shaved to avoid frostbite as hair absorbs moisture, which could freeze in extreme temperatures. Early Egyptians did it for hygiene because we all know how sweat-drenched hair could stink. From the Renaissance Period throughout the 1900s, “smooth is sexy” when it comes to standards of beauty, and it still holds true to this day where it’s fashionable to bare some skin.
It’s no wonder that people have come up with countless clever ways to get rid of unwanted hair—as depicted in some cave drawings of people using sharpened flint rocks as razors and seashells as tweezers, for example. Whether it’s for aesthetics or hygiene reasons, the fact is there are parts of the body we just don’t want hair to grow.
Then again, shaving or tweezing may lead to ingrown hairs and irritation. Depilatory creams have short-term results compared to dermatological treatments and could be risky on sensitive skin. And waxing and sugaring, albeit a quick fix, are infamously painful. So, what’s the alternative then? Read on to find out all you need to know about medical-grade laser hair removal!
Which parts of the body can be treated with laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is applicable to practically all parts of the body where hair grows—the face, underarms, legs, chest, back, hands, feet, backside, and bikini or groin areas. Compared to electrolysis, which works from follicle to follicle, laser hair removal can target larger areas in one go.
Most women ask for laser hair removal on the underarms, legs, and bikini areas while for the majority of men, it’s the chest, back, and arms. Unwanted hair on the face is usually on the eyebrows (the “unibrows,” to be exact), the upper lip, and the jawline in females and males alike.
However, excessive facial hair in females could be a symptom of underlying medical or genetic conditions such as hirsutism. The condition usually manifests on the upper lip, chin, sideburn area, and the chest and abdomen—where hair commonly grows on males. For these types of cases, a consultation with a doctor is a must before trying out any kind of aesthetic treatment.
On which skin colours does laser hair removal work best?
As a rule of thumb, the coarser and darker the hair, the better laser hair removal works. A decade or so ago, laser hair removal may not have been that effective on blonde, gray, and red or ginger hair. That’s because these hair colours don’t have chromophore in their molecules, which absorb the energy from the laser. But even if you have light hair, your roots may be dark, which the dermatologist can check.
Older versions of laser hair removal machines typically work on light skin with thick and dark hair, but the more advanced lasers today can produce results for most skin types. The bottom line is, not all laser hair removal machines are created equal, so make sure you do your research on which clinics have the right devices for your particular needs.
The Aesthetics Centre uses the GentleMax Pro™ by Candela™, widely used in the industry for 20 years now. It’s a dual-platform laser that delivers a 755nm Alexandrite laser and a 1064nm Nd:YAG laser. It’s used for different treatment options and works on most types of skin/hair, especially Asians and those with darker colouring.
Does hair grow back after laser hair removal?
The short answer is yes. While laser hair removal outcomes are not permanent, you can expect results to last up to two years in most cases. You’ll instantly notice smoother skin right after the procedure, but to manage your expectations, this isn’t a one-off procedure. Maintenance sessions may be needed to keep the area perpetually hairless.
Not to worry, even if hair does grow back, the strands will be finer and thinner. So, if you’ve had thick and coarse hair pre-laser procedure, the ones that’ll grow back after the treatment wouldn’t appear as dark and dense. Again, the best way to find out is by consulting with a licensed dermatologist.
Lasers can reduce the number of hairs by 40% to 80%. Note that laser treatments are only effective during the anagen phase when the hair is actively growing from the follicle and contains the most melanin. Only 20% of our hairs at any given time are in this phase, which is why multiple sessions are required to effectively target all the hair follicles.
How many laser treatments does it take to see results?
It usually takes 6 to 10 sessions to reduce the hair, but there’s little or no downtime involved. This means that right after the procedure, you can walk out of the clinic and go on with your daily activities as usual. To ensure that the skin isn’t stressed, the succeeding treatment sessions are usually spaced out by several weeks.
People whose hair typically grows faster may need more sessions to get the best results. Follow-up treatments are usually scheduled every 4 to 6 weeks, which is ample time for the skin to recover and heal properly, and for the dead hair shafts to fall out on their own naturally.
Remember: hair grows at different stages, so don’t get discouraged if you notice it growing back after the second week. It’s at that time when the follicles that weren’t treated with the laser will go on a growth spurt. And that’s why follow-up sessions are required. Each person’s hair removal expectation is unique. Some may already be happy with 50% to 60% hair reduction while others prefer the maximum 80% to 95% effect. So, ultimately, the number of sessions you need is up to you.
How much does laser hair removal cost?
First things first: laser hair removal should be performed by a certified medical professional to ensure safety and optimum results. A consultation is essential to know if you’re the right candidate for the procedure based on your health, skin type, hair texture and colour, and the body part to be treated.
Prices for treatments in Singapore depend on a variety of factors, like the size of the target area and thickness of hair. Generally, costs start at around SGD 200 to SGD 500 per area. Prices differ depending on the type of laser used: Alexandrite and Ruby lasers work best on light-coloured hair while ND:Yag lasers are suitable for all hair/skin types.
For most aesthetic centres and dermatology clinics, consultation fees are already included in the treatment package. However, there are those that offer complimentary consultations, which would normally cost upwards of SGD 200 per consult.
Where can you get a laser hair removal procedure?
Before making a beeline for the nearest salon or spa, keep in mind that a laser hair removal procedure is meant to be performed at a certified facility. There are risks associated with medical-grade lasers, but proper techniques performed by an experienced technician render safe and effective results.
At The Aesthetics Centre in Singapore, the procedure is administered by professionals trained to customise the device settings to your skin/hair and preferred results. Aside from administering the treatment, Dr Anita Soosay can give you the consultation and advice that only an accredited professional can. You’ll also get a specific price quotation during your consultation.