Unwanted hair is a problem for many men and women. Advances in laser technology have resulted in the development of Lasers as a safe, fast, gentle and effective method of hair removal. At the Cosmetic & Laser Medical Centre we have a range of hair removal lasers, allowing us to optimise laser hair removal treatment by selecting the most appropriate laser for your hair type, skin colour and skin sensitivity.
Laser Hair Removal for Women
Some women have excess facial or body hair which is difficult to manage, whilst others simply find waxing or shaving can be unsatisfactory because of rashes or ingrown hairs..
Facial hair has been the commonest area treated but we now find women are treating ALL parts of the body. Extended bikini line and Brazilians are now possible. Laser hair removal is a often very attractive and economical option compared to a lifetime of waxing or shaving.
Laser Hair removal for Men
If you’re the sort of guy who’s already removing your hair, you’re probably tired of shaving or using depilatory cream. Or worse, waxing! Waxing hurts like hell, and both shaving and waxing leave an angry, itchy rash or pimples for days. Not a good look! Fortunately, laser is a better alternative and will last months instead of days. Popular areas for men is shoulders, back, chest, stomach and groin regions.
For more information on hair removal in men go to Laser Hair Removal
The top 9 things you need to know
- Laser Hair Removal is the most effective method of long-term hair removal available a.k.a “permanent hair reduction” and it generally takes 4-6 treatments in total.
- There are many different brands of hair removal laser machines which vary considerably in their quality and possible results. IPL (intense pulsed light) is not a laser.
- Victoria has no regulation to safeguard the public on who can use hair removal lasers unlike some other states
- Laser Hair Removal is a very safe procedure when performed correctly but skin damage, burns or inferior results can occur with cheap equipment or unqualified operators.
- Realistic expectations are important as results can vary both between people and for the same person on different areas of the body.
- Most skin colours and skin types can be treated but skin should not be suntanned at the time of Laser Hair Removal. It is most effective on darker hair or darker hair that contrasts well with skin colour. Blonde, grey and red hairs are less responsive.
- The most common areas treated in women are face, underarm, bikini line and legs, whereas in men the back, shoulders, upper arms and chest are the most popular.
- If the cost for Laser Hair Removal is far lower than in a medical laser clinic then there is almost certainly a compromise on laser quality, clinic facilities and/or the qualifications of the practitioner.
- The best and safest results in Laser Hair Removal are when a medical grade laser is used in a medical laser clinic by experienced practitioners with University qualifications.
WHY DO MEN WANT HAIR REMOVAL?
Hair removal in men has a long history in Western culture. Removal of facial hair has long been the norm with only a minority of men choosing to have a beard. In today’s world it has become totally acceptable for men to have treatments such as laser hair removal in order to improve their appearance and increase their self-confidence. Terms such as ‘manscaping’ (man specific landscaping) have become common use.
The reasons men seek laser hair removal and the areas they want treated are usually quite different to that of women.In modern Western society whilst hairiness in women is often regarded as masculine, hairiness in men is seen more as being primitive and unkempt. Over time there has been a shift in the perception of body hair in men, as whilst having a hairy chest at one time was seen as a sign of masculinity, surveys now find more women prefer male chests to have minimal hair and look ‘silky and smooth’.
Athletes are a particular group of men in which laser hair removal is very popular. For certain athletes it is a practical decision such as in footballers and soccer players who get lower leg hair removal to allow taping of ankles to prevent injuries. In other athletes it can be to try and improve performance such as swimmers and triathletes who remove body hair to reduce drag in the water. Other athletes choose to remove hair for the aesthetic of looking better such as body builders and gymnasts.
There are some men who are advised to look at long term hair removal for medical reasons such as men who develop repeated ingrown hairs which can become infected and cause scarring notably in the beard area ( Pseudofolliculitis Barbae) and the lower back ( Pilonidal cysts).
WHAT AREAS DO MEN HAVE HAIR REMOVAL ON?
The commonest areas that men seek laser hair removal for are the back, shoulders and chest. In menbecause of the higher levels of male sex hormones (androgens) it is often a case of using lasers to control hair growth by long term and permanent reduction rather than permanent removal. The chest area in men seems to be particularly responsive to laser hair removal with most men getting great long term clearance.
BODY HAIR REMOVAL IN MEN
Body hair, particularly back hair in men, is often perceived in modern day Western society as being primitive and untidy looking and hence it is not surprising that laser hair removal of back hair in men has become a very frequently requested procedure.
The chest area in most men responds more effectively than back hair to laser hair removal. This may relate to the hair roots on the chest being more superficial and consequently more susceptible to laser hair removal.Typically there is a gradual and progressive thinning of chest hair with each laser hair removal session and many men are happy to just thin chest hair rather than try to totally remove all chest hair.
FACIAL HAIR REMOVAL IN MEN
Facial hair has become an increasingly popular area for laser hair removal in men. Localised treatments such as between the eyes to remove the ‘monobrow’, targeting unwanted nasal or ear hair, or to target hair high on the cheek above the normal shaving line are all very popular. Unwanted hair on the front of the neck between the beard line and chest hair is also a popular facial area for men to treat by laser hair removal.
Full face laser hair removal in men is popular in certain situations. In occupations that are unable to have facial hair, such as firefighters, laser hair removal of the full beard area as a long term alternative to daily shaving is a fairly common request. Men who develop chronic ingrown hairs in the beard area after shaving (called Pseudo Folliculitis Barbae) often are recommended to have laser hair removal, as this condition cannot only be quite painful and unsightly but can cause scarring. Men who are transsexuals or who are undergoing gender reassignment surgery typically also wish to remove male pattern hair on the face.
ARM HAIR REMOVAL IN MEN
The main area on the arms that men request for laser hair removal is the upper arm and shoulder region. This is often done in combination with laser hair removal on the upper back. Typically men request hair removal to the T-shirt line of the upper arm. In situations where the lower arm and forearms are quite hairy it is important, for the best aesthetic result, to blend the treated and untreated areas so that there is not a prominent demarcation line.
UNDERARM HAIR REMOVAL IN MEN
Underarm laser hair removal is not as frequently asked for by men but it is equally as effective in men as it is in women. One group of men who do ask for underarm laser hair removal are athletes especially triathletes and gymnasts.
LEG HAIR REMOVAL IN MEN
It is a common practice for manymale athletes to remove hair from the legs. Professional footballers and cyclists remove hair from their lower legs for practical reasons such as to allow for strapping of ankles to prevent injury, better treatment of injuries should they occur and to facilitate the regular massages they need. Professional swimmers commonly remove hair from their legs for performance reasons as it is thought to reduce drag from water. Bodybuilders remove visible hair from all exposed areas including the legs for aesthetic reasons to better highlight their muscular definition. Not surprisingly many athletes have quickly become converts to the longer term results offered by laser hair removal.
BUTTOCK AND GROINHAIR REMOVAL IN MEN
The buttocks in men are less commonly treated by laser hair removal than the back and chest but significant thinning can usually be achieved with only 2 or 3 treatments. One particular group of men where laser hair removal in the buttock region can provide fantastic results, are men who have had a Pilonidal cyst. This is a particularly painful condition of an ingrown hair almost always located near the tailbone at the top of the cleft in the buttocks. It occurs mainly in young Caucasian men (15-35 years) with thick dark hairs and the risk is higher if sit for prolonged periods of time like truck drivers. If the Pilonidal cyst becomes infected it can form an abscess or sinus and be extremely painful and require surgery. Pilonidal cysts tend to be recurrent which makes laser hair removal in this area a very worthwhile treatment option.
Athletes especially those involved in water sports such as swimming, water polo and triathletes look to laser hair removal in the groin area, as a more effective option than shaving, without the issue of rashes and ingrown hairs. Cyclists also can suffer from irritation in the groin area from hairs and ask for laser hair removal to this region. Some men request laser hair removal in the genital hair, and whilst this is safe and can be very effective, it is a much more sensitive area to treat by laser and can be uncomfortable.
CAN ALL HAIR COLOURS BE TREATED IN MEN?
It is important for men to realise that laser hair removal will not work well on removing hair if the hair has turned grey or white. Laser hair removal relies on the laser beam being attracted to the pigment in the hair for it to be effective. Grey hair has less pigment and white hair has no pigment. In time every ones hair turns grey because of age and genetics. As we age a failure occurs in the ability of pigment cells in the hair follicles to produce pigment. This failure occurs at different rates in different hair follicles and in some hairs will occur rapidly whilst in others it may occur over decades. The age at which the first grey hairs occur is largely genetic, and most men are likely to get their first grey hair at the same age as their parents or grandparents started to get grey hair. Some factors can increase the rate of greying such as smoking, thyroid disease, Vitamin B12 deficiency, Vitiligo and auto immune diseases. Typically most Caucasians start to go grey in their mid30s whilst Asians start to go grey in their late 30s. Half of men have a significant amount of grey hair by the time they turn 50. For laser hair removal to be most effective in men it is best to start before too many hairs turn grey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most popular areas to get treated?
How old do you have to be to get laser hair removal?
Can all skin types and areas be treated?
Can all hair colours be treated?
Various methods have been tried to improve the results of laser removal of white hairs, such as applying a dye to the hair before laser or combining laser with suction devices and radio frequency technology, but to date none have been very successful. White hairs are best treated by electrolysis.
In Summary, darker hair and lighter skin predict a better result, however some patients will have hair roots that are situated much deeper and are more difficult to treat and may require more treatments.
Can all areas of the body be treated?
Certain areas like the underarm and bikini line in women and the chest area in men seem to be very responsive to treatment with excellent long term clearance. Other areas like the face in women and the back in men whilst they have great short to medium term results are more likely to require regular maintenance treatments.
What are the risks?
Hair removal lasers are classified as CLASS 4 lasers because they have the potential to cause eye damage and there have been reports of hair removal lasers causing eye injuries. Specialised eyewear must be worn by patients and by operators when performed.
Lasers generate heat and as such when not used correctly can cause skin damage including burns, blisters, altered skin pigment and even scarring. Cases of skin infection after hair removal in beauty salons have also been reported.
There are reports of lasers being used for hair removal actually doing the reverse and stimulating hair growth. This is called Paradoxical Hypertrichosis and seems to occur much more commonly when low powered machines are used for hair removal as in beauty salons.
Topical anaesthetic creams are widely used to numb the skin for cosmetic procedures. Some of these anaesthetic creams may be purchased without a medical prescription but the use of topical anaesthetic creams before treatment should be medically supervised as there have been two reports of women aged 22 and 25 years old who applied topical anaesthetic cream to their legs for hair removal having seizures and dying.
Hair removal using medical grade CLASS 4 lasers needs to be thought of as a medical procedure more than a simple beauty treatment.
Am I a good candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
Do you have dark hair and light skin?
Do you play sport or enjoy cycling?
Do you currently wax or shave your legs, back, shoulders, chest or arms?
Do you prefer your skin smooth and hair free with no ingrown hairs?
How much does laser hair removal cost?
As a guide in a medical laser clinic using a top of the range medical grade laser performed by an experienced laser practitioner with a University degree, expect to pay for small areas like the face or underarms $100-150 per treatment and for larger areas such as the lower legs around $300 per treatment.
At the Cosmetic and Laser Medical Centre we do provide discount packages if multiple areas are being treated or if a larger series of treatments are necessary. Contact us for package prices.
Is laser hair removal permanent or how long does it last?
How many treatments will I need?
It is important to realise that response to treatment can vary considerably between people and in the same person between different body areas.
With successful treatment there should be a progressive reduction in the number and thickness of hairs with each successive laser hair removal. If regrowth after hair removal occurs much quicker than expected or no significant reduction is occurring in the amount of hair being removed, then the laser treatment settings and/or expectations need to be reassessed.
Results should be progressive and you should not need to wait for a long series of treatments before seeing results you are happy with.
Patients with hormonal conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are also much more likely to require regular maintenance treatments because of ongoing hormonal factors stimulating further hair growth
Does the skill of the operator affect the result?
There is a difference between a beautician who has done a 2 day laser safety course and a Dermal therapist who has done a 3 year Bachelor degree at University.
There is a difference in an experienced laser practitioner who can assess and provide realistic expectations then treat with appropriate settings on a medical grade laser with the optimal treatment technique.
There is a difference between treatment in a specialised laser medical clinic rather than treatment in a shop at a strip shopping centre.
There is a difference having medical supervision to reduce the chance of complications in the first instance and then secondly having medical expertise available should any problems arise.
Consumers need to be aware of the unregulated nature of Laser Hair Removal and consider factors other than just price.
Can you get laser hair removal if you're pregnant?
How does Laser Hair Removal work?
Hair follicles have a cycle of growth with some hairs being in resting, active and transition phases at any point in time. Hair follicles are most vulnerable to laser heating when they are in an active growth phase, and hence a series of laser treatments are needed to progressively target different hairs when they are most susceptible