We Answered All The Laser Hair Removal Questions You're Too Afraid To Ask
I hate my thighs.
It’s not because they need toning or are really pale. I just loathe how hairy they are.
I think it’s cute when other girls talk about not having to wax their thigh hair because it grows in ultra-fine. My hair? It grows in thick, dark and coarse, just like the hair on my calves. If I shave my legs, I have to do the whole leg.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been seriously considering just lasering it all off. Laser hair removal, the Kardashians' preferred route to hairless heaven, is a commitment both financially and physically.
To quell my fear of going under the laser, I reached out to Marisa Martino, founder of SKINNEY Medspa, for some insight. Things got weird real quick.
Will laser hair removal make me cry?
Lasers in movies never look pleasant. The one in “Tron” disassembled Jeff Bridges’ body and the one in “Goldfinger” nearly disintegrated James Bond’s d*ck. Do either of those experiences sound like a jolly old time to you?
Apparently, I’m worrying for no reason.
Martino explains that, while older lasers could’ve sometimes been unpleasant, the newer technology is virtually pain-free. That's a lot more than you can say for painful bikini waxes and razor burn. Leave the Kleenex at home, ladies — you’ll be in and out the office tear-free.
Just kidding, it might make your wallet cry. The cost is between $99 and $300, depending on the area.
How many times do I have to be zapped before noticing results?
Laser hair removal isn’t a miracle treatment, so one session won’t do much of anything. Martino stresses that it can take six to 10 sessions before you see full results.
"Each and every session you will notice slower growing hair, patches of no hair and thinner, finer hair,” explains Martino. “Eventually, all your hair will be permanently removed."
Laser hair removal: not for the commitment-phobic.
Where on the body are all the cool kids getting their hair removed?
We know about getting laser hair removal on your legs. What else? Is there any part of our body we can’t hair-shame?
“The most common is anywhere you shave on a regular basis,” Martino says. “So, your legs, underarms and bikini area."
If that all sounds a little too basic for you, Martino is also an expert on all those hard-to-reach areas, namely your ears and nose. There are limits to what a laser can do, though. If you're looking to zap your brows into Cara Delevingne-worthy perfection, drop that thought.
Martino explains that she doesn't touch eyebrows, unless it's a unibrow.
"Stick to threading and plucking," she suggested.
A laser might be precise, but not enough to get every one of those little hairs. What if you change the shape of your brows in a few years? No going back.
I know it won't hurt, but can lasers harm me in any way?
I mean, you're beaming a laser at your skin. That sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Martino insists that there are no health risks associated with laser hair removal. In fact, the worst thing that can happen is a superficial burn, which you'll feel right away and should notify your technician about.
Will the sun kill my vibe?
Remember when I got a chemical peel on my legs a few weeks ago and wore shorts the next day even when I was explicitly warned not to? I do, and so do my thighs.
Laser hair removal is similar in that you have to avoid the sun for two weeks. The laser works on the melanin on the skin, so if you're over-processed by the sun (for example, a deep tan or a bad sunburn) you can't be treated.
What about tattoos?
Tell your technician about that one "secret" tattoo you got on a weekend away to Vegas in college.
"Laser hair removal picks up on hair color in skin and will pick up the ink in your tattoo," warns Martino. "So make sure you show your technician to be doubly sure they know not to go over tattoos."
What if I get pregnant? Will my hair grow back if I get knocked up?
Not exactly. Martino says facial hair on women is linked to hormones, so prospective laser removal clients should see a doctor to get their hormone balance tested and on track before booking an appointment.
"Chin and facial hair in women will continue to come back in some cases if you have a hormonal imbalance," she explains.
Sometimes hair can grow back post-pregnancy, but it's only slight and usually only in the bikini area and underarms.
"You may need to come in one or two more times for a touch-up post pregnancy," explains Martino.
Does it only work on fair skin and dark hair?
Maybe in the past, but not anymore. Laser hair removal works on all skin types and shades, Martino says. It'll also be fine with any hair color -- as long as you're not a redhead or have white hair.
It's all about the hair follicle having some color, because the dark pigment in the hair absorbs the laser light. Redheads and very fair blondes have significantly less pigment in the hair, which makes it more difficult.
Basically, laser hair removal is a godsend for hairy girls everywhere. Just don't go tanning, be a ginger or be covered head-to-toe in tattoos and you're all set.