Print This Page SparkPeople

3 High-Tech Hair Removal Techniques

Permanent Methods to Remove Unwanted Hair
  -- By Natalie Nichols, Health & Beauty Writer
Common hair removal methods like shaving and waxing may be easier when it comes to the short-term, but these options of removing unwanted hair aren’t exactly the most convenient. Many women must make time to shave every day in order to keep their skin smooth and free of stubble. And those who turn to waxing over the course of many years can pay a hefty price tag by heading to the spa each month for hair removal services.
 
The good news is that you can avoid razor burns, painful waxing, and eventually save time and cash by turning to some high-tech hair removal techniques. In the long run, these three methods will help you ditch the razor and reap the rewards of smoother skin that lasts much longer than shaving or waxing.
 
High-Tech Hair Removal Option #1: Laser Hair Removal
 
How does it work?
Laser hair removal is a fairly common cosmetic procedure that points highly concentrated, pulsating beams of light into hair follicles to destroy hair at the root. Because the heat is so intense, the laser damages the hair follicle which, in turn, hinders hair from growing in the future. This hair removal technique can effectively slow down hair growth practically anywhere on the body, but works best on thicker-skinned areas like the legs or back. And, though this method won’t guarantee permanent hair removal, hair that does end up growing back will be lighter, finer and a lot less noticeable.

If you decide to try this hair removal method, know that you’ll need to head to the dermatologist’s office for several treatments (six to eight visits typically do the trick) in order to provide yourself with extended periods of smooth, hair-free skin. You can even purchase laser light hair removal devices at many retail stores for at-home use between visits. Just make sure you get your dermatologist’s expert opinion before you buy in order to rule out any pre-existing skin conditions, or other possible issues that could stand in the way of a safe at-home treatment.
 
Who should try it?
Laser hair removal is perfect for people with pale to light skin and dark hair. This is because the light from most types of laser hair removal devices targets the pigment in the hair. Does this mean you should shy away from laser hair removal if you have darker skin? Not necessarily. Talk to your dermatologist about other options involving lasers with longer wavelengths as certain ones have the ability to treat darker skin types.
 
How much does it cost?
The price of a laser hair removal treatment will vary as it depends on many factors, such as which body parts are being treated, the number of sessions needed and which city your dermatologist practices in. When smaller areas of skin are treated, the cost is less than when larger areas are treated. That said, if you decide to treat your bikini area, the cost could range anywhere from $250 to $500 per session. If you decide to go with laser hair removal on your legs, it is considerably more, $600 to $900 per session. Yes, it can be pricey up front, but in the long run you’ll save time and money on a lifetime of shaving supplies and waxing sessions that will end up costing you much more.
 
What are the side effects?
The most common side effects of laser hair removal are redness and swelling, but they only last a day or two. And though most lasers come with cooling devices that reduce skin discomfort and protect the top layer of skin from getting overheated, hyperpigmentation and burning can occur at times. However, side effects likes these typically happen when non-physicians perform the treatments. To decrease the risk of side effects and get the most reliable results, see a trained dermatologist as opposed to visiting walk-up booths at malls (yes, those exist!) or aestheticians.
 
High-Tech Hair Removal Option #2: Electrolysis
 
How does it work?
If you’re looking for a hair removal method that will permanently get rid of unwanted hair, electrolysis is the right option for you! Electrolysis treatments remove individual hairs with a thin probe that’s inserted into the hair follicle. Each hair is destroyed at its growth center using a short-wave radio frequency. Once it’s destroyed, the hair is removed completely with forceps. The best news about electrolysis is that most areas of the body can be treated using this hair removal alternative, including delicate areas of the face.
 
Electrolysis should only be performed by a trained electrologist. So, before going with this hair removal option, make sure you do your research before committing. A wrong decision can mean more electrolysis sessions than you really need, discomfort and even scarring. When choosing an electrologist, know his or her qualifications. Many states require these professionals to be licensed or certified--with the evidence proudly displayed in their offices.
 
Who should try it?
Anyone who has undesired hair on practically any area of the body can try electrolysis as an effective, permanent hair removal option. If you have unwanted hair on your lip, sides of your face, your back (or anywhere else you can think of!), you can expect good results with this high-tech treatment.
 
How much does it cost?
The total number of electrolysis sessions vary from person to person. And because so many factors influence the growth of hair, most people return for quite a few electrolysis visits. For example, you may only need 10 sessions, while your neighbor could need up to 25 in order to destroy hair permanently. Electrolysis typically runs anywhere from $20 to $90 per session. But once the sessions are done, your hair is gone forever--no more razors, waxes or creams will be needed for the rest of your life.

What are the side effects?
You could experience temporary side effects after your electrolysis treatment, but nothing permanent. Your skin might redden and tingle for a little while, but there’s generally no pain involved, even when it comes to your delicate bikini line.

High-Tech Hair Removal Option #3: Vaniqa
 
How does it work?
Want a hair removal option for facial hair that’s high-tech, yet doesn’t involve lasers or probes? Look no further than Vaniqa! This hair removal cream is the most high-tech type that’s currently on the market. Vaniqa is an FDA-approved, prescription-only topical cream that contains a chemical that inhibits growth of unsightly facial hair in women.
 
Vaniqa’s active ingredient is eflornithine hydrochloride, a chemical that can also be used to treat certain cancers and even African sleeping sickness. But when eflornithine hydrochloride is applied to the skin twice a day for hair growth reduction, incredible results can happen in just four to eight weeks. Unfortunately, this hair removal option isn’t permanent, and you must continue treatment for as long as you’d like to inhibit hair growth. Some good news about Vaniqa, however, is that it continues to work its magic by reducing facial hair growth for almost eight weeks even after you stop using it.
 
Who should try it?
Women who are embarrassed or uncomfortable about excess facial hair should try this hair removal treatment. It won’t work well on other areas of the body, so keep Vaniqa on your face--and nowhere else!
 
How much does it cost?
Again, there are many factors when it comes to the cost of hair removal treatments such as where you live and how often you need to use them. Vaniqa will cost you $100 to $250 for a tube that usually lasts about a month--sometimes two depending on frequency of use.
 
What are the side effects?
The most common side effect to Vaniqa is acne, so those with acne-prone skin should probably stay away from it. And as with other types of topical creams and gels, rashes, tingling and redness can also occur. Side effects are typically minimal, but you should consult with your doctor about allergies and your other medications that could cause adverse reactions before you try Vaniqa.  
 
These high-tech hair removal techniques are great alternatives to the daily shave or monthly wax. Yes, some are more costly than others, but each will end up saving you time or money when it comes to removing unwanted hair that won’t grow back quickly--or at all!
 
Sources:
American Academy of Dermatology, "Laser Hair Removal," www.aad.org, accessed on April 24, 2013.
 
Drugs.com, "Vaniqa," www.drugs.com, accessed on April 24, 2013.
 
American Electrology Association, "Electrolysis: The Only Option for Permanent Hair Removal," www.electrology.com, accessed on April 24, 2013.
 
Cleveland Clinic, "Electrolysis," my.clevelandclinic.org, accessed on April 24, 2013.
 
Mayo Clinic, "Laser Hair Removal," www.mayoclinic.com, accessed on April 24, 2013.
 
WebMD, "Electrolysis for Hair Removal," www.webmd.com, accessed on April 24, 2013.
 
WebMD, "Laser Hair Removal," www.webmd.com, accessed on April 24, 2013.