Ah, body hair. It’s personal, it’s political and its prickly. Now firstly, whatever you decide to do with your body hair – whether you want to wear it proudly or laser it off for that smooth-as-a-baby’s bottom effect- we support you 100 percent. Jo apki marzi!
If you’re considering the latter, though, it pays to study up and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. I know it can be easy to get lured into a stubble-free life but it’s important that you do your research and choose the kind of laser treatment that is right for you and your skin. I went under the laser (for research, obvs) and here’s my guide for things to consider:
1. IPL vs Laser
Before you book any appointments, make sure you’re aware of the difference between these two as it is often mistaken that they are the same treatment that lead to the same results – WRONG. Although they both work on the same principle (using heat to damage the hair follicles and therefore slow the growth or eradicate it completely), the light sources are different. IPL uses a light source that targets a broader area which means that it will cover a larger area of the skin. With IPL, then, it does mean that you might need more sessions because it’s not as concentrated. Laser, however, targets smaller, more specific areas of the skin. This also means it protects the skin more from damage that can be caused by laser hair removal treatments.
2. Choose a laser treatment that is right for your skin tone
Now this one is SUPER IMPORTANT. The last thing you want is some serious skin damage as a result of not choosing the right kind of laser for your skin tone. Initially, the first laser hair removal machines didn’t have the ability to distinguish between lighter and darker skin tones. This would result in permanent white looking spots and burns on darker skin tones. Luckily, technology has progressed in the last decade and there are now options for everyone. Yay! Darker skin tones should go for a laser called “Nd: Yag” which allows hair to be treated without damaging the natural beautiful color of the skin.
3. It might sound painful, but it’s really not that bad
I know, I know – we’ve all got different thresholds of pain but there’s a difference between excruciating pain and something that feels a little uncomfortable at first. Most lasers these days are accompanied by a cooling mechanism (basically a constant blast of cold air that follows the laser wherever it may be pointing on your skin) so that really helps. Other lasers might require a cooling gel to be applied to the skin before the treatment is carried out. This is also effective and reduces risk of heat damaged skin.
However, be prepared for some areas on the body to feel a little more painful than others. People tend to feel slightly more discomfort on skin which is thinner like the upper lip and where there is thicker hair at first. if you’re worried about the pain, always express this to your laser therapist to ensure they can make you feel comfortable.
4. Try to avoid exposing your laser treated skin to the sun
Your therapist will advise whether this is necessary for you but you might need to be mindful about how much sun exposure your skin is getting. After laser, your skin is more vulnerable to UV rays so it’s a good idea to let your laser therapist know if you’ve got any beach holidays coming up! Stay safe homies.
5. You’ve got to shave or trim the hair before your appointment
It’s usually advised that you shave the hair 24 hours before your scheduled treatment. This will make sure that the hair doesn’t get in the way of area of the body that is being treated and there’ll be no awful hair-burning smell.
6. No waxing, hair removal creams, or plucking in between treatments
All of these hair removal methods get in the way of the laser treatment doing it’s job. If you do want to be hair free in between treatments, go down the shaving route.
7. No garam showers for at least 24 hours after treatment
Best to wash your long locks and scrub your body before your treatment. The heat from laser hair removal stays in your skin for 24 hours so don’t do anything that will increase your body heat. Gym workouts, saunas and steam rooms, therefore, should also be avoided. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a nice snuggly environment for bacteria to grow and give you spots. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
8. Laser treatment can sometimes trigger more growth
Granted, this is rare, but it is possible. If you’re finding that this is the case, make sure you speak to your laser therapist to discuss your options.
9. You’ll need a course of treatments. Bas aik toh enough nahi hai
Unfortunately for our purses, one treatment isn’t enough. Usually, it takes a course of six to eight treatments to get the results you would want. It can take longer, though, and you have to be consistent. After you’re happy with the reduction of your hair, you might decide to just go for top-up treatments every now and then or just manage it yourself with other hair removal methods. However, you will see a significant reduction in hair growth with every treatment so chalo, patience is a virtue!
10. Your appointment can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour
This really depends on the size of the area that you’re getting treated. Areas like your face or underarms can be quite quick whereas legs and arms can take longer. Take some headphones, a book or watch your fave Netflix show during the longer appointments and you’re good to go!
11. Laser hair removal is NOT permanent
Despite the claims that lots of salons and clinics will make, it cannot be firmly said that laser hair removal gets rid of hair permanently. All of our bodies are different and the results of hair removal really depend on a few factors like hormone levels and thickness of the hair. That said, the majority of people do see a significant reduction in hair growth overall. Always a bright side, eh!
With all of this in mind, remember to always have a clear and open consultation with your laser therapist before you begin your course of treatments. Better to be safe than sorry, na!
Got any other advice to add? Feel free to comment below to let us know.
This Student From Karachi Boldly Challenged The Concept Of Female Body Hair And It’s Absolutely Brilliant
Cover image via w24.co.za (via iStock)