#Health and Hygiene

Girl Talk: Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?

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Girl Talk: Is laser hair removal safe? How does it work? What are the side-effects? Today we address all your questions, those coming in from our viewers.

#GirlTalk is SheThePeople’s advice column. Have a question? Send it to us [email protected] – It can be anonymous if you’d like it that way. Women from different walks of life share advice and their personal experience to help you overcome your own inhibitions.

Dear Girl Talk,

It would not be an understatement to say that I am absolutely sick of monthly visits to the salon to get my body hair waxed off. I do feel comfortable now, or maybe it’s society’s conditioning, without hair on my body. With a lot of arm or leg hair, I feel conscious. But the pain and effort of waxing or razor is just too much to bear. That’s why I wanted to remove all the hair once and for all with laser treatment. Is laser hair removal safe to turn to? Which body parts are laser hair removal effective on? 

– Miss Hairy Fairy

Dear Miss Hairy Fairy, 

Though body hair is completely natural – and having or not having it should not define beauty standards – feeling conscious of it is also very natural today. Like you said, it’s the conditioning women grow up with, of being sleek-skinned and bare-bodied for the benefit of the male gaze. But every day, women are reclaiming the space of body hair, and it is now a choice that signifies agency. So for starters, there should be no guilt in wanting to go hair-free if that’s what makes you more confident about yourself. 

Now that we’ve crossed that bridge, let’s evaluate: Is laser hair removal safe? What exactly is it? Is it the answer to those big, hairy problems? How good is it an alternative to other techniques like waxing or hair removal creams? 

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work? 

Laser hair removal is understood as a medical technique to remove body hair by way of using concentrated laser to impact the hair follicles where hair stems from. Dr Tanaya, millennial doctor who also goes by the moniker Dr Cuterus, explains, “What laser treatment does is instead of trimming hair on the skin surface, it uses a laser beam to kill the hair follicle.” 

She adds that prior to a laser hair removal, the professional carrying out the process will ask you to shave your body hair where laser treatment is due. Waxing or epilator is not recommended, only razor shaving. Because you want the roots of the hair to be present during laser treatment.

What does the laser process look like? Does it hurt? Is laser hair removal safe on the skin? Everything to know 

As per Mayo Clinic, the laser targets the ‘melanin’ pigment in your skin. The light emitted transforms to heat that further affects the hair follicles where hair grows. Though this is not always a permanent solution for hair removal, laser hair treatment keeps body hair away for way longer periods than waxing or shaving. 

Dr Tanaya also notes that since melanin is the chief factor, “the ideal candidate for getting laser hair removal is someone with light skin and dark hair.” Although that does not mean people with other hair-skin tone combinations cannot get laser hair removal. “Speak to your licensed doctor, professional, or aesthetician to find out if you are the right candidate.” 

Is Laser Hair Removal Safe For Pubic Area? 

Before proceeding to get your pubic hair lasered off, you should know the first say in how to care down there or how you want it to look should ideally belong to you. Laser hair removal on the pubic area shouldn’t be a decision forced on you by a partner because it pleases them in bed. 

That said, it is safe to get laser hair removal procedures done on your pubic area, provided that proper consultation and hygiene precedes the actual treatment. More on the best ways to keep your pubic area hair-free.

Though laser hair removal is a largely safe procedure, like all processes that entail artificial changes in the body, it can inspire some side effects. Getting laser may cause burns on the skin, hypo or hyperpigmentation that affects skin colour, and scars. Be sure to consult your doctor or laser professional in case of these. 

Other key points to note:

  • Laser hair removal is not a one-time affair and will require multiple sittings (anywhere between six to 20 sessions)
  • Hair will not vanish overnight. But initial sittings will show hair thinning. 
  • Since skin will be sensitive after laser hair removal, do not go out in the sun or for a swim for at least 24 hours post-treatment. 
  • Laser hair removal is not always a permanent solution for going hairless. Removed hair may return after a few years or grow slowly.
  • There is no shame in keeping or removing your body hair. It’s a choice.

Watch Dr Tanaya explain laser hair removal on SheThePeople: 

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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