Hair Removal Methods Compared

When I first realized that I would need to deal with this excess hair I was growing on my top lip, I chose to bleach it. What I didn’t know back then was putting inflammatory products like hair bleach onto my skin and then getting any sun exposure, would create patches of pigment on my skin that lasted for many years.

Of course, I went through the plucking phase which took hours and left my skin in a bumpy mess. Shaving seemed to be the only solution. So I hid in the bathroom, 16 years old, lathered up and removed my facial hair just like my father. Niiiice.


I did try waxing my chin and bikini once and that was all I could handle.

Then I was alerted to electrolysis. This was a difficult method that required multiple, long, painful sessions of a nice but obsessive technician attempting to kill the root of my hair follicles by sticking a  needle down the shaft and running an electric current through it. I still have small pock marks along my jawline where some of the tissue around the follicle also died and created scars.

Finally the laser hair removal machine was created and it was seriously expensive. I needed to come up with about $2000 up front to be hair free and unfortunately I didn’t have that sitting in the bank. It would be many years before the market became more competitive and I was able to get it done.

Best decision ever!

What Hair Removal Methods Do People Choose Today?

Laser hair removal has come so far so fast and there are probably a hundred different machines that will do the trick. But which ones are best?

As a laser technician at this point in my life (ironic huh?), I have used IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) for hair removal and although reviews are mixed, I did find it to be effective. It is best for lighter skin types with dark hair and cannot be used on tanned skin. It is also not a laser although many salons and clinic’s advertise it as one.

The general consensus is that the long pulsed Nd:YAG laser is best for darker skin types and the Lumenis Lightsheer (Diode) is best for lighter skin types. The Alexandrite Laser was excellent but there are very few around now.


I have been working with the Syneron Elos Laser hair removal system, which is a combination of diode laser and radio-frequency. The concept being that the laser heats up the hair follicle and the radio frequency works with the diode to attack the hair from inside and outside. Although the radio-frequency can be a bit ‘spicy’ (it’s a similar technology to the Thermage for skin tightening), the hair removal seems comparable to the other’s mentioned.

Remember, when it comes to hair removal being permanent, 80% hair reduction is considered a good result. You will probably never get rid of every hair. You will need 6-10 treatments and will lose about 15% of the hair each treatment as it can only be removed when in the growing phase. We have no way of knowing which hairs are in that phase at the time of the treatment but it is estimated that about 15% will be each time you come in. That is why multiple treatments are needed. We continually treat the area every 6-8 weeks until we have caught most of the hair in its growing stage.

I have yet to hear about a completely painless laser for hair removal although everyone claims to have one. If the clinic doesn’t provide numbing cream for your treatment, buy some, put it on and cover the area in sticky saran wrap an hour before your appointment. Don’t use more than is recommended on the packaging as it can be toxic when over-used.

Some lasers have a cooling system built in but a little extra numbing is the way to go.

I recommend you avoid the super deals you see advertised unless they are from a doctor’s clinic. There are risks of burning the skin with all hair removal systems and if a complication should arise, you want to be sure to get the medical care of the doctor who runs that cosmetic treatments clinic.

by M. Wally

Age is a state of mind. Aging is treatablele condition.

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