I have been provided free laser hair removal sessions in exchange for my honest reviews.
It’s been about seven months since I first started getting laser hair removal treatments done at NuAGE Laser in downtown Vancouver. Since then, I’ve been asked a billion different questions about my experience as there is quite a fear around having it done for a lot of people (I was one of those people at the beginning of this experience, too!). I figured that now that I’m five or so treatments in (I’ve lost count, haha), it’s probably a good time to get some of your questions answered by the expert, Ellie at NuAGE Laser. Here we go!
How long do the effects last?
The effects can last for many years! The best way to make the effects last forever is to do another treatment as new hairs grow. This can be 1 – 2 treatments per year.
What are the potential side effects?
The main one to be of concern is possible burns. Although they are primarily superficial and should heal within 6 – 12 months, it’s important to find out which laser device is ideal for your skin type and seek treatment at laser facilities that carry multiple devices as opposed to just one.
- Burns: Most burns are caused by having insufficient parameters. These parameters are preset on the five different devices that are on the market, and there is an ideal parameter for each skin type. The other causes for burns are medication that causes the skin to be light sensitive and skin products that thin out the skin (such as Retin-A).
- Not working at all: Sometimes certain health conditions or medication can cause rapid hair growth (such as hyperthyroid). Another reason for ineffective treatment is the color of the hair. Some hairs are blond at the root, which make it hard for the laser to see where to aim, ending in a treatment that is not effective.
- Itchy skin: As hair grows, it produces oils which moisturize the skin. When the hairs no longer grow, the skin can get dry and itchy. You may put moisturizer on to relieve dry skin.
What different types of laser hair removal are there?
Five systems are used for permanent hair removal:
Ruby: Ideal for skin type 1 – 2
Alexandrite: Ideal for skin type 1 – 4
Diode: Ideal for skin type 1 – 4
ND:YAG: Ideal for skin type 5 – 6
IPL: Can range from skin type 1 – 4
Find out which skin type you are before you go for laser.
What should you look for when choosing a business (ie: BBB accreditation, certification, regulations)?
The most important component of choosing the right place for your laser hair removal treatments is to pick a place that carries more than one device. Most burns are caused by insufficient parameters (see above), and so one single device simply doesn’t do it.
The second component is your technician. He or she should be able to thoroughly explain the treatment and contraindications (“a specific situation in which a drug, procedure or surgery should not be used because it may be harmful to the person.” I had to look it up because I didn’t know what it meant, haha). They should ask you questions about your health, medication and skin care products at each and every session in order to protect you.
Lastly, pick a place that is trusted by others, is able to provide you knowledge and education, and is easy to get ahold of. Our number one priority at NuAGE Laser is customer care as this way we can ensure that our clients receive safe and effective treatments.
Do you have to let hair grow out before removal?
Not at all, you can in fact shave as frequently as you’d like- although you wont need to do much of it. Chelsea’s note: shave it all right before your treatment. I will literally do it a couple of hours before treatment. I’ll explain more in the “does it hurt?” question below!
If the hair comes back, what should you do?
So long as we’re alive and healthy, our body renews itself. When some hair follicles are damaged, new ones can replace them. You can expect 10 – 30% new hair growth per year, and this is dependent on your age, hormones and metabolism.
If you have new hair growth, you simply need to touch up with one single treatment. Alternatively, you can wait 5 – 6 years and do a series of treatments then. Most of us want to maintain our hair-free care-free life, so we recommend 1 – 2 treatments per year. Eventually, you will run out of hair follicles and you’ll no longer need to maintain.
Does it work on blond/red hair?
As long as the hairs have some pigment, permanent hair removal can be achieved. Some blond hairs are transparent or too fine, and they are not seen by laser and may or may not be treated.
Laser hair removal for those with red hair is tricky. Depending on the coarseness and color of the hair, you may or may not get good results. We suggest a consultation and possibly 1 – 2 treatments. If you do not get the results that should be expected, you can simply stop treatment.
Does laser hair removal work on darker skin tones?
Yes, it does! With the ND:YAG laser, we’re able to treat darker skin types.
How many sessions does it usually take for full removal?
For women with regular hair patterns: 6 – 8 sessions
For women with hormonal hair growth (such as coarse hairs on the chin and face): 10 – 12 sessions
For men with regular hair patterns: 8 – 10 sessions
For men with heavier/more dense hair patterns: 10 – 12 sessions
Is it safe to have laser hair removal treatments while pregnant/breastfeeding?
Laser hair removal has no direct side effects on pregnancy. However, our belief is that pain and discomfort should be avoided while pregnant, so our suggestion is to wait to start/complete permanent hair removal until after pregnancy. Laser hair removal is also fine while breastfeeding, but we recommend our clients to not use topical anesthetics, as they can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Aaaand, the question you’ve all been waiting for (also the only question that I can answer from my own experience, haha)…
Does laser hair removal hurt?
Not really. I’m not going to say it’s completely painless, because there is the occasional “ouch” moment, but it’s really Ellie’s top priority to make sure your comfortable and that it’s never painful. My top trick to minimize pain is to shave right before your appointment. The pain you may feel is essentially just the hairs that you didn’t shave off burning due to the heat of the laser, so the closer you shave, the less likely you are to feel anything.
I don’t think I’ve ever had any pain whatsoever in the underarm area, because it’s so easy to get a super close shave, but in the bikini area where it’s harder to get a closer shave, I have felt a little pain. It’s honestly nothing unbearable, and it’s not a lingering pain at all. It’s just a one second thing that doesn’t hurt anymore as soon as that one second is over. For the record, I am a HUUUUGE baby with pain (see my first post on laser hair removal for more on my experience), and I can handle this no problem. If you still are freaking out about pain, you can get topical numbing creams as well, but I have never used them and if I don’t need them, you probably won’t either, haha.
I will be doing another post on my laser hair removal experience in the next month or so, with an update on how it’s going (hint: it’s freaking amazing. I need my legs done ASAP!) and some more info on and photos of NuAGE Laser. If you are in the Lower Mainland, I couldn’t recommend visiting NuAGE Laser enough… and with summer just around the corner, now is definitely the time!