Home Laser Hair Removal: Does it Work?

So you’ve decided to upgrade from shaving or waxing, but, like so many others, you’re looking for the easiest, most convenient way to get rid of unwanted hair. While it might be tempting to have a DIY laser delivered to your front door, there are some things you should definitely leave to the professionals (like tanning machines, acupuncture, and definitely laser hair removal).

But you’re not quite sure whether you should shift to an in-spa treatment or still maintain the DIY route at home. Laser hair removal is all the rage these days, and now you can even do it from the convenience of your own home. But is at-home laser hair removal really a good idea? Here’s what you need to know before you head down this path.

What is laser hair removal?

The goal of laser hair removal is to use precise light wavelengths to target the melanin in your hair. Doing this changes the follicle, ensuring that it produces hair less frequently and that it grows thinner. Depending on your skin type, certain wavelengths are better suited to targeting your hair than others. So regardless of whether you opt for a professional or at-home treatment, you need to pay special attention to the type of wavelengths being used to ensure the best results and the lowest chance of adverse reactions.

What’s the difference between at-home and professional laser hair removal?

Besides the obvious quality and safety benefits of having someone trained and experienced in laser hair removal treatments work on your skin, there are three particular differences I want to draw your attention to regarding the technology.

1. The energy used for at-home devices is usually much weaker. Part of this is because it reduces the risk of accidentally injuring yourself. But this also means that it will take longer to get any kind of results, if any, as opposed to treatments from an esthetician, which can usually be completed within roughly six weeks.

2. Many DIY laser hair removal devices that are designed for at-home use aren’t true lasers but rather rely on Intense Pulse Light (IPL) technology. With IPL, the targeting is less precise. So, rather than solely focusing on the melanin in the hair shaft, the pigment in the surrounding skin may also be impacted. IPL can cause adverse reactions because of that lack of targeting, especially for people with darker skin tones.

3. Consider how difficult shaving and waxing already are. For treatments like waxing that cause pain, the whole process can feel excruciatingly long when you constantly have to psyche yourself up to make each rip. And even after years of shaving, do you still find occasional patches you accidentally missed? Imagine how much harder it would be to get every hair while wielding a bulky laser, especially for areas you can’t directly see.

How do I know if at-home laser hair removal is right for me?

Unless you happen to have a trained esthetician and professional laser in your home, chances are, it’s not going to end up the way you’d hope. DIY laser and IPL treatments are especially poor options for:

●    People darker than olive skin tones. These individuals are not good candidates for IPL- based devices, and the majority of true home laser hair removal options are not properly calibrated past olive skin tones to effectively differentiate between the melanin in your hair versus the melanin in your skin, which can lead to burning and irritation.

●    People with blonde, white, or gray hair. Once again, the lack of contrast between hair and skin will make at-home lasers even less effective than normal.

●    People focused on hair removal for the face or bikini. These are delicate areas to practice on if you’re not experienced with laser hair removal.

Anything else I should know?

While you may be able to get some kind of results with at-home laser hair removal treatments, much of that success is based on having a specific combination of skin and hair types and some form of experience working with a laser. Even with the best DIY laser, however, results are never guaranteed.

If the idea of managing all of the recommended guidelines and self-inflicting discomfort is a bit much for you, if you’re a person with darker skin, or you want to target sensitive areas then professional laser hair removal treatments are a smarter, more reliable, and safer option for you.

For more information about laser technology: