Removing unwanted body hair is a tedious and expensive task. If you are one of those people who opt for waxing, then you know how painful – and sometimes, uncomfortable – the procedure can be. Or, if you are among those who prefer shaving, there is a relatively high chance that you have nicked yourself once or twice with a too-sharp blade. The two scenarios are common and if you are quite unlucky, you have might have even experienced both.
Thanks to innovative aesthetic procedures and treatments, there are now a lot of options for removing body hair. Depilatory creams can dissolve unwanted hair in a few minutes, but most people are put off by its unpleasant smell. Threading is easy, quick, and involves no chemical on the skin; however, since the process causes several hair to be pulled out at a time, it is more painful that waxing. Sugaring or waxing is good alternative because it snatches the hair at the root so it does not grow back for weeks, but aside from being known as painful, those who have tried it can testify how itchy the skin will be when the hair starts to grow back. There is also a long-lasting procedure called electrolysis which uses a fine needle to send an electric current to each hair follicle. The method effectively kills hair follicles but it is as equally painful and time-consuming as any other hair removal procedure.
This brings us to laser hair removal, one of the most effective options to remove unwanted hair. It uses a concentrated beam of light – a laser – to damage the hair follicle and to subsequently inhibit or delay future hair growth. This procedure is applied to different body areas such as armpits, legs, upper lip, bikini line, and chin. Laser hair removal is so popular nowadays that many A-listers have become avid supporters of the treatment. Some of the celebrities who have embraced laser hair removal include Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Chrissy Teigen, and Kanye West.
Their decision to avail laser hair removal treatment makes sense because these people are working in an industry that requires them to look picture-perfect and flawless all the time. Moreover, celebrities’ schedules are notoriously jam-packed that a trip to a waxing salon or shaving between photo shoots and whatnot, seem like an impossible feat.
Available Laser Hair Removal Procedures
There are currently three permanent procedures for laser hair removal in Singapore:
- Alexandrite Laser. This uses 755-nm wavelength to treat far to mid-toned skin with medium to coarse dark hair.
- Diode Laser. This uses 800 – 810-nm wavelength to treat mid-toned skin with dark fine hair.
- Nd:YAG Laser. This uses 1064-nm wavelength to treat darker skin types with coarse hair.
Varying factors like hair colour and skin type influence the success of the treatment. It is the pigment of the hair and not the pigment of the skin that is supposed to absorb the light, which reinforces the principle that the laser should only cause destruction to the hair follicle while simultaneously avoiding any skin damage. A contrast between hair and skin colour, therefore, produces the best results.
If you are interested in any of the laser hair removal procedures above, you may call Dr Edwin Lim’s Clinic for more information.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Before you sign up for a session, let us take a look at the good and bad side of laser hair removal in Singapore.
- While the procedure does not guarantee total and permanent removal of unwanted hair, laser hair removal is effective in reducing hair growth – up to a point where you do not need to shave or wax anymore.
- It is possible to have laser hair removal done on any part of the body as the machine that performs the procedure can cover large areas fast.
- The pain level caused by laser hair removal is relatively low and continues to get less painful after each session.
- A laser hair removal session takes about a minute but multiple sessions are needed to get actual results. The number of sessions depends on the size of the area and you need to wait for about six weeks between each session.
- The procedure is costly. The standard rate is anywhere between $150 to $400 per session.
- Since coarse and dark hair responds better to laser than light and fine hair, laser hair removal is more suitable for fair skin with dark hair than for those with darker skin. If you have a darker skin type, you need to find a facility that offers certain lasers like the Nd:YAG, which is capable of making a better distinction between hair and skin types.
- There’s the risk of burns and scars on the skin if the procedure is performed by an untrained technician. Skin irritation and pigment changes are also some of the known side effects.
How to Prepare
If you have decided on laser hair removal, the first thing you need to consider is finding a board-certified doctor or facility with a specialty in dermatology or cosmetic surgery and has intensive experience with laser hair removal.
Prior to the procedure, schedule an appointment with the doctor to identify the best laser hair removal option for you. You can discuss the treatment plan and related costs during the consultation. A set of instructions will be also be provided to prepare you for laser hair removal. These include:
- Avoiding sun exposure. You need to stay out of the sun at least six weeks before treatment. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen for protection every time you leave the house.
- Avoiding waxing and plucking. You should limit waxing, plucking and electrolysis at least four weeks before the first laser session starts.
- Avoiding certain medications. Blood-thinning medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin should be avoided before the procedure.
- Shaving the area. You are encouraged to trim and shave the area where the laser treatment will be applied. This can be done a day before the procedure.
After a day or two, the treated part of your skin will look and feel sunburned. Using ice compress and moisturizers are recommended to alleviate discomfort. Your treated hair will not fall out immediately, but it will shed over the next month. Repeated treatments are necessary because the laser treatment is most effective with hair follicles in the new-growth phase.
Edwin Lim Medical Aesthetic Clinic
#02-12/13 Changi City Point,
5 Changi Business Park Central 1,
+65 6904 2218