Some DIY beauty tricks are totally worth it. You can save time and money by dyeing your roots or plucking your brows in the comfort of your bathroom. But laser hair removal?
While the procedure used to only be available in the dermatologist’s office, these days you can buy small devices to zap away hair yourself.
But before you kiss your razor goodbye, find out what dermatologist Rachel Ward, MD, has to say about the safety and effectiveness of these devices.
Permanent hair removal
Laser hair removal devices work by killing the hair follicle. But hair grows in cycles, and the lasers only damage follicles during an active cycle of hair growth. So it takes multiple treatments, about a month apart, to completely stop hair from regrowing.
For some people, laser hair removal is not entirely permanent. You might need a maintenance treatment every year or so to keep stray hairs from cropping up.
The process doesn’t come cheap. Professional laser hair removal can cost a couple hundred bucks per treatment, and it might take half a dozen sessions (or more) to knock out every follicle. You could rack up more than a thousand dollars in pursuit of a bald bikini line.
Meanwhile, you can order an at-home hair removal laser for somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 or $500. At first glance, it seems like a better investment. But there are some important caveats, Dr. Ward says.
At-home laser hair removal: Pros and cons
There are two types of at-home devices for hair removal. One is a true laser, and the other uses intense pulsed light. Both types remove hair, and both are less powerful than the device you’ll find at the dermatologist’s office, Dr. Ward explains.