Laser Hair Removal – Worth Another Chance?

Categories: Laser Hair Removal
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laser hair removalI wrote a not so glowing review of laser hair removal recently, but I am still considering getting it again. The theory of laser hair removal is great – imagine never having to shave again – but the reality is that the hair will probably come back, so you don’t see permanent results. Laser hair removal reminds me of people’s obsession (myself included) with buying new beauty products. We keep buying new wrinkle creams and firming potions, knowing that the new item probably won’t miraculously get rid of our wrinkles and make us look 16 again, but what if it does? Or it’s like people that gamble, even though they never win – you’re bound to win the Megabucks one of these times, right?

Even though I don’t think laser hair removal is permanent, what if it is? I would hate to miss out! Or even if I saw a permanent reduction of 50% of my hair, that’s enough for me to get it again, because that’s better than nothing. I’m mostly interested in doing hair removal on my bikini area, and I’ve given up on other areas since I’m not real concerned about them. If you read the Real Self site, you will see that most readers think the treatment is worth it. I have a feeling most of these reviews were written right after the person was done with their treatments, so this was before the hair had a chance to come back. I also want to do hair removal again because, despite the pain, it’s sort of fun. I like seeing the hair fall out a few weeks later. I like experimenting with beauty treatments, and I want to know first-hand if they work. Since I know laser hair removal probably isn’t permanent, I’ll be sad if all the hair comes back, but I won’t be surprised, since I will sort of be expecting it.

Before I get laser hair removal again, here’s what I will do:
-Research different types of lasers and try to find out definitively which ones give the best results. This will involve me reading up on the internet about people’s accounts with different lasers. At this point I think Palomar and Lightsheer are good brands, and I will see if there are any other brands to consider.

-See if I can find a place that offers either a money-back guarantee, or a lifetime guarantee. Since I don’t think laser hair removal is permanent, it would be great if I could get ongoing treatments. This way I could do my initial 6 treatments, but then always go back if more hair comes in. I stopped by my old Medical Spa today, and couldn’t believe it when I found out the spa now offers free lifetime touchups, if you buy a package of 8! The price is a little more expensive than before, but this is a great value. The only catch is that spas are a pretty tough business, and I seriously doubt the company will be around in 5 years, let alone 2 years. So that’s a big gamble. I’ll also get this lifetime guarantee or money-back guarantee in writing.

-See if I can buy a package of treatments and pay each visit, rather than all at once. This is doubtful, but this way if a place does go out of business, I’m not out any money. Otherwise I will buy the whole package on my credit card, but if the company does go out of business, I doubt I’d be able to chargeback the sale to your credit card more than 6 months after the purchase.

-When I find the place to get my treatments, I will ask about the technicians and go with someone that has been doing laser hair removal for at least a few years. Remember that lasers can burn you, so you want someone with experience treating you.

-I’ll make sure I’m not on any photo-sensitizing medications before I start my treatments. I’m not planning on getting pregnant, but you can’t get laser treatments while pregnant, and since the whole process takes about a year, this is something some women will need to consider.

-To get a good deal, I’ll go to the spa toward the end of the month, when the sales associates are trying to make their month-end quota. If I can’t get a good deal then, I’ll ask for them to call me if they have new promotions in the future, or I’ll check back periodically until I find a great deal. I wrote that I can’t afford Botox right now (I can’t really afford laser treatments either), but if I came into some money, I might get a bigger discount if I buy Botox and laser treatments together. Finally, in the vein of getting rid of unwanted body issues, I wrote a post about stretch mark removal as well.

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28 Responses to “Laser Hair Removal – Worth Another Chance?”

  1. Susan Says:

    I don’t know that much about it, but do some research–I do specifically remember hearing a few years back that there was something on the market that was gaining a lot of popularity that did not in fact really work very well. And I’m *pretty* sure that was the thing you were talking about before. (IPL or something, wasn’t it?) It’s not really the same thing as laser, which is more expensive but supposedly works better.

    Take with a grain of salt, of course; I’m not in the income bracket to have it done myself at this point.

  2. Makeup and Beauty Blog Says:

    […] Laser Hair Removal – Worth Another Chance? […]

  3. Kris Madison Says:

    What do you think about electrolysis? I really need to do something to fix my bikini line and have been going back and forth between laser or electrolysis. I constantly get razor burn and can’t let the hair grow for weeks before i can wax. Bikini model pics with red bumps or quarter inch growth? Not good!

    I talked to a dermatologist at the medical center at the University of Edmonton last year. I’d gone in just to have some moles checked out and was intrigued that they also do Botox, laser hair removal etc. I guess the med school uses it for research and for teaching, so they weren’t pushing sales quotas at all.

    The woman I had my consultation with told me not to bother getting the laser since my hair is light brown with some red in it. But, like you, I don’t want to give up on the dream either! =)

  4. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    Hi Kris,
    From what I’ve heard electrolysis works really well, and the results are permanent. However it hurts A LOT! And you need a lot of sessions to complete the treatment. I haven’t seen any ads in years for electrolysis, but I’m sure it’s still being done.

    For laser hair removal, it doesn’t work well on blonde/gray/white or red hair. If your hair is darker than your skin, you might see some results. Certain types of lasers (like the Palomar brand) are supposed to work on red hair, but our clients didn’t see good results. It’s hard to tell how your results will be. You would probably need twice the treatments to see half the results. Or you could get lucky, and see results better than that. If you have the extra money, it might be worth it to try, because it won’t hurt nearly as bad as electrolysis. And maybe you can find a place that offers a lifetime guarantee. I’ll send you an email with some more info right now.

  5. shelly Says:

    I just wanted to let you know about my HORRIFIC experience with laser hair removal. I’ve had total of two treatments and never went back. The reason I never went back…I was BURNED! ! My first treatment was for my underarms. It went well and the pain was tolerable. I even noticed some hair had fallen off. This gave me such great hope. The idea that I would never have to shave again was so wonderful. The dermatologist ( yes, the dermatologist!) had set the laser to the lowest setting to see how my skin would react during the first treatment. Apparently, the laser that was used on me was appropirate for darker skin ( I have medium brown skin) and there was no need for concern. I was, after all in the hands of a trained dermatologist ( so I thought). The second treament was 4 months later. The dermatologist raised the level of the setting ( not very significantly) so that the laser would be more effective. It hurt like crazy this time, it really felt like sharp, small, burns each time he shot the probe. I needed a break each time he did it. This time around he also did my lower back . My lower back was unbearable. I was literally being burned and didn’t realize it at the time. When it was all done, I questioned the doctor as to whether I should be in this much pain. He said it was normal and should subside by the night. He gave me some over the counter painkillers for the pain. I couldn’t even put my shirt back on and had to sit in the examining room with a small fan to my back to relieve the burning. It was painful to drive home and I couldn’t lean against the car seat. When I got home I realized that something was wrong, I was in soo much pain fromt he burn, I decided to check out my back. And there they were, black circles all over my lower back ( 12 in all) . The circles were a result of the shape of the laser probe. The black color- result of the skin being burned. I called the doctor back immediately, he said I might just have hives, put some ice on it. These were no hives. I went back to the same dermatological center the next day , to see a doctor ( the doctor who performed the treament was not working that day ). This doctor took a look at my back and said they were “hyperpigmentation” scars and that I must have exposed my skin to sunlight somehow. I said that was impossible, seeing as how my treatment was over at 8 pm the night before and the black circle appeared on my skin less than half hour after my treatment. The next day , all the black cirlces blistered up, and started to ooze. My doctor told me that my main concern now would be risk of infection. I wanted to cry, I did cry, I cried for a good week, until the blisters fell off, revealing Pink skin underneath. Keep in mind, I have medium brown skin. That was not all. I also had black burns on my underarms. These looked more like circlular cigrattee burns. The pink of the cirlces eventually faded to a lighter brown( still about 2-3 shades lighter than my skin tone). Now I’m left with cirlces on my lower back, that are still visible.
    I know that people have gotten great results with this treatment. I regret ever getting the procedure done, now I’m scarred for life. If you want take the risk of being burned, then it’s up to you. By the way , the make you sign a release form, so that in case something goes wrong, blame can’t be placed on them. I couldn’t even sue the doctor. I pretty much felt helpless and angry at myself for getting myself into the position. You know that saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, It applies to these types of procedures. The risks far outweigh any of the benefits. I’d rather wax /shave for the rest of my life than to live with these scars.

  6. Sarah Says:

    Hey. Just thought i’d let you know it doesn’t work. I have tried both ipl and lazer. Spent nearly 2000 pounds on just the face area and it has all grown back (just a little less thick). I have the best skin n hair for lazer. Very white skin and black hair. I have no hormone problems (i was tested). it does not work. while you are doing it…it’s amazing…between treatments i didint have 2 shave at all. i 4got i had a hair problem. but 10 treatments down the line (i did lazer after ipl) yr meant to see results. they said thats enough. 2 weeks later…the hair has grown back. everywhere. the fear has returned. i cant afford to keep paying. i’v resorted to bleaching it. i look stupid. i’m miserable. i assure you. it does not work.

  7. chris Says:

    Hello, i myself being a man am also very intrested to know if laser hair removal realy works, as the expence of the treatment is huge, i started saving about a year ago as i was told that after just 6 treatment and a top up for the reamaing left over hairs the result would be perament but would have the odd hair grow back, so i saved £3000 as i worked out this would be enouth for all the treatments and would get a discount, i have phoned the clinic and now they tell me that it is not a “FOREVER” permanent treatment and that it “Will” grow back, i have been saved from blowing what is to myself a lot of money, i dont see the point in geting it done now, i understand how you ladies feel, but its not all that bad, my girlfriend doesnt like a hairy back and buttocks so i have agreed to let her wax it off, i have just excepted the fact that at this date there is no fix, and would just like to say to every one out there please dont be fooled into parting with you hard earned cash on false info that you will be cured for life of your hair, having hair doesnt make a woman any less actrative than a woman who hasnt any, i like my girlfriends body hair she has fine hair on her arms and lower back and loads around her private, i really dont see the problem i like her body hair, hope this has been of any help Chris

  8. Emmy Says:

    I had a similar experience to Shelly. Although my underams were fine, my lower legs are all scarred. They keep telling me it will go to normal eventually. It has been 5 years now! I have tiger stripes all down both my lower legs so I keep them covered up as it looks horrid. I was offered some more laser treatment to get rid of the dark marks (I would have to pay for it) but hey I’m not going near those lasers again!

  9. EM Says:

    Every time I go in for my hair removal treatment, I tell the nurse that I have not been getting the desired results. I like to think that I am pretty realistic person, so I knew total hair loss wouldn’t be possible, but if I end up with less hair, then I would be a happy camper. Well, I am of hispanic heritage, and the nurses at the spa always say I’m one of those “in between” skin types, and they are never sure on what type of laser to use or what setting. So, all my treatments have been “experimental” so it seems. I have been burned by the laser, but thankfully not to the extent of blistering. I do have some lighter skin in those areas where those slight burns were, and I think for me, it may return to my normal skin tone (very grateful). I have gotten treatments on my face, arms, underarms, back and chest, and have seen no real results after 5 treatments given every 3 to 5 months apart. On the contrary, the hair on my face and arms seems to have grown out longer and more noticeable than before. I am more embarrassed now than before I started my treatments. What’s interesting is that I have a twin sister and we are both pretty much the same, so I can compare myself to her, and now I look tons times hairier than she. I never shaved or waxed before in fear that the hair would only grow back more noticeable, but in the end, that is the result I’m getting. I still have 2 additional “touch up” treatments, so I guess I’ll take them, but not sure. It’s been almost a year and a half since I started my treatments, and In the end, I don’t care about the 4 hair-free weeks between each session, but rather I am looking for long term results and have not gotten any so far.

  10. shelly Says:

    Dear Emmy:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your horrible experience. I know first hand how you feel. It leaves you feeling helpless and angry at yourself for even having the procedure done.
    My scars are still visible and I have to live with them ,as you do. I just try to keep the area moisturized with cocco butter and fading lotions, and of course covered up because I’m extremely self-conscious about them.

    Like Chris said, the results are NOT permananet, laser is not proven to remove hair permanently, it will only slow it down. The hair will return eventually, but very fine.
    Don’t waste your money. These people who have had laser done, will find out eventually when the hair starts to grow back. Nothing is proven to stop hair growth. Do the research and you’ll see for yourself.

  11. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    I’m sorry you aren’t getting good results, and that doesn’t seem right that you would get burned during your treatment. Usually you are supposed to go 4-8 weeks between treatments, not 3-5 months. That way you can more effectively target the hair in each growth cycle, which should give better results.

    It’s extremely rare, but there have been instances where laser hair removal actually promotes hair growth, thus actually making the hair grow more, not less. From what I’ve read, it usually happens to people with a skin type 4 (which is probably what you are, since you said you have a Hispanic background). If there is more than one nurse working at the place you go to, I would ask to see someone else that is more experienced. Otherwise, after the touch-ups, if you still haven’t see results, I would ask for my money back, especially if you end up with more hair (not less).

    I think/hope there will be even more advances in laser hair removal as time goes on, so one day everyone will be able to get good results (that are also safe).

  12. james Says:

    I published my account with pictures on realself. im a 20-something male who got laser hair removal on my beard. WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE! The hair loss from the laser has been patchy like a checkerboard. i have done 12 treatments over two years and it only gets worse. the hair from the very first treatments grows back at around two years so its hopeless.

    i stopped now and just have to wait for the patchiness to fill in which hopefully it will eventually. i got treatment thinking id never have to shave again. i now have to shave MORE to avoid looking weird with grid-like stubble on my face.

    P.s. my clinic extended a 3 year guarantee when i started the procedure. but its a sneaky tactic. they know that the hair loss lasts two years. and that a treatment of six sessions takes about one year. so most people only come in for one or two visits at the most before their guarantee is up. meanwhile offering the guarantee ropes in almost any skeptic. even ones who’ve had bad experiences.

  13. james Says:

    also. even a lifetime guarantee is really silly when you think about it. because if the laser works then you will never come back and they have their money.

    if the laser doesnt work after your 6-8 package is up, then you’ll be pissed and stop coming. why would you come back for more treatments when 6 obviously didnt work?

    either way they have your money and thats all they care about

  14. james Says:

    a true guarantee would be to refund your money if it doesnt work. and you will NEVER find a laser hair removal clinic offering your money back.

    think about it. its not a guarantee at all. if anything they are telling you the procedure doesn’t work! simply offering more treatments when the first 6-8 treatments fail is NOT a guarantee. its telling you in advance “this will not work. “

  15. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    I’m sorry about your horrible laser hair removal experience. When I worked at a Medical Spa, I also saw men that got really patchy results (even though they had a ton of treatments) and they ended up having to shave more because their faces were really patchy. That was one of many reasons why I quit my job at the spa. Another problem is when men have gray hairs on their face, so all the hair goes away, except for the gray!

    Thanks for telling me about the two years thing. I’ve been asking around and researching, and hadn’t been able to pinpoint how long the hair stayed away before it started to come back again. For someone that had good results, if they did have a lifetime guarantee, then they could come back two years later and resume treatments all over again! For women that hate shaving and waxing, it can be a preferable treatment since the results are longer.

    And hopefully all your hair will eventually come back so that it ends up looking okay in the end.

  16. Denny Says:

    Well I have to say I am delighted with my results for Laser HR. I had underarm and full bikini area done and no hair has come back in 5 years. It’s still lovely and smooth. So I would definitely recommend LHR.

  17. Angie B Says:

    I was browesing through your site. and wuite honestly,
    alot of people are confused on her about alot of treatments! LHR if you go to a good Nurse that actually know what there doing… give you there alot of “want to be Medspas” popping up to try to get money…thats horrible. the more I read the the more I see it’s not the clients fault or the procedure persay its the place where your going. the misinformation your getting from untrained gerenal lay people that is the problem.

    For example LHR is actually effective if your a right candiate for it…. the place you go to should have done the anyalze’s first….

    I not going to set here and type up the different stages and professtional procedures should have been because it seems as though alot of you have gone to horrible palces where quiet frankly they dont know what they are doing and are making honest knowelge places look bad.

    there was another post on here about the green peel…
    the reason why the wonman got worse is because, (note I don’t practice the green peel) is because the peel has a brassive granueles that exfoliate physically… well if the person has active acne nothing that has granuels should be used your only transfering the infection to the rest of your face.

    Of course that would have not happened had the person and Doctor Or MedSpa know what the heck they were doing again…

    I agree there is alot of melecious people trying to get into any industry to reck the benifits of wealth, but there are places and products and medical technology that actually does work .

    I honestly wouldn’t relay on a website that pays someone for reviews and doesnt have the medical background to know the physiology that goes behind the treatments on this site. I also wouldn’t get discourage by some clinic or nurse that unfortunalty probably should be in the medspa industry if all they want is money…

    For all of you that had a bad experence, well now you know what to look for, when to know if the place is just someone that thought they could make it big in this industry and ask questions…. thats how you’ll know whether they know they stuff or not.

    knowelge is power don’t let someone tell there personal experence look it up….

    ~ Angie B

  18. sara Says:

    Laser hair removal is just wasting money because it doesn’t work the hair grows back again. I had 10 sessions of laser hair removal and in 1 of my session laser burned my face and I had so much pain. Now I have some pigmentation in my face and neck and it doesn’t go away. I prefer to use hair removal cream because it’s much cheaper and safer than laser.

  19. aidan0105 Says:

    i agree with denny,.im satisfied with the result of LHR. I had also problems with my underarm and bikini line. but now i can wear bikini’s without hesitations!

  20. Anna Says:

    I loved my laser hair removal. I did my 6 treatments on my underarms and had a brazilian done and its been a year and I sitll love the results.
    I was never burned, but i also went by recommendations. I checked with people where they got theirs done and had it done in a proper medical facility. I
    found a couple places that offered their services super cheap and was very weary
    of them..

  21. ophelia Says:

    Hi there
    I went to get some broken capillaries treated and the doctor did laser hair removal on my chin and upper lip without my permission. I did not have hair there, or should I say I had tiny hairs that we all have on our faces but noone can see without a microscope. I argued with her afterwards and she guaranteed the hair would not grow back worse. The hair got darker and thicker. She offered to “fix” the problem and two sessions later the hair is ghastly. I have a beard and moustache and she said she wants me to pay for removal now. Has anyone else had reverse affects from the laser. I have had all tests to rule out hormonal and endocronological problems. The laser made the hair worse.

  22. Ashley Says:

    I am still paying off my laser hair removal bills, i just turned 20 and i started recieving the treatments when i was 18. I was embarassed about my arm hair. They were very nice to me and said they could help. I’ve done atleast 5 treatments on all the major parts of the body, and my arms and chin got worse. I never even wanted the chin done they just through it in for free. Now i am plucking dark chin hairs like an old lady and have thick blonde peach fuzz. I got LHR done so i wouldn’t be old and covered with hair, and it has just sped up the process. My armpits are always irriatated and itchy, even when there is no hair. Its liek the nerves were hurt and my skin still thinks hairs there. The hair on my arms is longer and farther up and down onto my hands. My legs worked for a little while and stopped. I am as white as can be and have dark brown hair, i was the best combination for laser treatment. It is the worst feeling in the world when you pay almost 3,000 dollars for what you hope will be the end of your suffering only to make it worse, darker, and grow faster. I would not recommend it, you’ll feel pretty for a while but once its over you’ll have spent a lot and you’ll be hairer than before. Plus there is no way to prove that the LHR made it worse, so your forced to pay.

  23. werewolf Says:

    im a 23 years old male, did 6 laser hair removal sessions for the full upper body (back,chest,shoulders,abs and arms) and the hair grew back taller and thicker i became a gorilla….specially the areas where i had very little thin hair(shoulder and abs as well as side of abs now its like a jungle. now i just wish i never did laser hair removal.
    i dont know wtf to do about the thicker/taller hair that was caused by laser, anyone know i wax the areas would it come back normal like it used to be before the laser?

  24. geoff Says:

    I’m a 27 year old male and I had my upper back done, when it was completed, it was nice and smooth, then a few months later, the hairs on my shoulders (which were blond and more or less invisible) grew back darker and longer like werewolf’s! Anybody have any suggestions as to what to do now?

  25. Sarah Says:

    I stumbled across this blog looking for info on the Green Peel, which I found very helpful. Thank you. I also work at a Medical Spa. I spend my days performing laser treatments with Cutera Lasers. I have to say I am very concerned about the perspective on laser hair removal. I do hair removal with an actual laser not an IPL. I have had great results in the past 3 years I have been doing this. I have only had 2 patients that have not responded to this treatment and their hair was lighter brown. I also treat a significant number of darker skin types. IPL is not safe for these people!!! The reason we offer hair removal with the Cutera 1064 YAG is for the our community’s large Hispanic population. It is the only laser safe for darker skin! Have I many patients with skin types 4 and 5 that have been treated at other medical spas and suffered burns. These individuals should only be treated by someone in practice with significant experience with their skin type.
    I am fortunate to work at a spa that is very concerned with patient satisfaction. Our packages are sold in a series of 6 and this includes a year of free touch ups. I have never had a patient reach 90% reduction in 6 treatments. I typically tell everyone they may need 12 treatments. It seems unreasonable to me to require a lifetime of free treatment. Your technician cannot control your genetics or hormones. I tell all my patients that they will need touch ups. We offer these at a very reduced cost, usually $25 to $50 per area. That way they are just paying for the technician’s time.
    In my experience, I have found that if you treat someone at too low a setting the hair can and will come back. It can have the affect of stimulating the hair follicle rather than killing it.
    I hope some of this information helps. When you go in ask questions! You should be able to tell when they are being honest and heartfelt. You want the person that under promises and over delivers! If the prices are super low BEWARE!

  26. Debra Says:

    I had laser hair removal done on my legs underarms and bikini area 10 years ago when it first was available. I have fair skin and dark hair. It worked fine for me. My hair did not grow back. I still have a few hairs on my legs – 20 maybe – so I shave about once a month, they only show if they get long. I have gone back recently for my bikini area – the first time 10 years ago, I was conservative in that area, as the were the times. I am having great results this time too. I was burned on one treatment on my legs, they treated it immediately. I was not scarred. I put it down to it being such new technology then – I am surprised it still happens.

  27. robert young Says:

    I see a lot of people talking about how laser made their hair worse. Well, it’s no surprise if you get treated when you’re not an ideal candidate or you were treated with incorrect settings.

    It’s simple. LHR works best on coarse dark hair/light skin with highest settings possible that doesn’t damage your skin. This will offer a permanent reduction of 80/90 % or even more.

    Another important thing to keep in mind is that as people age, new hair could possibly grow as well but it’s not the hair that was treated by the laser.

  28. laser Says:

    I would need to comment that most important factors for effective treatment is operator and then device, price etc. It’s extremely hard to find laser operator who can stay with you for the length of your treatment plan and beyond.

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