Whether it’s for hygiene, aesthetics, or comfort, more men are turning to laser hair removal to help rid them of hair from head to toe – yes, even the areas in between. The procedure delivers long-lasting results for men looking to do everything from eliminate ingrown hairs to reduce their daily grooming time, and it can be safe and effective for all skin types. Intrigued? We don’t blame you, but there are some things you should know before committing to treatment (for starters, best results require a bit of patience). Keep reading for a guide to the ins and outs of laser hair removal for men.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
“Laser hair removal is a monochromatic beam of light that pulsates into the epidermis to destroy the hair follicle,” explains Christian Karavolas, a laser hair removal expert and owner of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal in New York City. As the process is repeated, the melanin in the hair follicle absorbs the energy from the laser and converts it to heat, thus ceasing production over the course of six to eight sessions, spaced about four to six weeks apart.
Men can get laser hair removal just about anywhere on the body, though, for many guys, the neck and back are areas of focus. “We treat all areas,” Karavolas says. Half of his clientele is male, so Karavolas and his team aim to address the parts of the body that can be a nuisance to maintain with shaving. “For many, it’s because they have too much hair and don’t want to shave, especially if they get razor burns or ingrown hairs,” he explains. Those whose sartorial lives fall into the ‘corporate’ category may experience irritation from collared shirts. Removing the hair on the neck can improve the condition.
Today’s lasers can accommodate a larger array of skin tones and skin types. The devices used in Karavolas’s salons are state-of-the-art to ensure the most pain-free experience. “Some of the lasers have a cooling system to make it even easier for those with a lower pain tolerance,” he explains (for the record, laser hair removal patients tend to liken the sensation to the dull snapping a rubber band).
While professional laser hair removal treatments offer the best results in the least amount of time, at-home hair removal devices can help maintain results after treatment or serve as an alternative for smaller areas.
What to Expect from Laser Hair Removal
Now that you know the basics, here’s a deeper dive into what you should know before booking your sessions:
Modern lasers can treat all skin tones, but it’s important to speak with your technician to confirm that they have the lasers necessary for those with darker skin tones or those with lighter hair. “Because the laser is supposed to pick up the dark hair follicle, it’s better to do this treatment in the winter when you are less tan and not exposed to sunlight,” Karavalos recommends.
While patients with certain skin conditions and sensitivities can be treated, it’s important to first consult with a board certified dermatologist. “We have helped men with eczema or other skin conditions, so this shouldn’t deter men from seeking laser hair removal,” he says. “But, if they have special conditions, they should speak to their dermatologist in advance.”
Laser hair removal treatments are unique to the individual. “The amount of sessions someone will need depends on their hair follicles, but the results are usually permanent,” Karavolas says.
- Treatment Areas: Generally speaking, the face, neck, chest, back, groin, buttocks, legs, and other areas where hair might be prevalent can be treated.
- Timeframe: On average, six to eight sessions are necessary, with each lasting 20 minutes to an hour depending on the treatment area. “The back can take 30 minutes or more, but the underarms can be five to 10 minutes,” Karavolas says. “You will need to come back every four to six weeks.”
- Cost: The cost depends on the area being treated and the number of sessions required. Prices can also vary by location, but be sure to confirm the professionals are trained and qualified to address your specific needs.
Laser hair removal is a months-long process that, as Karavolas noted, is usually best started in the fall or winter, so that it can be finished by the summer months when the skin experiences greater sun exposure. Each session must be treated as its own treatment with pre- and post-op care:
- Before Treatment: Don’t shave, wax, or trim your hair for a few days to ensure there is enough growth for the laser to pick up the hair follicle.
- Pain Scale: “It doesn’t hurt, but there is a bit of discomfort for a few minutes,” Karavolas shares. “It feels like a rubber band stretched to the skin, but it’s temporary.”
- Post-Treatment: “You can do light workouts a few hours after treatment, but we recommend waiting 24 to 48 hours to do a hard workout where you can build up a sweat,” he cautions. Those who opt for facial hair removal should consult with their dermatologist about how to adapt their skincare regimen to avoid potentially irritating retinols and chemical exfoliants.
Laser hair removal can be a great option for men to get rid of unwanted face and body hair for good. If you’ve got more hair than you want, are tired of manscaping, and don’t mind the initial time commitment, zapping the hair away can do the trick.
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