In case you were wondering, women are not the only ones undergoing laser hair removal. Men do it too. It is more recent but a practice that is growing in popularity. Indeed, male patients may also want silky smooth skin. Or they may have other reasons why they want to remove unwanted body hair. At the end of the day, it is much more convenient and permanent than shaving!
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. It can reduce hair growth by up to 90% after multiple successive sessions. It remains a very recent hair removal method with a short history but it is growing in popularity. It is now the favored way to permanently remove unwanted hair for women, although men are increasingly taking the plunge.
Laser hair removal uses selective photothermolysis. It is an optical technique used to ablate tissue in targeted regions. The major goal of the technique is to heat targeted tissue with a laser and destroy it without damaging surrounding tissue. In the context of laser hair removal, the target is the pigment in the hair leading to the hair follicle.
During a laser hair removal session, the laser will emit light energy that will target the pigment in the hair. Once the energy is absorbed by the melanin, it will travel all the way down to the hair follicle. There, the light energy turns into thermal energy. It then anchors itself to the hair follicle and destroys it by way of heat. Once the follicle is destroyed, it can no longer grow hair.
Laser hair removal works only when the hair is in the anagen phase of growth. Indeed, it is the only time the hair and the follicle connect, allowing the energy to travel from the former to the latter. Unfortunately, only 20% of body hair is in the anagen phase at any point in time. Thus, one laser session can treat up to 20% of hair. This explains why laser treatments always have at least six sessions.
Why do men get laser hair removal?
Although laser hair removal has for long been targeted at women, the procedure is getting increasingly popular amongst male demographics. It is no secret that shaving every day is inconvenient, time consuming and frankly annoying. In such context, laser hair removal offers a sustainable and practical solution to men.
Aesthetics of excess body hair
There are plenty of reasons why men want to remove unwanted body hair. Laser hair removal will provide a good solution to men who are uncomfortable with their body hair or simply do not like excess body hair. While some men will want to remove unwanted hair from their entire body, other male patients will target specific areas.
Some men may want to undergo laser hair removal just to thin out and reduce their body hair rather than completely remove them. Excess body hair can hurt one’s self-confidence. The areas of the body men tend to treat the most are the beard, shoulders, back and chest.
Men who shave on a daily basis will be no stranger to ingrown hair, razor bumps and cuts. When shaving, men cut their facial hair in the direction opposite to their growth. This can interfere with hair growth. Upon growing back, the hair can curl on itself or grow back into the skin. Shaving creates sharp edges in this type of hair, especially if the hair is dry when shaved.
This will cause ingrown hairs. Very prevalent with men who shave, they can lead to bacteria infection hyperpigmentation and scarring. Men who undergo laser hair removal will find a solution to ingrown hair outbreaks. Since the laser will destroy the hair follicle, there will be no hair growing back and therefore no risk of ingrown hair.
It is a common misconception that hair is not hygienic or clean. However, it could not be further from the truth. Pubic hair covers intimate areas for a reason: protection. They filter dirt, shield against hostile elements and keep those parts clean.
However, long pubic hair can lead to irritation. This is one reason why men choose manscaping. They will want to reduce bushiness and itchiness, which can be intensified by long body hair during summer. Reduce hair growth with laser hair removal will also guarantee that men lose less hair around the house.
Easier facial grooming
Shaving is a significant part of a man’s life. While some men will allow themselves a full beard, others will be under the obligation to shave it every day. After all, shaving does not contribute to hair growth reduction. Furthermore, since the hair is cut flat at the surface of the skin, it looks darker and thicker while growing back.
Shaving can also be quite time-consuming. Thus, it makes sense that men want less hair to make shaving easier and faster. Preventing itchy growth, skin irritation and ingrown hair may be another reason. Shaving will also create a shadow over the shaved area. Laser hair removal will thus allow male patients to reduce facial hair growth through multiple successive sessions.
Male patients can be a six session package or they can buy sessions individually, depending on their goals. Men may stop their treatment at any time should they feel they have achieved satisfactory results. Laser hair removal proves beneficial to men with recurrent folliculitis. Hair follicles get inflamed and will create small, white-headed pimples.
To save money
Contrary to the common myth, laser hair removal is not expensive. In the long-term it is actually very affordable. Why? Simply because a laser hair removal treatment is a year long treatment that provides patients with permanent hair removal. Thus, they will not need to come back every month for another session.
Shaving on the other side requires buying razor, cartridges and creams very frequently. Men also tend to shave every day. They can quickly bring on a huge bill. While laser hair removal will in the long-term be cheaper and more sustainable. It is therefore a great solution to save money.
Is it painful?
Waxing is painful. Electrolysis is too. Shaving is inconvenient and could lead to painful hair growth. However laser hair removal is not painful. Simply because first, pain is a subjective notion. Each individual has a different tolerance to pain and therefore a different definition. Second because the sensation felt during laser hair removal is not that of pain.
Indeed, compared to waxing, laser hair removal is not painful at all. It may be unpleasant and slightly uncomfortable. However, it is more than tolerable. The sensation felt during a laser session is akin to pinching. There will be heat and pinching. It can also be described as a rubber band snapping against the skin. Some patients also compared it to mosquito bites.
However, regardless of what laser hair removal actually feels like, most patients agree that it is not painful. Or at least that it is nothing compared to waxing or electrolysis. If the setting of the laser is too strong, there is a risk of burning and scarring. However, good communication with the certified technician will help avoid any side effects.
How many treatments do men need to get?
The average number of laser sessions in a treatment is six. It is an industry standard and a minimum. Each session should be six weeks apart. However, the number of laser hair removal sessions will depend on each person. Men tend to be bigger and hairier than women. Thus, not only may sessions last longer but they may also need more.
Many factors will impact the efficiency and duration of a laser treatment. Skin color, hair type, hair color, genetics, hormones, history of hair removal, medication may all have an impact. For example, while ginger hair can be treated with laser hair removal, they will usually need more sessions as they are harder to target.
Hair growth is triggered by hormones. Therefore, men who experience high hormone levels or fluctuations may also need more sessions. Really thick and coarse hair may need additional work too. The number of sessions men patients settle for also depends on their goal: whether they are trying to achieve hair growth reduction or permanent hair removal.
Men who undergo laser hair removal should see results fairly early on in their laser treatment. The hair will start shedding about ten days after the first laser hair removal session. By the third or fourth laser hair removal session, more than 50% of body hair should have been treated. Following session will target the hair that was missed previously.
How to prepare for a laser session?
Laser hair removal is a procedure that is pretty straightforward and that does not have downtime. Patients may get back to their usual routine straight after their session, although there still are a few pre and post-session care recommendations to follow to avoid side effects.
Men will need to shave the areas they will have laser hair removal done on. It is important that they do so the latest a couple of hours prior to their session. Indeed, shaving irritates the skin. It is thus better to give the skin a bit of time to recover. Patients should avoid exposure to the sun as laser hair removal can have adverse reactions to sun damage.
Patients must clean their skin off of any lotions, creams or moisturizers. It is also important that men disclose their medical history. Indeed, some medication can increase photosensitivity and therefore make the treatment more uncomfortable. Such is the case with antibiotics and accutane.
Aftercare recommendations include avoiding direct sunlight and UV ray exposure, avoiding hot showers or sweat inducing activities for 24 hours. Deodorant and fragrances should also be avoided for 24 hours to reduce skin irritation.