Dare to go bare with laser hair reduction

July 1, 2012 

In most cases, there is such thing as too much quality time with your shaving razor.

Summer's emphasis on bare skin makes hair removal a chore for many women. Shaving's tedious, waxing hurts and everything in between seems too complicated. There has to be an easier way, right?

Yes, according to proponents of laser hair reduction.

Among those proponents? Anna Knight, a certified laser technician at Southeast Regional MedSpa in Columbus (5669 Whitesville Road, 706-256-0929).

"It's like permanent hair reduction," Knight said of the treatment. "It's addictive."

What's the No. 1 body area requested for laser hair reduction? For Knight, it's the face. She also sees many women interested in removing hair from their bikini area.

As its name suggests, the hair removal method reduces the appearance of body hair through the use of a laser treatment.

Think it's a guaranteed solution to all your summer body hair woes? Wait a minute. Anyone receiving laser hair reduction should avoid recent sun exposure. So if you're flaunting a dark tan, don't be surprised if Knight tells you to hold off on the treatment for a bit.

Skin that's been heavily exposed to the sun might blister as a result of laser hair reduction.

Once you're cleared to proceed with the treatment, you'll show up and put on protective eyewear. The system involves a special gel that's applied to the skin. Numbing cream is optional.

And now, the $1 million question: Does it hurt?

Knight doesn't think so. She compared the feeling to a brief sensation of a rubber band snapping against your body. "You feel it and it's gone," Knight said.

Treatments can be as short as 10 to 15 minutes for area like your upper lip, but much longer for a bigger area like your leg.

You might notice a difference in your body hair quickly, but laser hair removal is not a "one and done" deal. Most body areas require between four and eight treatments, Knight said. "It is a process, definitely," she explained. "The darker the hair, the easier to treat."

Time between treatments depends on the area of the body.

Knight said that after reaching the necessary number of initial treatments, some women can go a year or two without visiting her again.

The treatment's convenience comes at a price.

At Southeast Regional MedSpa, laser hair reduction starts at about $100 for your upper lip and can cost up to approximately $350 for a half-leg treatment. Those prices are per session.

Then again, you're likely no longer regularly paying for razors or waxing sessions.

Who should avoid laser hair reduction? Knight said the services at Southeast Regional MedSpa are suited to all skin types, but pregnant women as well as people with pacemakers should avoid the treatment.

As with most skin treatments, tell the laser technician if you're taking any medications.

Assuming the appropriate steps are followed, you won't need recovery time after the treatment and side effects are "very, very rare," Knight said. In a worst-case scenario, you may receive what looks like a mild sunburn, she explained.

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