Are you annoyed by your current hair removal methods? Many are. After all, dealing with stubble and razor burn from shaving can get old really quickly. Hair removal creams smell awful and can really irritate sensitive skin, making them only marginally more preferable than shaving. In order to find more lasting hair removal, more and more people are turning to either waxing or laser hair removal. But, for the uninitiated, both can seem daunting — and pop culture doesn’t help. But consider this: do you really think so many people would carry on waxing or going for laser hair removal treatments if it was as painful as the movies portray? If you’re on the fence about trying a different hair removal method, here are a few key things to consider:
First, a bit of an introduction for those who are new to shaving alternatives. Waxing can be done with a few specially formulated types of wax — so please don’t try to do this yourself using candle wax. The wax melted and kept warm (but not hot!) so it can be spread over the area one section at a time. It is removed in the opposite direction of the hair growth to pull them out at the root. Depending on the type of wax used, it may be left to cool and harden somewhat before removal, or it may be removed almost immediately with the help of strips of cloth. Typically, a waxing session is over quickly, though larger areas will take a bit longer.
You can likely deduce how laser hair removal works just from the name. This treatment uses a laser system designed to target the pigment in hair without affecting the surrounding skin. The laser zaps down to the follicle, removing the hair down to the root. Like waxing, laser hair removal treatments go one segment at a time. A session can take an hour or more depending on the area you want hair removal because the surface area covered by the device is relatively small.
Both waxing and laser hair removal offer something that shaving doesn’t: results that last longer than a day or two. The reason behind this is that both options get down to the root of the problem — literally! However, both treatments have different durations because of how they go about targeting the root of each hair. Waxing works as well as it does because it pulls each hair out at the root. Each hair takes time to re-grow from the follicle until it’s visible above the skin again, which is why waxing helps you go a week or more before hair growth is noticeable. Over time, waxing can help hair grow in thinner, but it doesn’t do anything to actually stop growth from returning.
Laser hair removal works similarly to waxing in that it gets down to the root of each hair. Unlike waxing, however, laser hair removal actually affects the follicle itself, rather than focusing efforts on the hair within the follicle. The laser light targets the follicle, damaging it so it cannot grow hair again. The results of laser hair removal are intended to be long term, but it takes multiple treatment sessions to reach that point. The growth cycle for a hair follicle is multiple weeks; however, the follicles across the body aren’t synced up to grow simultaneously. The laser has to catch a follicle at a certain point during its cycle to inhibit new growth, which is why laser hair removal calls for multiple treatments. After the first treatment, you will likely notice that hair takes longer to grow back, but it can take four to six sessions before the more permanent effects take place.
Does It Hurt?
Neither waxing nor laser hair removal are entirely sensation-free. The good news is neither of them are as painful as pop culture portrayals make it seem. Waxing typically causes a stinging sensation when a section of hair is removed, but the wax is designed to trap hairs without damaging the surrounding skin. Many repeat waxers have reported that the sensation lessens with continued, regular waxing sessions. Likewise, laser hair removal has a slight stinging feeling — comparable to a rubber band being flicked against the skin — with each application of the laser. A minor feeling of discomfort can linger for a few hours or a day, depending on your skin’s sensitivity. Laser hair removal is also intended to affect the hairs/follicles without damaging the surrounding skin.
Both waxing and laser hair removal have variable costs, depending on where you go. The big difference is that waxing is generally less expensive on a per-session basis. However, the effects of laser hair removal are more lasting, so the upfront cost for multiple sessions can still help you save money over ongoing waxing.
So far, you’re probably thinking that waxing and laser hair removal are pretty similar. And, in a lot of ways, they are. The two key differences are the durability — laser hair removal has far better longevity — and how to best prepare. With laser hair removal, you will need to make sure the area is smooth-shaven just before heading to your local medical spa for treatment. If not, the laser can zap those longer hairs, but it may have trouble affecting the follicle the way it should. Also, those zapped hairs don’t smell particularly great.
With waxing, on the other hand, you should do as little as possible to the area in between sessions. The big concern for many is that the wax needs a decent amount of growth to grab onto the hairs, so you’ll need to go au naturale in between sessions — no shaving allowed!
Go Hair Free
If you’re ready to ditch the razor and nix the smelly hair removal creams, visit your local medical spa. Here at Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria, we offer waxing and laser hair removal treatments. Contact our team to learn more about both options and which is best for you!