Lasers, if you believe everything you see in the movies, are dangerous things. In sci-fi they’re generally used for blasting aliens into fragments and/or battling between odd men in strange capes and funny headgear. While sci-fi and other genres of literary fiction have often a historical reality in science, lasers in reality have yet to be put to use by humanity for Galactic Domination. In fact, lasers are used in much nicer and far more beneficial ways on a very down to earth and every day basis. Medical uses, industrial and engineering uses of lasers have contributed to many great advances in those professions over the last twenty years. In addition, laser eye treatment and laser hair removal treatments have become increasingly common, more affordable and offer practical long-term results for men and women for some historically annoying issues. The day may come when humanity jets off to bother new races with shiny flashing weapons, but in the meantime lasers are fine by us as a hair removal technique! However, given that lasers are heavily linked with dangerous weaponry, just how safe are they as a beauty aid, and is there anything we should know?
That’s Got to Hurt
Well, if it’s capable of blasting an alien to bits you’d expect that laser treatment might just hurt a touch. In fact, you’d be right, at least partly. The best people to ask are, of course, those who have had laser hair removal in the past. Professionals at clinics will describe ‘a light tingle’ before zapping you, while in reality the sensation can be experienced as something a little stronger by some users; most people who have had clinical laser hair removal or used home laser devices do describe a tickling, tingling and pinching sensation. It seems to depend largely on the individual’s pain sensitivity, and it’s possible to buy numbing creams over the counter – or ask the latex glove clad clinician to apply one – which can help to reduce the sensation. One thing that seems clear from users’ real life experiences is that even those with a relatively low pain threshold are so pleased with the results of laser hair removal that they find their pain threshold rising to meet the small challenge! The option to reduce the need for painful, uncomfortable and tedious shaving seems to get most people through the process and many find that the sensation is hardly worth mentioning.
Hair laser removal devices – both the clinical and home variety – use light to target the growth cells in the hair. The light set at specific frequencies converts to heat and destroys the growth cells when they are active. The result is that the cells are damaged, and this is why laser treatment has been proven to have long term hair reduction effects. Although operating on a microscopic level there is heat generated, this will not normally cause scarring as lasers target specific cell types and are designed to not affect areas surrounding those cells. However, as with any skin or hair treatment a light redness or itching can result in some users; those with very sensitive skin are most likely at risk. The cells that laser hair removal targets are those contained in melanin: the pigment found in skin and hair, and this means the treatment is only suitable for those with lighter skin tones. The range is actually from olive tones up to the fairest skin, but for those at the darker end of the complexion spectrum it’s important to check that laser hair removal is suitable as a treatment.
Some users have found a little skin discolouration in areas affected, but this is rare and like redness and itching is not usually permanent. The latter two side effects may last for a couple of days at most – as with shaving these can be treated with a good moisturiser or topical cream for sensitive skin types. Unlike with shaving any redness is gone quickly and long before the next treatment! In extremely rare cases some blistering has been noted, but it’s important to realize this is extremely rare. When it comes to laser hair removal at home the best models have a locking system that stops the system from working if your skin tone is not suitable for treatment, and for those with sensitive skin it’s advisable to try a small area of the body first to see if any adverse reactions are likely.
Razor Sharp Solutions
So, from a users' experience it seems that laser hair removal is fine, while laser alien removal has some way to go. A small, bearable pain sensation is possible, although this will depend on your sensitivity to pain, while a little soreness or redness may occur with some users. For the majority of users the much bigger pain of shaving regularly will be eliminated!