Laser Hair Removal: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Hair for Good | Vogue

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Laser Hair Removal: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Hair for Good | Vogue

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

While laser hair removal has been around since the ’90s, it’s more popular than ever. And for good reason: it’s an effective and safe way to get rid of facial and body hair that requires virtually no upkeep. And while we might be seeing the return of the full bush, the laser hair removal market continues to climb.

Ahead of your first appointment, keep in mind that not all lasers are created equal. There are three different kinds: diode, alexandrite, and Nd:YAG. “The diode laser is the Mercedes Benz of all lasers," jokes New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D. “It has a pneumatic head on the device which sucks up the skin and the hair follicle to target the hair more efficiently.” Alexandrite is a good option for those with darker skin tones: “If you have darker skin, you run the risk of getting post inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” she says. “This laser is safe because it provides the heat needed to disable the follicle but because it comes across though an alexandrite crystal, the wavelength beam of light is less likely to cause pigmentation post-treatment.” The Nd:YAG laser “doesn’t generate a ton of heat so it’s good for small areas like the chin and upper lip,” Fusco says. “However, this method takes longer to achieve results and they’re not always permanent.”

Now, the answers to some frequently asked questions:

“Bikini, underarms, and lower legs are the most popular areas for women,” says Christian Karavolas, founder of the two-decade-old midtown destination for laser hair removal, Romeo and Juliette. Men, who make up 35% of the company’s business, tend to ask for their back, chest, and bikini area to be treated.

“Some people find it uncomfortable,” Fusco explains. “But for the most part it is tolerable.” Fusco says some people compare the feeling to static electricity, but it varies from person to person. A Vogue colleague who has been getting treatments since she was 15 notes that while her initial appointments felt like fiery rubber band snaps, the pain has lessened over the years as the hair follicles have stopped producing hairs. Numbing cream can also be applied 20 minutes before treatment if patients require.

“Avoid sunlight and self-tanner,” Karavolas explains. “And if you’re on antibiotics, be sure to wait at least five days [before coming in].” And while most people are good candidates for laser hair removal, he notes that pregnant women and those who are on Accutane or any medications that warn against sun exposure should not receive treatment. The aforementioned colleague notes that she shaves before each appointment “so the laser can target the root and not the end of the hair,” and makes sure to skip makeup when getting facial treatments as the technician typically wipes it off anyway.

Fusco advises patients to treat the area like they would a sunburn (skip hot baths and showers, and apply aloe). “Avoid sunlight so that post-inflammatory pigmentation does not occur and skip applying retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids.” In between sessions, both professionals advise against waxing or tweezing in favor of shaving. “And wear at least an SPF 30 at all times,” Karavolas adds.

“It depends on the client,” says Karavolas, but most see results in as little as two sessions. A full course “is usually anywhere from four to 12 sessions to see permanent results.”

For a small area, like the upper lip, sideburns, or chin, Karavolas averages about $100 to $200 per session, and $150 to $350 for the bikini area. A slightly larger area like the lower legs could cost anywhere from $400 to $700 per session depending on the office.

“Those seeking laser hair removal should go to a licensed pro with a degree on the wall,” says Fusco, who recommends a dermatologist, aesthetician, or “someone who is trained by the laser company to handle the machine.”

Here, five of the best places around the country to get rid of hair for good.

Miami Diane Walder, M.D. 1111 Kane Concourse, Suite 100 305.866.2177

New York Francesca Fusco, M.D. 145 E 32nd Street 212.684.2626

Romeo and Juliette Laser Hair Removal 5 E 57th Street 212.750.2000

Chicago Quenby Erickson, M.D. 737 N Michigan Avenue, Suite 905 312.300.6858

Los Angeles Ava Shamban, MD 9915 South Santa Monica Boulevard 310.843.9915

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Laser Hair Removal: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Hair for Good | Vogue

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