by Lisa Profera

The cold winter weather has been brutal, but warmer temperatures and “fun in the sun” are not too far away. You may even be getting “save-the-date” notifications of weddings, reunions, or other special events coming up later this year. Whether it is a formal occasion or a casual gathering, you will want to look your best. Even though you may still be wearing layers now, the time for bare arms, armpits, and legs is right around the corner. So, what does that mean? Well, if you are like most women, you spend a lot of time shaving, plucking and waxing — ouch! I challenge you to consider permanent hair removal. Now is the time to take action, because it takes months to accomplish this effectively. But once it is done, you will never have to shave again! How liberating is that?  

How much time and money do you spend on razors, waxing, and other products in a year? What about over your lifetime? You’d be surprised at how much it adds up! According to a British poll, the average woman spends about 72 days or almost 2,000 hours of her life removing unwanted hair. Not to mention the skin irritation, ingrown hairs and other inconveniences that go along with it. We all know that shaving and waxing are temporary. We repeat these processes over and over again because the “root” of the problem has not been addressed. The root keeps growing back.  

What about the cost? According to data from “Shaving Statistics,” the average woman shaves 12 times per month and spends about $10,000 on shaving-related products in her lifetime. I don’t know about you, but my time and money are certainly better spent elsewhere. Wouldn’t it be better to be hair-free? 

Laser hair removal is the most effective means of permanently removing unwanted hair by obliterating the root of the hair with heat. It’s a process called “selective thermolysis.” The laser can detect and target specific melanin chromophores while ignoring the water and the red spectrum chromophores, thus destroying the pigmented root of the hair follicle while leaving the surrounding skin and blood vessels unharmed. I would suggest going to a Medi Spa with state-of-the-art laser equipment. The procedure can be quick, easy and virtually pain-free. The number of sessions required for permanent hair removal is 6-8. Sometimes, additional touch-ups are needed. It is relatively quick, depending on the area being lasered. The average price for laser hair removal of 1 body area is $925. Prices vary greatly, however. A single treatment of the upper lip can be as low as $75, whereas lower legs might cost $250 per session. Many facilities offer packages as well. A full body package can cost up to $3,000. Think about it: spend up to $3,000 to be hair free for life vs. $10,000 on hair that keeps coming back. And how much are 72 days of your life worth? That certainly adds up in my book.  

I recently interviewed Linda Farraj, owner of Hair Free Center in Northville and experienced a professional laser hair removal session myself. They used the Lumenis Light Sheer Duet Laser, which is FDA-approved and considered the Gold Standard of laser hair removal in the industry. It is safe, fast, and highly effective with minimal discomfort and zero downtime. No topical anesthetic is needed when using this device as it has a special “chill tip” that momentarily numbs the skin. The large hand-held applicator applies a gentle suction which stretches the skin upon contact, allowing for treatments of hundreds of hairs at a time. The diode laser heats up the hair follicle and destroys it permanently. There are also adaptors to treat smaller areas such as above the lip and between eyebrows. Any area of unwanted hair can be treated including arms, armpits, face, chest, abdomen, back, bikini area, legs, thighs, feet, and toes. That’s where the full body package can be most economical.  

My first experience was quick, and the discomfort was minimal. In general, legs are less sensitive than the face, and individual experiences can vary. The vast majority of people treated with the Light Sheer tolerate it very well. Older technology may be less effective and more uncomfortable, necessitating the use of topical anesthetic and gel.  

Excessive hair can be a cosmetic challenge for some ethnicities and people with certain underlying medical conditions. Permanent hair removal can be life-changing. 

How hairy you are has to do with genetics, hormones, and lifestyle. Stress, nutrition, obesity, other medical conditions, medications, and chemical exposures may all play a role. As you may be aware, hair growth occurs in a cycle. Ninety percent of our hair is in the active growth phase known as anagen. The other 10% of the cycle is spent in telogen (the rest phase), or catagen (the transitory phase) where hair growth stops and the hair is eventually shed. Laser treatment only works on hairs that are in the active growth phase, so this is why a number of sessions are necessary over a period of time. Ideal intervals between treatments range from 4-6 weeks. It also works better when the skin is not tan since the laser relies on the contrast between skin color and hair color. People with lighter skin and darker hair respond best. Recent waxing, plucking, or use of depilatory products such as Nair® will interfere with successful treatment because the hair won’t be present in the follicle. Refrain from plucking and waxing two weeks before laser and from depilatory use six weeks before laser. Laser is less effective for people with blonde, gray, or white hair. People with dark skin may elect to do a patch test before having an extensive area treated. Consult a knowledgeable and experienced laser hair removal specialist for other options.  

There are some contraindications for laser hair removal and any good spa or salon should screen you for these by taking a good medical history.  

Under the right circumstances, laser hair removal is safe and effective. For some, it is even life-changing. So stop shaving, plucking and waxing, and recapture your precious time and money. Just think, what would you do with an extra 30 minutes a week or an entire day every year from now on? Be proactive and look fabulous for wedding season and everything else!

Lisa Profera MDOwner and Founder of PROJUVU MD Aesthetics and Lifestyle MedicinePlease note that the information in this article has been designed to help educate the reader regarding the subject matter covered. This information is provided with the understanding that the author and any other entity referenced here are not liable for the misconception or misuse of the information provided. It is not provided to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition of the body. The provider of this information shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity concerning any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this information. The information presented is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling or care. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should consult a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.