The best way for super-hairy guys to groom their body hair? Sure, you could shave, trim, and wax. But have you ever considered laser hair removal?
We consulted with some of the most trusted experts to answer every question you’ve ever had about nixing your unwanted hairOpens in a new Window..
What Is Laser Hair Removal and How Does it Work?
Laser hair removal is a procedure where a specific beam of light bypasses the epidermis and targets the follicle, disabling the reproductive cycle of the hair without hurting the skin. As the follicle gets destroyed, the hair shaft becomes weak and limp, and eventually—with pre-prescribed periods of treatment—that follicle dies and no hair grows.
Science jargon aside, the laser’s light is absorbed by the pigment in your hair; that light is converted into heat, delaying future hair growth, according to the Mayo ClinicOpens in a new Window..
Why Is the Average Guy Getting Laser Hair Removal?
1. Excessive Body Hair/Aesthetics
Laser hair removal is appealing for men who are uncomfortable with excess hair on their back, chest, stomach, or all over. And let’s clear up a misconception: Laser hair removal doesn’t have to leave you looking like a hairless fitness model (unless you want it to).
A lot of guys treat their chest, not because they want to get rid of their hair completely, but they like to thin it out—they want it to be finer and sparser.
Another misconception: Having a lot of body hair doesn’t mean you’re less hygienic. It’s just that some guys find manscaping helps them relieve irritation. Some might do it to reduce bushiness and any itchiness that can be intensified by hair in the summer months. Some guys just have really hairy butts, too. The stark contrast from a fairly hairless back to a carpet-clad bum warrants some men to get laser since shaving your cheeks is just plain cumbersome.
And yes, laser hair removal is plenty common in men. In fact, about 40 percent of our clients are men.
3. Easier Facial Grooming and Ingrown Hairs
The third most popular area New Life Laser treats is guys’ face.
A lot of guys want to have less hair to make shaving easier, especially if they get ingrown hairs on their neck. “Laser is the only way to effectively treat a condition called PFD, pseudo folliculitis barbaeOpens in a new Window.. Clusters of inflamed, red, or dark bumps will appear around hair follicles from shaving. Essentially, they’re ingrown hairs that grow in all sorts of directions, which can leave scars.
Even after two sessions the ingrown hairs can disappear, and the skin comes back to its natural condition.
Laser hair removal is also beneficial in patients with recurrent folliculitis—inflamed hair follicles that can appear as small, white-headed pimples.
Pretty much anyone who can’t tolerate shaving and waxing is an ideal candidate for laser.
4. Balding or Bad Hair Plugs
New Life Laser estimates 5 percent of our clientele does their head. Might sound strange, but some guys would rather treat their head than have sporadic balding, while others might want to get rid of botched hair plugs that just don’t look right or irritate them.
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?
With the advent of new lasers, it doesn’t hurt—a lot. Of course, it’ll depend on your pain tolerance, but for the most part, it’ll feel like a pin prick or a rubber band snap.
New Life Laser uses the Candela GentleMax Pro Lasers, which really makes the treatment quite manageable. The GentleMax is arguably. While it’s less painful, it also has a very big spot size and gives ideal results.
Here’s one blessing: It hurts less than waxing—about 40 percent less. And you won’t get any of the ripping or damage that waxing can cause your skin.
Laser bypasses the epidermis, so it doesn’t damage the skin; it actually stimulates collagen.
How Many Treatments Do Men Need to Get?
A man’s back or chest will need six to eight treatments spaced roughly two months (six to eight weeks) apart to see visible results. We can only say the client will get permanent hair reduction, not permanent hair removal, because what happens is one follicle dies, but there might be another one next to it that may regenerate itself.
Hair grows in different cycles so at any given time—and this varies by individual—30 to 60 percent of the hair is in the anagen growth stage, but the rest is in a dormant or dying stage.
The laser is killing hairs in the growth stage; and the ones that are dead will shed after a few weeks. So, by the time you go to your next appointment, the hairs that were in their growth stage are now in their dormant or dying stage. Overall, if you follow all the rules and get your treatments in the recommended timeframe, men can see anywhere from 80 to 90 percent permanent hair reduction.
What Should Men Know Before Their First Laser Hair Removal Appointment?
You should shave the area you’re getting treated before the appointment. As the beam travels through the hair shaft, a lot of energy is being absorbed. You want to have short hair so when the light goes through it, there’s enough left to hit and damage the follicle.
2. Stay Out of the Sun
The reason people often get laser hair removal in the winter is because you don’t want to have sun exposure on the area you’re treating for roughly three weeks before your session.
The reason is two-fold: Because the laser works best on light skin and dark hair, you don’t want your skin to be tan and hair slightly bleached from the sun. This also means you can’t use self-tanners before your appointment. What’s more, you don’t want to risk damage to your skin.
3. You’ll Discuss Your Ethnicity to Determine the Right Laser
There are lasers that work best for light skin, and others that are better suited for dark skin. The ideal candidate is someone who has fair skin and dark hair follicles. People with red, very blonde, and white hair won’t see results from laser hair removal and shouldn’t be treated.
People with fair skin will fall under skin type 1, 2, and 3, which will respond best to an Alexandrite laser. It has a short wavelength (755 nanometers), which is easy on the skin, and effective on light hair.
Those who have olive/dark skin will fall under skin type 4, 5, and 6 (4 being Indian, 5-6 being African American.) We would use a wavelength that bypasses the epidermis and has a long pulse, like the Nd:Yag laser; it has a wavelength of 1064 nanometers and is very safe on the skin.
4. It’s Pretty Quick
Getting your chest done will take about 15 to 20 minutes, whereas the back will take about 30 minutes to complete.
5. You Should Avoid Your Work Out Post-Treatment
There are actually quite a few things you need to hold off on after your appointment.
Because you’re injuring the skin temporarily, you want it to heal before you go into excessive heat because it can cause more swelling and discomfort. After 48 hours, you can go hit up a sauna, go in a hot tub, and work out.