What does a man need to know about laser hair removal?
April 1, 2012 10:36 PM   Subscribe

What does a man need to know about laser hair removal?

I had four professional laser hair removal treatments on my chest last year. Its been about five months since my last treatment and it appears that most if not all of my chest hair has grown back. For a few months the hair was noticeably thinner, but from what I can tell I have a 10% reduction at most after all the trouble and cost.

I understand that some hair follicles are dormant part of the time. Have the dormant hair follicles that were not zapped re-activated? Or did this laser hair removal not properly destroy any hair follicles at all? Is there a specific type of laser that I need to seek out? More treatments?

I have light to medium brown skin and black hair. I would be happy with just a 50% reduction.
posted by 314159 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You had your treatments in 2011? Your results are quite reasonable, then. What kind of laser was use for the procedure? What kind of guarantees were made by the provider?

If you can handle the pain of laser treatments, you should seriously consider an epilator (e.g. Brown SilkEpil) – I'm a lady, but I only need to use it once every 3-5 weeks before any noticeable hair appears (legs, armpits, bikini line), and it really doesn't hurt after the first couple of times. I know you don't believe me, but it really doesn't hurt after the first few times. Combine with TendSkin if you're prone to ingrown hairs. $100 investment that I've had for 6(!) years now, I will never consider another hair removal method.
posted by halogen at 12:19 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was told that laser hair removal works best when there is a strong contrast between skin and hair - so the treatment is best for dark hair and pale skin. But perhaps there has been another type of treatment developed that works differently.

The other thing I read somewhere was that regrowth can depend on the cause of the hair (this might be more of an issue for women)- and that if the hair was genetic, laser treatment would keep the hair away longer, but if it was hormonal, it would come back quicker.

Sounds weird but I've actually found that to be the case- I had hair between my eyebrows lasered away and above the lip and the eyebrow (genetic) has stayed away but the tache (hormonal) has come back. It took a couple of years for the hairs to start coming back and I'd say that now (seven years on) it's back to how it was before- still no monobrow though.

I totally agree with halogen about the epilator. I use one on my legs and even if I haven't used it for a while, the hair is now weaker and finer when it does grow back, and I no longer get really prickly stubble.
posted by KateViolet at 1:47 AM on April 2, 2012

Best answer: What results were you expecting with 4 treatments? I've gone to two separate laser hair removal providers for getting my face done, and both told me that for clearance on my face I was looking at a minimum of 6 and likely many more (followed by electrolysis to get some stray hairs).

I also have heard from others, anecdotally, that the spacing of the treatments can make a big difference. Many providers (including the two I went to) want to schedule treatments 4 weeks apart, but I've heard that a 6-8 week spacing makes more sense for (most) hair growth cycles.

So if you had 4 treatments in really short order, it may have had less effect than a greater spread.

I've noticed a slight difference between my reaction to my first provider (nd-YAG laser) versus my second provider (IPL device). Also a big difference in pain, too, FWIW.

I've found the Hairtell forums quite helpful in sorting this all out for myself. Bottom line, YMMV for a whole bunch of factors.
posted by TranSubstantial at 6:40 AM on April 2, 2012

Yup, in my experience it's never "permanent" but you can get rid of the majority in 10 to 20 treatments. Girls and boys both.

You might need periodic maintenance treatments to catch the buggers migrating from your scalp down to your chest... :-)
posted by wrm at 6:50 AM on April 2, 2012

you need to keep going. i've had about 14 sessions over 2+ years (i'm a lady. legs and underarms) and i rarely have to shave anymore.
posted by sabh at 2:08 PM on April 2, 2012

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