Top Permanent Hair Removal Systems That Work

Effective laser treatments; pulsed light or IPL; electrolysis hair removal using galvanic or thermolysis or a blend of direct current and RF (radio frequency); reviews of hair removal products like the Verseo Epen system; evaluations of hair removal cream, waxing and sugaring versus laser hair removal cost.

An In-depth Look at Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is not a new technique. It’s been around for about 60 years (offered to the public for over 40), however it’s constantly being improved and developed to be more and more effective on a wider range of skin-types and hair colors, and in the last 10 years, has become recognized as one the main ways to remove hair. Nevertheless, techniques called IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light epilation is not true laser. Laser hair removal is about a selective heating process called photothermolysis (and is more correctly termed photoepilation) because light is absorbed by the melanin in the follicle containing a darker color of hair (versus the lightness of the skin) and once damaged, the hair does not usually continue to grow. The problem is that the light/heat targets melanin, so it’s primarily effective on darker hair colors, although it’s worthy of note that blond hair contains some melanin although it may look very light.

Due to the fact that its effectiveness depends on hair type (based on the contrast of melanin in the skin versus the hair), the United States Food and Drug Administration primarily recognizes the term “permanent hair removal” applied to treatments that utilize electrolysis (the system that relies on an electrical current or radio frequency penetrating a hair follicle via a metal probe). However that is partly due to the semantics of the word “permanent” which the FDA regards as something that should apply to ALL hair colors and skin types. Laser technology for the removal of hair has been proven effective on dark hair growing in follicles of light colored skin, however, electrolysis (and variations of the three main methods) is recognized as the most effective, because it’s not dependant on hair type, skin color or melanin.

Benefits of Laser Versus Electrolysis

The permanent hair removal treatments that use lasers are considered to be fast and effective during the actual session (compared to electrolysis which is painstakingly slow targeting one hair at a time), however multiple treatments are essential in both cases, usually from 6 to 8 in one area. They also must be spaced a considerable time apart, in fact up to 2 or 3 months (sometimes more) to separate each laser treatment. (However, please note that fine blond hair is usually not affected by IPL, but genuine laser hair removal treatments may be effective.) So, these questions arise…

Is laser hair removal permanent? Is it effective or not worth the trouble and the cost?

Those questions are complicated to answer because the answers depend on how and where the treatments are done, how skilled the technician is, how many treatments are applied and how far apart they are spaced. Why are these factors important?

A Brief Study Of Hair Growth Cycles

The reason that laser treatments are only permanently effective when spaced far apart is because hair doesn’t grow constantly, but follows three main phases. The first treatment’s effectiveness will depend when it’s done and what phase of growth it has reached.

The Agagen, Categen and Telogen Stages

For example, the anagen is the term that refers to the time period when hair is actively growing – and we’re talking about ONE single hair. Then the catagen period is when the growth regresses. Next is the telogen period, and that’s when hair is simply resting. Hair holidays if you please! To complicate matters even further, it’s not the same for all areas of the body. Nevertheless, permanent hair removal is possible because the majority of body hair will be in the preferable anagen stage, wherein the hair is growing and is detectable in the follicle and can be removed. But about 10%, or slightly more, of the hair that will eventually appear, are in the other two stages that are not detectable. It’s interesting to note that the cycles can take about 4 months when it comes to eyebrows, but hair on our scalp can take several years to complete a single cycle.

What this means is that body hair CAN’T BE REMOVED ALL AT ONCE!

An area may appear hair-free today and in a few months have a whole new crop. Are they the same hairs? NO, probably not. But until all the hair growth stages have completed their cycles, and each follicle has been targeted with a laser or an electrical charge, the area in question will continue to appear to have hair. That’s why permanent hair removal systems require many treatments over long periods of time. It’s not an instant quick fix, and it’s not permanent until ALL hairs have been treated in the area in question.

Combinations Treatments

It’s worth noting that the FDA has approved some unique combination hair removal systems that are highly effective. One of the best possible solutions is that which blends the pulsed light technology or laser with radio frequency power together. This system can target a wide range of hair colors and skin types. By following hair growth patterns over a period of about six sessions, with a period of two to four months between each, many people find that permanent hair removal is possible even on light hair.

Laser Hair Removal Cost

The face is the cheapest area for laser hair removal treatments. Prices start at around $100, but can be as much as about $450 for each session in other areas.

If you require 6 to 8 sessions, it’s easy to see that the overall cost will come to between $2,000 or more, sometimes close to $4,000, for more difficult regions like the back or legs. There are many clinics that offer packaged deals that are good value. For example some facial removal sessions, for say an upper lip area, can be done quickly and you can pay each time you go, perhaps under $100, so a complete removal may be spread out over a year, totaling about $500 or $600. These are very broad pricing guidelines, just to give you an idea of how much to budget,. Please understand that there are many variables so you’ll have to go in person to a clinic in your region. Each case in unique.

Electrolysis Hair Removal

This is a form of permanent hair removal for men and women that has been proven effective, although it’s much more time consuming than laser treatments. The plus side is that it has no serious side effects, and it works on all hair colors and skin types. It’s well documented as one of the most effective long-term methods of controlling and eliminating unwanted facial and body hair.

As stated previously, it works based on the three main kinds of treatments, namely: the galvanic process whereby electricity destroys the cells of the hair follicle, and the thermolysis process that acts to destroy hair cells by the use of a high frequency shortwave via heat and the last process that uses a combination of both methods.

There can be more discomfort involved in electrolysis than laser treatments, however it is dependant primarily on the skill of the technician. The discomfort arises because a teeny probe is in fact inserted into each follicle. It is important to determine which type of probe will best suite you and which process, be it  thermolysis, galvanic or a blend, will be most comfortable in your particular case. Discomfort can be reduced by selecting a adequate sized probe, inserting it at the appropriate angle from which the hair is growing, and reducing the intensity or lowering the rate of the electrical flow.

Less Permanent Hair Removal Products like Creams, Waxing and Sugaring

Most women use some form of depilatory system on their legs and underarms, and also to shape and maintain their eyebrows. Shaving is the least long-lasting and the system that can in fact induces hair to grow faster and thicker instead of decreasing over time. But what about creams, wax and sugaring?

Harsh Hair Removal Cream Or Natural Sugar?

Hair removal cream, like Veet is popular and fast for a day or two of smooth skin, however, of the temporary forms, waxing and sugaring are the best, and sugaring is better than waxing. Why? First of all, cream depilatories are chemical based harsh hair-melting potions. They do not attack the hair growth process but simply use corrosive, fowl-smelling, skin-irritating chemicals to literally melt or chemically burn the hair that is on the surface of the skin.

On the other hand, waxing and sugaring operate on the same system, that of pulling the hairs from the follicles and therefore the skin remains smoother for a longer period of time. The action of pulling the hairs out also somewhat damages the follicles and causes the hairs to not grow back so fast and often not in the same place. These semi-permanent hair removing systems are similar, but sugaring is gentler being instead of wax, a natural syrup is applied that actually nurtures the skin, leaving it soft and much smoother, with no residue and less stinging. It’s affordable and can be done at home. But when we say affordable it’s actually not as cheap as it seems.

DIY sugaring or waxing kits can cost anywhere from $15 to $30. Going to a salon to have it professionally done can cost anywhere from $20 to $50 (or more) depending on the area involved. This is repeated every month at least. Over the course of a year the total cost of waxing or sugaring may equal the cost of laser sessions or electrolysis.

Here’s an average price list to show the cost of sugaring treatments in a salon:

1. a full leg treatment costs about $70

2. eyebrows $13

3. underarm depilation about $20

We’ve not include a bikini sugaring but many ladies have that done as well. The total is $103. And it must be done once a month to maintain smooth skin. Although hair doesn’t return as thick, it does return. It’s not considered a permanent solution.

The benefits of sugaring hair removal is that the skin feels soft and exfoliated afterward, especially if all natural ingredients are used. However, when using depilatory systems that pull hair from the skin there is a greater chance of getting ingrown hairs and infected follicles. It’s a good idea to use a loofa sponge (or brush the skin daily) to reduce in-growing of the hairs and infected follicles.

DIY and Home Permanent Hair Removal Systems

Many people have tried home depilatory systems that simply don’t work very effectively. Although some ladies found that when they use devices like the Verseo Epen permanent hair removal system they had less hair over a long period of time, it’s minimal. Why? Mostly because a couple batteries simply can’t offer the galvanic current needed to effectively target hair cell destruction, and it’s not possible for a little hand-held device to be the same as a probe expertly inserted into hair follicles. Some people say that over a year of use, they do notice some facial hair reduction, but few have noticed any real effect on eyebrows or thicker body hair.

For more information on Facial Hair Removal systems that are sold for use home use, please consult the suggestions in a related topic, which discusses such things as Silk’n SensEpil, and the newest TRIA home laser hair removal systems. Before using ANY permanent hair removal at home treatments, please get all the facts. Working with lasers or light pulse equipment in sensitive areas, especially on the face, is not something to take lightly.

Consult A Trained Professional – Plastic Surgeon, Physician, or Technician

Speaking of beauty procedures that require investigating before submitting to, you may find useful advice and ideas in the guides we offer on such treatments as Mesotherapy, Cosmetic Tattooing, Micropigmentation, Lip Tattoo procedures to replace liner and lipstick, Eyebrow Tattoo techniques, and Tattoo Removal products like Wrecking Balm.

Read what we offer as a starting point, but please consult your physician, plastic surgeon, technician or cosmetic professional in all matters that have to do with invasive procedures like permanent makeup, cellulite treatments, laser pigment removal, dermabrasion, and unwanted hair removal through electrolysis or laser procedures.

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About the editor

Nena Argent, editorial director of EbT magazine since 2009, oversees online editorial content in English and Spanish. She joined EbT after ten years as an investigative journalist in Asia where she researched oriental health, nutrition and beauty treatments. Now based in Europe, she reports on the latest beauty trends, health issues, high-tech medical advancements and state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures from around the world.

Permanent Makeup / Cosmetic Surgery / Health / Beauty / Nutrition / Weight Loss / Diet Pills / Supplements / Hair Removal / Skin Care / Tattoo Removal / Eyebrow Tattoo / Permanent Eyeliner / Cosmetic Lip Tattoo / Eyelash Extensions / Cellulite Removal / Makeup Tips / Permanent Makeup Directory / Cosmetic Surgery Directory / Hair Restoration Surgeons Directory / Tanning Lotion / Natural Remedies / Low Calorie Foods / Acne Cream / Hair Transplant / Eyebrow Implants / Breast Implants / Liposuction, Liposculpture / Vaser Lipo / Tummy Tuck / Laser Hair Removal / Laser Tattoo Removal / Cosmetic Surgery Prices / Permanent Makeup Schools / Micropigmentation / Permanent Makeup Supplies / Permanent Makeup Equipment / Beauty Product Reviews

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The info in this site doesn't replace consulting with a dermatologist, micropigmentation expert, plastic surgeon or nutritionist prior to undergoing a dietary change or a cosmetic/surgical procedure.