Hair removal - what are the options?

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Getting rid of unwanted hair can be a tedious chore, not to mention a painful experience. If you're tired of shaving, fed up with messy depilatory creams and can't bear gritting your teeth through another hot wax treatment, here are some alternative treatments that could make your life easier...

Hair removal techniques

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Laser hair removal

Available since the 1970s, laser hair removal aims intense pulsating light at the hair follicles, thereby damaging them and reducing future growth.

Though generally considered a safe hair removal option, the technique works best on those with light skin and dark hair.

Until recently people with darker skin risked burning and although new equipment has reduced the risk, it is still a possibility.

Because the hair follicles are damaged when pigment molecules absorb the energy from the laser, the treatment is not as effective on those with blonde, gray or white hairs which contain less pigment.

However, advances in equipment mean that this non-invasive procedure is now effective on more skin types and hair colours.

Laser treatments do not promise permanent removal but should reduce regrowth and many find that the hair that does grow back is finer and wispier

It works best during the hair's growth phase so most patients will need six to eight treatments, six to 10 weeks apart in order that growth is substantially reduced.

Though it is not without pain (patients experience a stinging sensation), laser hair removal can treat large areas at a time but, with a half-leg treatment often costing more than £100 per session, the price can soon mount up.


Electrolysis

This is an ideal solution for those seeking permanent hair removal in a small area (unwanted facial hair, for example). Electrolysis destroys the root of the hair by delivering an electric current and, though it may require multiple treatments, is the only method that produces permanent results. Because it does not target hair pigment, there are no restrictions in terms of hair or skin colour.

However, it is not recommended for treating large areas.


Ultrasonic hair removal

Unlike laser removal, this technology is effective on all hair colours. Acoustic energy directed at the follicles is converted into heat, damaging the hair and preventing re-growth. It is ideal for sensitive areas as patients experience little discomfort and, though you may need a number of sessions, at roughly half the cost of laser hair treatments, it may prove preferable.


At-home IPL hair reduction

These days IPL (or Intense Pulsed Light) hair reduction is not purely the domain of beauty salons. There are a variety of DIY machines available, which use uses the broad-spectrum light to heat the hair follicle, preventing the hair from rearing its stubbly head for up to three months.

When it does return, the hair is often finer and lighter. But while you could save yourself a trip to the salon, you'll need to fork out around £350 to £400 for the privilege of staying at home.


Have you tried a salon hair removal treatment? What worked best for you? Let us know below...