There’s definitely something about beauty gadgets that have such an appeal; a sleek tiny gadget in a fun color that’s going to change your beauty game forever. The walls of Sephora are not without their selection of high tech hair removal gadgets, but it’s important to keep in mind that they’re not always all they’re cracked up to be.
Here’s some reasons why.
They’re made for the at home aesthetician. Are they safe?
It’s important to keep in mind that these machines are made for anyone and everyone. There’s special training needed to buy one. As serious as you might be about hair removal, the device is made safe for someone who is using it while drinking wine and catching up on their shows. From a safety standpoint, do you want light going near your eyes or around the eyes of those around you. The safety of these devices have not been evaluated.
Do they work?
All at home laser hair removal devices use a low fluence (power) technique for removal of hair. For coarse hairs on patients with lighter skin types, some hair can be removed with these devices early on. However, the toughest hairs to remove are not the coarse hairs, but the thinner vellus hairs. Several studies point to higher fluences (more than 100x the amount used in these at home devices) needed to effectively treat vellus hairs. Even in a laser used in some offices, our office sees patients with resistant hairs treated by underpowered lasers, it seems less likely that long term reduction of hair will be achieved.
Are you even a candidate?
Most of these devices have a screening questionnaire which requires you to state your skin type and your type of hair. The reason for this is that darker skin type patients need a specialized pulse width and duration to effectively remove your hair without burning your skin. For patients with an underpowered skin device, the parameters will likely be either ineffective or can even promote hair growth.
Can it make your hair grow more?
On the market is a device called a laser cap which uses a low powered diode laser. Many of the at home removal devices are low powered diode lasers. Several clinical studies have shown low fluences (low power) to actually STIMULATE hair rather than remove it.
It kinda removes the best part of laser hair removal?
The best part of laser hair removal is being hair free between treatments. Having perfectly smooth hairless skin is a great feature for many patients and does not happen with at home hair devices.
Do you save anything in cost?
Not really. Even if the device costs $400 or less, if it promotes hair growth it was not worth it. If it does not fully remove hair, again the device was not worth it. I would argue that 1 or 2 really good laser sessions would be more impactful and more cost effective than an underpowered diode flashlight.
Laser hair removal is a highly skilled practice perfected by your aesthetician and overseen by the perfection-driven plastic surgeon. In the long run, booking your hair removal appointments at the appropriate frequency and preparing for them the right way will ensure a smoother future.