Permanent Hair Removal: 3 Ways To Get Rid Of Pesky Leg Hair Forever

Permanent Hair Removal: 3 Ways To Get Rid Of Pesky Leg Hair Forever

Do you ever get tired of waxing or shaving your legs? It's time-consuming, tedious, and often painful. Rates of people searching for permanent hair removal solutions in the past decade have shot up - and it's easy to see why. Traditional methods to remove frustrating leg hair include shaving and waxing, which are commonly accompanied by uncomfortable side effects like unsightly ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and wax burns - just to name a few.  

When it comes to leg hair removal, we have options. And not just the traditional options that have stubble growing back as soon as the next day, but permanent options that can leave your skin silky smooth and hair-free for many years to come. 

Permanent Hair Removal 

Fussing with dull razors and sticky wax strips to get rid of unsightly leg hair is the bane to many women's existence. Not only do these methods come with painful side effects like cuts and burns, but unwanted hair tends to grow back in as little as two to three days - good grief!

The good news is that there are three main types of permanent hair removal readily available at most good clinics, which are: electrolysis, laser, and IPL. The question is, what are the differences and which type of hair removal will suit you the best?

Some are more painful than others, while some are better at keeping unwanted hair completely at bay. Whichever method you decide to go for, you can be sure that they are all much more effective with less frustrating side effects than plucking, shaving, waxing, or using depilatory creams. 

ELECTROLYSIS 

This popular method involves the use of shortwave radio frequencies distributed through fine point needles placed directly into your hair follicles. The intention is to damage and destroy the follicle so that it doesn't stimulate new hair growth. This procedure needs to be done by a certified electrologist or a dermatologist. 

Is it effective for everyone? 

Yes. According to the American Electrology Association, electrolysis is effective for people with any skin color, skin type, hair color, and hair type. This popular treatment is also suitable for any area of the body - including the face.  

How many sessions does it take?

Most people require several electrolysis treatments to achieve permanent hair removal. That's because your skin has multiple follicles for each hair, and dormant follicles might start to grow between sessions (in other words, hair grows in cycles). But follow-up sessions every week or every other week for a few months will eliminate unwanted hair in the area 100%.

Large surfaces like your legs and back will call for several longer sessions to get the job done. Although this is pretty rare, some women require up to thirty electrolysis treatments to permanently eliminate pesky leg hair!

But once you're done, you're done! After your leg hair has been removed, there's no upkeep or annual maintenance treatments necessary.

Are there any side effects?

If the procedure is not done correctly, electrolysis can potentially damage the follicle and cause inflammation, which can be painful. In rare cases, people have experienced infection or scarring from unsterilized needles. If you decide to use this method to get rid of unwanted leg hair, be sure to get treated by a board-certified dermatologist to greatly reduce the chance of these risks. 

Is it painful?

We wouldn't exactly say electrolysis is a pleasant experience. Keep in mind that this method inserts a fine probe into each hair follicle and sends an electrical current through it. That said, most people experience some discomfort, described as a stinging or pricking sensation as if you were getting a tattoo. If you have a low tolerance for pain, you might want to take a pain reliever an hour before the treatment and apply a cold compress following the session.

LASER 

Laser hair removal has been around for decades and is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the U.S. The laser emits a light that's absorbed by the pigment melanin in the hair. The light energy then converts to heat, which then destroys the follicles to inhibit hair growth. 

The lasers quickly and safely target coarse, dark hair and can effectively treat several hairs at once. For large areas like the legs, patients are in and out of the clinic in 20 minutes or less. While laser hair removal treatment permanently diminishes hair growth, it doesn't exactly eliminate unwanted hair forever. Hair still might grow in, but it'll come in lighter and finer than before

Is it effective for everyone? 

This popular procedure works best on people with light skin and dark hair because the laser likes a contrast to target dark colors. However, with the advancements in laser light technology, there are now lasers like the Nd:YAG that can safely and effectively remove unwanted leg hair on all skin tones. 

How many sessions does it take?

Generally, four to six laser sessions are needed, spaced out about four weeks apart. After you're happy with your slower hair growth, you'll likely want to go in a couple of times a year for a touch-up treatment. 

Are there any side effects?

There are a few more potential side effects with laser hair removal than electrolysis, which include: inflammation, swelling, blisters, irritation, redness, and pigmentation changes. But again, you can greatly reduce your risk by scheduling the procedure with a fully trained, certified laser technician working directly under the supervision of a board-certified healthcare provider. Experience is key.

Is it painful?

Laser hair removal treatment has been described as a rubber band snapping against your skin. It is said to be less painful than electrolysis since it's a faster princess and doesn't require addressing each follicle individually. 

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) 

Intense Pulsed Light or IPL is very similar to laser hair removal treatment. It uses the same principle of using light to heat up unwanted hairs, causing damage to the follicle to prevent hair growth at the root. However, instead of using powerful laser light to heat the hairs, it uses a broad spectrum of light that scatters deep into the skin. 

Is it effective for everyone? 

IPL works best for people with light to fair skin tones and dark, coarse hair. However, there are some devices out there like the Kenzzi IPL Handset, which comes with five different power settings to suit a wide variety of skin tones and skin sensitivities. IPL is not ideal for those with white or gray hair. 

How many sessions does it take?

The number of IPL treatments needed depends on your hair thickness and size of the target area. Legs, for instance, take around eight to twelve treatments to see a complete removal of hair. Similar to laser treatment, after you are happy with your slower hair growth, occasional IPL treatments throughout the year to prevent the hair follicles from regenerating are needed to keep unwanted leg hair at bay. 

Are there any side effects?

IPL treatment comes with little to no side effects. If your skin is really sensitive, you may notice a little bit of redness, but this tends to go away within an hour or two following treatment. 

Is it painful?

IPL treatment is generally not painful. 

Bottom Line 

There are many ways to remove pesky leg hair, but only three ways to permanently remove it: Electrolysis, Laser, and IPL. Take into consideration each method and your personal needs to make the best decision for you!

Sources: 

FDA

Electrology

News-Medical.net

Wiley


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