Separating fact from fiction: Everything you need to know about laser hair removal

With summer upon us, it means skin-baring outfits galore! But let's face it, no one loves the feeling of that pesky stubble on your legs or armpits just a day (or even hours!) after shaving. 

From waxing to threading and even sugaring, there are a ton of hair removal options. The problem with these treatments, however, is that they only provide temporary results.

To truly have a hair-free summer (without having to shave every day) one option to consider is laser hair removal. 

I was skeptical of laser hair removal myself, but after one hair removal session for my underarms with Dr. Estee Williams at her posh Upper East Side office, I was hooked! The whole process took no more than 15 minutes and I continued on with my morning. 

After a couple of days, the skin on my underarms began to feel shockingly smoother ... and it only got better from there. It has been about six weeks since I got my first treatment, but I can already tell the difference one session has made! I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to shave my underarms, and the type of hair that has grown back is finer than what it was before. 

To keep my underarms hair-free, I know I will have to go back a couple of more times (and keep on maintaining it with a yearly visit after the initial sessions), but trust me -- the results are definitely worth it!

AOL Lifestyle spoke with Dr. Estee Willliams, on behalf of Lumenis Lightsheer, to separate the facts from the myths when it comes to laser hair removal.

AOL: Do you need to have a certain type of hair to get laser hair removal?

Dr. Williams: For laser hair removal to be effective, the hair needs to be pigmented, meaning have any degree of brown. Hair should be dark brown or light brown, but not blonde or white, since the laser cannot “see” hairs that lack pigment.

AOL: How many sessions does it take to see the best results?

Dr. Williams: The average is 4 to 6 sessions, but it depends on the body part, the amount of type of hair, and the response after the 1st session.  

AOL: How does the laser hair removal machine actually work?

Dr. Williams: There are different types of laser hair removal devices that differ in their wavelength of light (the actual “laser), in their method of delivering the light, and other technical differences. The Lumenis LightSheer system is the most widely installed laser hair removal system in the world. It has a patented vacuum suction that helps keep the treatment tolerable, and pain minimal. 

AOL: Is the hair removal process pain-free? 

Dr. Williams: The pain involved in laser hair removal is considered on the low end for cosmetic treatments (especially when using the Lumenis LightSheer) and is actually better than waxing.  Patients who request topical anesthetic cream are given a prescription for it and instructed to apply a generous layer directly on the treatment area 30 minutes before their treatment.

AOL: What are the most common areas of the body to get laser hair removal on?

Dr. Williams: The most popular areas to get laser hair removal are the upper lip, chin, underarms and bikini areas.

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