As a subscriber to Allure magazine, you may have stumbled upon the article where Victoria Beckham was gushing about the perks of laser hair removal. In a recent interview, the former Spice Girl and current wife of David Beckham reported that she's given up the razor for good and now relies on lasers to keep her legs smooth.
In the Allure piece, Beckham said, “I don’t shave my legs. I got laser, which is amazing. You can go back for little touch-ups if you do see little hairs appearing. But I’ve been very lucky that I haven’t had to. That was one of the best tips that Eva Longoria ever gave me.”
The Laser Advantage
Celebrities like Beckham aren't the only ones falling in love with laser hair removal. In recent years, it's become the number-one cosmetic procedure in the United States, providing safe, effective results for both women and men.
And the reason is obvious: Whereas razors only shave away the hair above the skin, lasers destroy the hair follicle beneath the skin, ensuring long-term results. Once the follicle has been damaged, the hair does not grow back. Even waxing, plucking, and other methods that remove hair by the roots will not typically destroy the follicle, which is why the hair returns within weeks.
Because no pulling is involved, laser hair removal is also less painful than methods that rip hair our by the roots. If you do find the procedure uncomfortable, you can apply a numbing cream first.
Is Laser Hair Removal Right for You ?
Victoria Beckham makes an ideal candidate for laser hair removal because she has fair skin and dark hair. Lasers work by targeting the darker pigment of the hair follicle, so this contrast is very helpful. While the latest lasers are more forgiving of tan skin tones, the procedure may not be right if you have very dark skin or very light hair.
Certain drugs, like the acne medication Accutane, can also create complications with laser hair removal, so inform your practitioner of all prescription and OTC products you are taking. You may need to hold off on the procedure until you've stopped taking the meds and have waited long enough for their effects to fully wear off.
What to Expect
If you decide to go ahead with laser hair removal, it's vital that you find an experienced provider. As the American Academy of Dermatology reports, you can find fly-by-night laser operations in shopping malls and other nontraditional venues, but should always go with a reputable clinic. In the wrong hands, a hair-removal laser can cause burns and scarring. With someone who knows what they're doing, however, this should not be a reason for concern.
Before your hair-removal session, you'll be instructed not to tan, wax, or have chemical peels. Your practitioner may take pictures of the area to be treated so that you can compare the before and after photos.
During the treatment session, you'll be asked to put on special goggles, and then your practitioner will press a handheld device against your skin. He or she will engage the laser for a fraction of a second and then move on to the next batch of hairs, repeating the procedure until the entire area has been treated.
Because the hair grows in cycles, you won't be fully smooth after just one session. Most clients need four or more treatments to see the desired results. After that, your skin will stay smooth for the rest of your life, although you may need some touch-ups for new hair growth.
Actors and other celebrities know that, with their skin in the spotlight, they can count on lasers to eliminate any embarrassing fuzz. What works for them can work for you too, even if you're only trying to impress your boyfriend or look good at the pool rather than pose for paparazzi. If you're ready to ditch the razor for good, contact your local med spa or dermatology office to find out if laser hair removal is a good choice for you.
Mia Liefso is a professional medical skin therapist and the owner of Bradford Skin Clinic & Med Spa in Bradford, Ontario. She has certifications in IPL, VPL, LHE, laser and ultrasound technologies, as well as body contouring and medical facial peels. Her professional interests include difficult skin conditionsâ€”psoriasis, eczema, and acneâ€”premature aging, skin care for the elderly, endocrinology, and helping people love the skin they're in. Her diverse personal interests include history, animals, roller derby, travelling and gourmet cooking.