Guest post by Monica Leftwich
Millions of women have been in your shoes: spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on the elusive procedure that is laser hair removal.
You were excited to finally be on your way to hair freedom! You took the laser whippings across your face, legs, or other body parts like a champ, wanting to bust out in tears with every seething hot beep, beep, beep that tortures your body!
Only to find out all the money and all that pain went towards a lot of nothing. You paid all that money and sat through all that pain for worthless laser hair removal.
It’s not unusual for people to feel like their laser hair removal treatments were ineffective. I honestly felt the same way years ago when I got laser hair removal performed in college…only to find myself a hairy beast once again a few months later!
Is it a sham? Is it a false advertisement at its finest? Or is it just you not reading the fine print beforehand?
Well, it’s a little bit of everything.
With PCOS and other hormonal imbalance conditions, laser hair removal can prove to be a God-send for women battling hirsutism. However, if you really don’t know what you’re getting, you could find yourself disappointed and breaking out the razors again. A lousy technician, the wrong laser, or knowing the difference between permanent reduction and permanent removal can all contribute to a bonk laser hair removal job.
So, why didn’t laser hair removal work for you? Let’s explore 4 reasons.
#1 You didn’t read the fine print.
Yes, the pretty ads with impossibly good-looking hairless people smiling away in them are enough to persuade anyone to be hair-free, but don’t forget the fine print! Many popular laser hair removal spas have contracts that place the famous “results may vary” statement in the fine print. Meaning several factors could contribute to you not achieving hair removal as fast as you like, including hormones, not following after-care instructions, or not keeping to the treatment schedule.
#2 You confused permanent hair removal with permanent hair reduction.
Yes, many of us fell for the big old “NEVER SHAVE AGAIN!” or “FINALLY BE HAIR FREE!” banners and commercials. It simply is not always true.
To summarize, the FDA defines permanent hair reduction as hair removal that can be permanent for certain individuals and hair types and that regrowth is still possible.
Permanent hair removal, on the other hand, is when hair removal is truly permanent, meaning treated hair does not grow back most of the time. This is true for electrolysis but not necessarily laser hair removal, which is marketed to give you permanent hair reduction. It is possible to have hair treated with laser hair removal and not experience any hair regrowth. With both methods of hair removal, regrowth is still possible, but knowing the difference between the two will make you more informed and have more reasonable expectations with your treatments.
#3 Your technician was untrained.
Laser hair removal regulations differ from state to state, and the degree of training a laser hair removal technician receives varies.
It’s common for many nurses and women in healthcare professions to get training in laser hair removal, but spas can offer the same thing. Therein lays the problem. Someone who doesn’t understand dermatology, endocrinology, or hair growth patterns doesn’t know the correct type of temperature to use. This resulted in the many lawsuits plaguing the laser hair removal industry because too many people were having their hair and skin fried off. The technician may not know the difference between a YAG laser and an IPL device, resulting in limited or no results after several treatments. In the end, you’re left broke, angrily tweezing your annoyances away.
Make sure to check reviews on a business before shelling out money to them. Several negative Yelp reviews should be a red flag.
Always check for the proper licensure a business needs to do laser hair removal. If they cannot produce such documents or if they are not on clear display, leave.
#4 You have an undiagnosed hormonal imbalance problem.
Most of the women reading this probably have PCOS, but what if you got laser hair removal just for all of the hair to return months later? The treatments were successful only for a short period. What was a thin hair or two turned into several dark hairs? Next thing you know, your lady beard has returned! It’s not impossible that you could have an underlying problem causing the excessive hair growth that won’t resolve until you get the proper treatment plan for it.
For example, my official diagnosis was idiopathic hirsutism. During my first laser sessions, I was not on hormone therapy. However, I’ve been on Spironolactone for a few years now, and my most recent laser hair removal sessions have lasted much longer because my hormones are under control. Diabetes, obesity, or thyroid problems without the right medications could all contribute to your laser hair removal sessions being less effective.
Knowing possible reasons as to why laser hair removal did not work for you may help you make wiser decisions if you were to try it again. It is an effective procedure that has helped change women’s lives for the better, but it won’t make a difference if you walk into it uneducated.
Ask questions, check for regulation documents, know what to expect, and you may have better experiences with laser hair removal.
Are you ready to take the next step toward taking control of your PCOS? This free 32-page guide outlines the most basic issues and solutions for women with PCOS.
She’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Yahoo Style, and New York Magazine. When she’s not writing about raging hormones, she’s spending time with her loved ones or eating sushi and miso soup.