Last Reviewed on January 23, 2021 by Alice Pien, MD & Asher Milgrom, PhD
Unwanted hair is often viewed as the proverbial bane of our beauty blunders. Today, there are so many different methods of hair removal available that it can be hard to choose the best option.
Shaving is the long-standing winner for simplicity and convenience.
But when it comes to long-lasting permanent results, laser hair removal is, more often than not, the top choice.
So how can you decide which one of these hair removal options suits your needs and your lifestyle best? How does laser hair removal work? Is laser hair removal as safe as shaving? What are the side effects of laser hair removal? Let’s compare both shaving and laser hair removal in greater depth in order to answer all these questions and finally determine which is the best.
To Shave or Not to Shave…
Shaving is one of the oldest forms of removing hair from the body still used today. Shaving razors come in all sorts of different brands and styles, but all of them use a razor to remove unwanted hair from the surface of the skin. Some razors come with 1 razor blade in them and some use 3 or more. Some razors are electric and some are standard manual razors.
The best option for a shaving device is debatable, but all of the various choices guarantee certain things:
- Results are immediate
- Pain-free usage (minus any razor burn or nicks)
- Low cost per use
- Convenience and Privacy with at-home use
- Easy to use
- Minor risk of side effects
- Free of hair for roughly 1-3 days
Of course, some of these things will change based on the consumer and their individual situation. Additionally, prices for razors have been known to differ by region and retailer.
Another thing to consider when shaving is the lack of practicality when treating certain areas. For example, underarm hair, leg hair and male facial hair are all commonly removed with shaving razors. But hair on the bikini area, back, etc. aren’t that easy to remove by shaving, and may require another treatment method, such as laser hair removal.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
The goal of laser hair removal is the same as with shaving: the elimination of unwanted hair from treated areas. But while these two hair removal techniques share the same goal, they function very differently from one another. So how does laser hair removal work and what are it’s benefits?
Watch the video : How does laser hair removal work?
For one thing, laser hair removal eliminates unwanted hair by using laser energy to penetrate into the hair follicle root and disable the unwanted hair at its source. Using lasers for hair removal yields much longer hair-free results because it destroys the hair at the point where the hair originates.
You can do it Anywhere (almost)
Laser hair removal also can remove hair on virtually all areas of the body, including the face, legs, underarms, bikini line, arms, back, chest, etc.
Some areas where hair is to be removed are hard to reach with a razor, or they may be too delicate or sensitive of an area, and thus may benefit more from laser treatments.
The Cost Debate
To many laser hair removal fans, it doesn’t matter that the laser treatment is typically more expensive per session. This is because the long-lasting and permanent results obtained for this extra cost often make it worth the price; especially when considering the long-term expense and hassle of shaving every other day.
The cost of removing hair is a very important factor for many consumers, so individuals will have to compare the long-term expenses of the different treatment options with the level and length of results being achieved by both. Then decide what they’re willing to spend for removing their hair.
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?
Well let’s just say each case is dependent on how many hair removal treatments you may need, but these treatments will cost you close to what you would spend in only 3 years of waxing appointments.
So hair free in 5 to 6 visits vs. waxing and shaving for life! Wouldn’t you love knowing that after just a handful of treatments you will be hair free and smooth forever?!
Are There Side Effects?
Laser hair removal poses more potential risks and side effects with use than shaving does. This is mainly because of the powerful laser technology that’s utilized to effectively remove unwanted hair.
If used incorrectly, or by untrained individuals, this laser technology could be harmful to consumers. The laser itself is very strong, and because of how the lasers interact with hair pigments, it is imperative that patients discuss how their specific skin color, hair color, and/or existing skin conditions will react to the laser hair removal treatment.
The Possible Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
Possible side effects are also worth knowing. While laser hair removal has the edge on results, shaving is the most low-risk of the two by far. The possible minor side effects of laser hair removal include:
- Temporary redness
- Slight pain or discomfort
At worst, laser hair removal patients could experience some minor bleeding, scabbing, infection, burning, and some slight bruising. These side effects are rarely experienced, and shouldn’t occur if you have your laser hair removal treatments performed by a trained professional.
The Possible Side Effects of Shaving
As for shaving, side effects rarely occur. Many patients can experience razor burn, or the appearance of rash-like red bumps on the hair follicle if shaving wasn’t done properly.
And there’s always the possibility of nicks and cuts, but most consumers learn how to avoid this with time and practice.
The Results – Which Works Better
As indicated previously, the results of shaving and the results of laser hair removal can be very different in terms of length. This is largely because the mechanism of hair removal used for each are very different.
Watch the video : How does laser hair removal work on dark skin?
As most consumers know, shaving results are very short-lived. This is because shaving razors only remove hair at the surface level of the skin, whereas laser hair removal disables hair where it begins to grow, at the follicle root. This prevents it from growing back.
Hair growth happens in phases and, because shaving just removes the above-skin hair cells, as soon as any growth occurs, the shaved hair resurfaces. By comparison, with laser hair removal, regrowth occurs very infrequently because the hair is destroyed at the root – it won’t grow back.
Shaving results typically last 1-3 days, depending on individual hair growth rates and hair density. Laser hair removal results are permanent if patients have completed the required number of treatment sessions. At least six laser hair removal treatment sessions are recommended to maintain hair-free results.
Important note: Many laser hair removal candidates fail to realize that the process may take up to six months and should therefore be started in the winter in order to enjoy the results in the summer.
Which is Right for Me?
Obviously, once you’ve tried both, only you can say whether shaving or laser hair removal is really for you. The choice to go with one over the other can be a purely personal decision based on treatment technique, results preferences, cost, or it can be determined by a medical condition or candidacy issue.
Does laser hair removal work better than shaving? Only you can be the final judge of that.
Get a Professionals Opinion
Patients considering laser hair removal are advised to meet with the hair removal provider for a consultation prior to treatment. This is not only to learn more about the laser treatment itself before undergoing laser hair removal, but to find out what kind of laser technology the provider offers, and learn if it will produce the desired results.
Patients with darker skin and/or lighter hair will require certain types of laser technology to properly treat their unwanted hair.
At AMA Regenerative Medicine & Skincare we are yet to see a patient, who has completed all their treatments, that is not satisfied. Glamour Magazine documented one writers journey from her first laser hair removal appointment to her last. When asked if she thought the process was worth it she said, “Yes, I do. Every time I go, it’s exciting to see how much less hair grows back. I just wish it would hurry up!
A Note on Ingrown Hairs
Chances are that you have dealt with ingrown hairs before.
Watch the video : My ingrown hair removal treatment
These pesky red bumps can be found on legs, underarms or most infamously present on our bikini line.
There is nothing that I loathe more than trying to get rid of them. More often than not, they become red, inflamed and sometimes painful.
An ingrown hair is similar to a pimple – and represents a hair that has become trapped beneath the skin. You may be tempted to pick or pop it, but, as with a blemish, you shouldn’t.
Instead, have an aesthetician or dermatologist treat it, extracting the hair similar to extracting a pimple to be sure that you do not damage your skin.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
To prevent future ingrown hairs, laser hair removal is your best option.
If you are still set on shaving our waxing then exfoliate often. Even up to 3 times a week in the areas that you are most prone to ingrown hairs. Whether you shave or wax, keeping follicles free of dead skin and debris will not only help prevent ingrown hairs, but also prevent potential breakouts to keep skin looking healthy and glowing.
You can create an at home exfoliant from raw coarse sugar and jojoba oil, or utilize a scrub or cleanser that contains salicylic acid to keep skin clean and clear.