Is Laser Hair Removal Or Waxing More Effective?

Should you go with laser hair removal or waxing? Which method is safer and offers longer-lasting results? While waxing is faster and more convenient than laser treatments, it may cause pain, burning, inflammation, and ingrown hairs, warns the Cleveland Clinic. Laser hair removal takes longer to work and can be expensive. Most people need about six sessions to get results, says the Texas Laser and Aesthetics.

Choosing between waxing and laser therapy is a matter of personal preference. Your budget matters, too. Generally, laser hair removal requires some preparation and may not be safe for everyone. If you take this route, you'll need to avoid sunlight and self-tanners before undergoing the procedure, says Vogue. Also, note that it's not recommended to get laser therapy when you take antibiotics. These medications can induce photosensitivity and increase the risk of adverse reactions (via DermNet New Zealand).

Another aspect to consider is that neither procedure offers permanent results. Moreover, both hair removal methods carry potential risks. Generally, laser treatment is safest when performed by a trained physician, dermatologist Marina Peredo told Self. She also warns that not all lasers are FDA-approved. 

Waxing can irritate the skin and cause infections

Waxing your arms, legs, or bikini line isn't the most exciting experience. It's common to experience pain, irritation, and redness for hours after removing the wax. In the worst-case scenario, you could burn your skin.

Another potential drawback is the risk of ingrown hairs, notes the Mayo Clinic. If you don't do anything about it, you may end up with bumps, dark spots, or pus-filled lesions on your armpits, legs, and other body areas. Ingrown hairs can also lead to infections and permanent scarring.

On the positive side, waxing leaves your skin smooth. Plus, it's quick and convenient. The results last for three to four weeks, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Just make sure you leave it up to the pros. At-home waxing can be messy and cause unnecessary pain. You also risk breaking the hair off at the surface instead of pulling it out at the root.

If you're looking for a permanent solution, ask your dermatologist about electrolysis. This procedure can be safely used on the eyebrows, breasts, underarms, and other delicate areas, destroying the hair growth cells. Currently, electrolysis is the only hair removal method with permanent results, according to the American Electrology Association.

Laser hair removal offers longer-lasting results but can be risky

Laser treatment uses a concentrated beam of light to destroy the hair follicles, which in turn may delay hair growth. Generally, you will need anywhere between two and six sessions to maintain the results. With this method, your body hair will stop growing for four to 16 weeks, notes the Mayo Clinic. The hair on your upper lip, for example, may grow back faster than the hair on your arms or legs.

The Mayo Clinic reports that laser hair removal works best for dark-haired people with light skin. In general, it's less effective for those with light hair colors, such as gray or blond. The procedure causes less pain than waxing because your doctor will apply a numbing cream on the treatment areas. The results occur gradually over several weeks and can last for years, but they are not permanent.

Like waxing, laser hair removal carries potential risks, such as skin irritation, redness, and pigment changes, explains the Mayo Clinic. Any skin irritation or swelling should subside within a few hours. Pigment changes, on the other hand, can be permanent. In rare cases, laser therapy may affect the skin texture, causing blisters or scars. Whether you go with laser hair removal or waxing, reach out to a professional. Both methods carry potential risks and may cause lasting damage to your skin.