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Laser Hair Removal vs Shaving

Today, there are so many methods of hair removal available it can be hard to choose the best option. The long-standing winner for convenience and simplicity is shaving. But when it comes to long-lasting results, laser hair removal is often the top choice. So how can you determine if one of these hair removal treatments suits your needs and your lifestyle better than the other? Let's compare each in greater depth and find out.

To Shave or not to Shave

Shaving is one of the oldest forms of hair removal still used today. Shaving razors come in many different brands and styles, but all of them use a razor to remove unwanted hair at the skin surface. Some razors come with 3 razor blades in them, and some use more. Some razors are electric and some are standard manual razors. The best choice for a shaving device is debatable, but all of them guarantee certain things:

  • Immediate results
  • Pain-free usage
  • Low cost per treatment
  • Privacy and convenience with at-home use
  • Easy application
  • Low risk of side effects
  • Hair-free status for roughly 1-3 days

Of course, some of these specifics will change based on the consumer and their individual situation. Additionally, prices for razors have been known to differ by region and retailer. Another shaving consideration is the lack of practicality when treating certain areas . For example, leg hair, underarm 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.

Why Laser Hair Removal?

The goal of laser hair removal is the same as with shaving: to eliminate unwanted hair from treated areas. But while these two hair removal techniques share the same goal, they function very differently from one another. 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. This method of hair removal yields much longer hair-free results because it destroys growth at the point where hair originates.

To many laser hair removal fans, it doesn't matter that the treatment is typically more expensive per treatment. This is because the long-lasting 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 hair removal is a very important factor for many consumers, so individuals will have to compare the long-term expenses of each treatment with the level and length of results being achieved by both. Then decide what they're willing to spend for hair removal treatment.

Laser hair removal also can remove hair on virtually all areas of the body, including the face, underarms, legs, bikini line, arms, chest, back, etc. Some hair removal areas are hard to reach with a razor, or they may be too delicate and sensitive, and thus may benefit more from laser treatments.

Laser hair removal poses more potential risks 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 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 laser hair removal patients discuss how their specific skin color, hair color, and/or existing skin conditions will react to laser treatment.

Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal vs. Shaving

Possible side effects and risks of laser hair removal vs. shaving 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
  • Swelling
  • Slight pain or discomfort
  • Itching

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.

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.

Results for Laser Hair Removal vs. Shaving

As indicated previously, the results for shaving and for 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. 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.

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 hair is removed at the root—it takes a significant length of time before hair can regrow to the point of surfacing above the skin.

Shaving hair removal results typically last 1-3 days, depending on individual hair growth rates and hair density. Laser hair removal results can last from 6 months to a year if patients have completed a certain number of treatment sessions. At least six laser hair removal treatment sessions are recommended to maintain hair-free results for up to a year.

Which One 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.

Patients considering laser hair removal are advised to meet with the hair removal provider for a consultation prior to treatment. This is to, not only learn more about the 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.

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