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Is Laser Hair Removal Really Worth It?

Is Laser Hair Removal Really Worth It?

Oct 1st, 2018 3:25 PM

by Adetoun Adeyemo

Many  years ago I decided to stop shaving my legs and switched to waxing. I was sick of ingrown hairs and the little red bumps that formed on my lower legs from an old school razor. (Note to readers: If this is already too much information, this article is probably not for you.) Waxing your legs, I soon learned, is wonderful—for three days. Then the hair begins to creep back in and you are stuck with it for at least 9month, throughout my pregnancy moments. It was so hard, that everything single on me grow so fast. At that time I knew I have to try Laser after the arrival of my baby. No more of this back-and-forth business, I decided. It was time to look into a more permanent option.

I remembered first hearing about laser hair removal years ago when people were first talking about it and thinking, “Eek, that sounds risky, I’m going to wait and see if this goes the way of the LaserDisc or the DVD.” Basically I wanted to make sure it was legit and worth the time, pain, and cost.

The way laser hair removal works, I soon discovered from a quick bit of precautionary research, is that pulses of highly concentrated light are emitted from the laser into the hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles absorbs the light and that destroys the hair. When I read that 90 percent of laser hair removal patients who are good candidates for the procedure report permanent hair loss after an average of three to six sessions, I was sold. “Chewbacca be gone,” I vowed to myself. “Next year, I am getting my legs lasered.”

My interest was particularly piqued by the spate of at-home laser treatments recently on the market. Could it be that easy? An investigation into the leading brands revealed some intriguing contenders, from the Tria 4X (an FDA-cleared device that claims to deliver more than triple the hair-eliminating energy of its DIY peers) to the IluminageTOUCH (which is approved to safetly treat a wider of skin tones than traditional lasers). But while the convenience of zapping away on my couch while watching Law & Order: SVU was seductive, none seemed quite right. I can barely operate my electric kettle—should I really be handling a laser?

“I advise caution because they’re supposed to be much less intense than in office lasers but in the wrong hands you can probably do some serious damage if you’re double- or- triple pulsing areas that you shouldn’t be,. “Typically people at home tend to be aggressive with themselves because they think that they can get a faster, better result without realizing potential consequences.”

I learned that in order to have bikini-worthy legs this season I would need to start the laser process in peak tights-and-boots weather. “Hairs have a growth phase and also a resting and a falling-out phase,. “Some of the hairs are not there right now because they are in the rest phase and not every hair will respond to the pulses.” Hence the need for multiple sessions, spaced about one month apart, the typical length of a hair-growth cycle.

 

I am next instructed to put on a pair of bottle-green goggles. Before we begin, she shares with me the one description of laser hair removal I have heard before: “It feels like a rubber band being flicked against your skin multiple times.”

Either I am wrong, or my pain threshold is incredibly low, because I find laser hair removal excruciatingly uncomfortable. In fact, I start to think, I would take a flick of a rubber band any day over the repeated burning zap of the laser. It feels like someone is taking a lit match to my leg and holding it up close. The darker the hair, the coarser it is; therefore more energy is emitted onto that follicle, causing greater discomfort. When those hairs are zapped, it feels like a bee sting—and you just have to hope there aren’t too many.

Clearly I’m not alone in this. Nearly half a million laser treatments were performed by dermatological surgeons in 2011 (the last year that collected data is available) according to the American Society for Dermatological Surgery, so it must be worth the minor suffering. Most people who get laser treatments are focusing on smaller areas of hair—underarm, upper lip, bikini line. These areas also happen to be much more sensitive: The very idea of getting my bikini line. These areas also happen to be much more sensitive. The lower leg, on the other hand, is one of the largest areas that they laser and it takes about 25 minutes altogether for both legs upon each visit.

By my next appointment I begin to see a real difference when I visit. The laser picks up a lot more “energy” when I find the whole experience far less painful. For several days following each treatment, I have a series of small red bumps on my legs and this actually elates me because I know it means that the laser has picked up that follicle and when the redness dies down that spot will be hair-free for life—a delightful thought as summer, and a season of confidently wearing my favorite miniskirt, begins.

 

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Full Bush Is the New Brazilian! How to Transition Like a Pro

Full Bush Is the New Brazilian! How to Transition Like a Pro

September 15, 2018 3:32 PM

Editor by, Adetoun Adeyemo.

As if it needs to be said, the full bush is back. But the au naturale look is far more than a fad or trend resurrected from the ’70s. For many women in 2018, body hair has inherent social implications that run the gamut from more newfound self-love to fighting the patriarchy.

While Lillian Tung and Laura Schubert, cofounders of the pubic hair and skin company Fur, firmly believe that how much or little hair a women chooses to keep down there—or anywhere else—is a personal decision, they do agree that online platforms such as Instagram are furthering the conversation around letting it grow out. “With the rise of social media as a ‘filterless’ platform, women are becoming more comfortable discussing [their] body hair,” they explain. And Bea Feliu-Espada, founder of feminine-care brand The Honey Pot, also sees a correlation with shifting beauty ideals. “I think the strong movement towards body acceptance and positivity that has been swelling up for the past few years includes embracing your pubic hair in its natural state,” says Feliu-Espada.

It’s a pivotal shift that New York City–based holistic ob-gyn Dr. Eden Fromberg, who has observed fuller hair down below in her patients over the past few years, believes is a long time coming. “Women are becoming increasingly aware that our bodies are a lot more than the visual or sexual playthings that past cultural norms implied,” she says. “We want to express our diversity and power, live our preferences, and feel comfortable in our own bodies without judgement.” And just as important to Fromberg as shattering stereotypes is getting the point across that pubic hair isn’t dirty or unhygienic. “Pubic hair exists to protect our delicate areas and encourages a diverse and often quite healthy microbiome, which keeps us in balance while preventing infection,” she continues.

And while forgoing regular waxing or shaving for the first time in a long time can be liberating, it can also be uncharted territory for many women. From minimal grooming to gentle cleansing, here the experts weigh in on how to maintain the natural look.

 

Invest in Trimmer Scissors

While a buzzer for your bikini line can be handy, Fromberg recommends cutting pubic hair with small trimming scissors (“Not a scissor that you use to cut paper or things in the kitchen!” she cautions), as well as sterilizing the blades beforehand with alcohol. For better results, use a magnifying mirror, and if the hair is long enough, a fine-tooth comb can help hold it in place as you trim. If you prefer to shave simply to neaten the area, do so with a natural shaving cream, like Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap, and be sure to disinfect the blade with a toner infused with witch hazel afterwards.

Exfoliate to Treat and Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs can be par for the course no matter how you wear your pubic hair. “When it comes to keeping ingrowns at bay, exfoliation in the shower works wonders,” say Tung and Schubert. Fur’s Ingrown Concentrate is infused with moisturizing coconut oil and antibacterial tea tree oil to help banish bumps; it comes with an exfoliating finger mitt to help lift dead skin and trapped oil in special spots. For extra care outside of the shower, you can also massage the area with Cap Beauty’s Bikini Dry Brush to boost circulation and speed up any needed healing.

Cleanse Gently—But Not Too Much

“When you grow out your pubic hair, a healthy cleansing regimen is important as you may have more issues with sweating and hair can trap odor and bacteria,” says Feliu-Espada. She advises using a gentle pH-balanced feminine wash free of artificial fragrance, parabens, and sulfates, such as The Honey Pot’s Feminine Wash Sensitive. “Avoid soaping up your vulva, labia, or inside your vagina, which can cause drying and irritation,” says Fromberg.

Nourish and Soften the Hair

“Cutting and shaving pubic hair will make the ends feel more scratchy and bristly in texture, so [one of] the benefits of leaving pubic hair long is that it feels soft,” says Fromberg. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the texture even silkier. Fur Oil is a cult favorite among many women—including Emma Watson—with its quick-drying grape seed, anti-inflammatory clary sage seed, and strand-softening jojoba oils, as well as its light citrus scent.

Let the Area Breathe

Another benefit of pubic hair is that it protects the skin against irritation from uncomfortable fabrics. That said, airing it out is important too. “Avoid tight clothing and let your pubic area breathe after a long day or sweaty workouts,” says Fromberg. And to that end, stay away from moisture-retaining synthetic fabrics and opt for organic cotton underwear, such as Skin’s organic cotton boy short briefs. A few adjustments to your regimen aside, you’ll find: The more pubic hair, the less to worry about.

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