Home vs. Professional Laser Hair Removal: Which is Better?

If you’re tired of constantly shaving, or enduring painful waxing and tweezing to remove unwanted hair, you’ve probably considered laser hair removal. Among the most common cosmetic procedures in the U.S., laser treatments can offer long-lasting hairlessness and a reduction in unwanted hair overall. The procedure is quick and offers only relatively minor discomfort. With new home laser hair removal systems entering the market making aggressive claims about their effectiveness, many people are wondering about the pros and cons of getting professional laser treatments versus investing in a home machine. Home laser removal brands such as Tria, Boots, E-One, and No No all promise hair-free results.  Are these machines really worth the big investment?

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

In order to evaluate whether professional laser treatments will work better for you than a home removal system, we first need to explore the science behind the procedure. Laser hair removal works by beaming a highly concentrated light into your hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles absorb the light and the hair is destroyed at the root. Useful for removing hair from the face, legs, arms, underarms, bikini line and other areas, laser treatments can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.

Pros and Cons of Professional vs. Home Laser Hair Removal

Experienced Professionals: A professional who is trained in laser hair removal will be able to assess your skin and hair type and will tell you if this treatment is appropriate. A trained clinician will also be able to administer the treatment without the risk of damage or unwanted side effects. Depending on where you want the hair to be removed, laser treatments may require more precision and training than you’ll get using a home system.

Accuracy: A professional administering the treatment will be sure not to miss spots, and brings skill and expertise to the procedure to ensure accuracy. At home, you’ll need to be very careful to pulse the entire area, and might want to have another person with you to make sure you don’t miss anything, or you’ll have irregularly shaped hairy patches growing back.

Longer-lasting Results: Although home laser systems work much the same way as professional ones, they use a lower intensity with less effectiveness. Many people find that the hair grows back faster and the treatments are less permanent than professional hair removal.

Faster Results: Because the intensity of at-home machines are not nearly as high as those found in professional salons, it takes a long time to do even a small area. While professional laser treatments also require multiple sessions, more hair removal is accomplished per visit and fewer treatments are needed. Home hair removal systems average about 10 or more at-home treatments to accomplish what three professional treatments can do.

Targets More Areas: Many at-home systems are not FDA-approved to remove facial hair, and also warn that their product is not appropriate for people with certain hair colors or skin types. Some machines will also ask you to select your skin type before using. Incorrect use can result in permanent damage such as pigment changes or scarring. Professional laser machines target more areas and an experienced aesthetician can consult with you beforehand to be sure you are a candidate for the procedure.

Pain:  With at-home machines, you can control the intensity so that your pain level is tolerable. The downside is that if the intensity is too low, you’ll need many more treatments to achieve your desired results. Many clinicians who perform professional laser hair removal treatments will use a topical anesthetic to reduce your discomfort, so you can get the best results from your sessions.

At-home laser hair removal can be a reasonable option for some people; however, many men and women find that professional laser hair removal offers more advantages. If you want to get the same or better results with fewer treatments, be sure it’s done with a high degree of accuracy, and have someone else perform the treatment while you sit back and relax, professional laser hair removal is the best choice.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.