Permanent hair removal options - and how to find treatments near you
'Permanent’ hair removal isn’t actually a thing – even though it’s called that.
Unwanted hair – as annoying as can be – grows back, even after treatments. So, it’s best to think of it as permanent hair reduction, rather than permanent hair removal.
However, if you want to eradicate unwanted hair for as long as possible – whether on your face, legs or elsewhere – these hair removal treatments are still a great investment.
In this article:
What permanent hair removal options are there?
To achieve semi-permanent or permanent hair removal, professional cosmetic treatments at a clinic offer the longest-lasting results.
Procedures using a mixture of heat, light, lasers and needles to get rid of hair, can ensure it doesn’t grow back for weeks, months or even longer.
The three main cosmetic hair removal treatments are:
These treatments are generally used to remove hair on your:
- Face and chest.
- Arms and underarms.
- Legs and bikini line.
Treatments are carried out by a clinical practitioner or a trained beauty therapist and will generally be done over several sessions – with each treatment uses a different electronic device against your skin.
How do these hair removal treatments work?
A powerful laser plants pulses of energy beneath your skin, which destroys the follicle, making it difficult for the hair to grow back.
IPL stands for intense pulsed light. The light is spread across multiple beams, unlike laser treatments, which focuses everything into a single beam. It damages the root to slow regrowth.
Using a fine, electrified needle to get to the root of individual hair follicles, heat destroys each one. Hair is even less likely to grow back with electrolysis – which is why it is the only one of these treatments certified as permanent by the FDA.
Permanent hair removal costs – and other things you need to know
Before deciding which hair removal treatment is right for you, it’s important to understand costs, how long it will last and any potential side-effects. Always use a clinic that is licensed to provide these specific treatments.
Laser hair removal and IPL
How much does it cost?
It depends on the area size of your body you want to treat. A smaller area on your face will typically cost between 375 SAR and 600 SAR per session. Treating your legs can cost around 1,100 SAR to 1,350 SAR.
How often will I need it?
This depends on your hair and skin colour as the treatment is usually quickest on fairer skin tones with dark hair. For your legs and arms, a session every six to eight weeks is usually recommended; for your face, once a month should be fine.
Does it hurt?
Laser hair removal can produce a mild stinging sensation, while IPL treatments don’t tend to hurt much at all – side-effects can sometimes include swelling and blisters.
How much does it cost?
Around 250 SAR is a good starting point for a single session. A session lasts anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes – treating one follicle at a time – and you’ll generally need at least several sessions to see long-lasting results.
How often will I need it?
In the short term, you may need electrolysis as often as once a week for it to take effect. But once you start to see results, these can last for many months. Long-term, you may only need to return once a year for a top up.
Does it hurt?
Electrolysis is considered slightly more painful than laser or IPL treatments, and you may see some redness and tenderness in the treated area. Ask your doctor for advice on pain relief. They might suggest a numbing cream pre- and paracetamol post-treatment.
What alternatives can I try?
Other hair removal treatments that aren’t as long-lasting include:
- Waxing: Melted wax is applied to your skin and pulled off once it has hardened to rip out hairs at the root.
- Sugaring: Works in a similar way to waxing, only it uses heated sugar in place of the wax, backed with fabric to pull off once set.
- Threading: An ancient technique that originated in India and Asia, threading plucks hair using looped cotton. It’s mostly used on the areas on the face.
- Epilating: A shaver-like device pulls hairs from the root with tweezer technology.
In ancient Egypt women used tweezers made of seashells and sugar waxes to remove their body hair – as well as the hair on their head.
During World War II, women started to regularly shave their legs as a nylon shortage meant they couldn’t get hold of stockings and were bare-legged. This eventually led Remington to launch an electric shaver for women.
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