DIY beauty treatments are all the rage. What’s not to love about pampering yourself, trying a new look, and saving money?
In reality, however, DIY is rarely as simple as it sounds — and sometimes, it’s downright dangerous. Such is the case for complicated treatments such as laser hair removal, which is easier said than done.
At-home laser hair removal devices claim to provide an easier and more convenient means of getting that smooth look typically achieved by going to an esthetician. Unfortunately, these devices are far from reliable.
Risks vary based on the removal method and the quality of the device, but we’ve outlined a few of the most noteworthy problems below.
DIY Laser Hair Removal: What Could Go Wrong?
Even the best and most expensive brands are unlikely to provide the long-lasting results of professional laser hair removal. Before you go DIY, consider the following possible outcomes.
1. Hair Removal Is Far From Permanent
Most at-home laser hair removal devices don’t actually involve lasers. They use an intense version of pulsed light to mimic the effects of traditional hair removal devices. The intense light is absorbed by the hair follicles’ pigment. With time, the action may destroy the follicles to reduce hair growth.
From a safety standpoint, the lack of traditional lasers in DIY devices should be commended. Without proper training, it’s far too easy for a person to suffer side effects — like burns, blisters, or other problems when trying to administer powerful hair removal treatments.
Unfortunately, without the intensity of lasers, the results produced by some devices may be limited. Get ready for follow-up efforts, which will be required far more often than you’d like.
2. You May Experience Skin Tone Challenges
At-home devices are not particularly “smart” and often struggle to differentiate skin-based pigments from those situated in the follicle. As such, DIY treatments tend to produce disappointing results for people with darker skin tones.
Depending on the season, people with lighter skin may also be surprised by the ill effects of at-home procedures. This is especially true during the summer when tanned skin can also interfere with results. Even people with light tones may struggle if there is minimal contrast between the hair and the skin.
When laser hair removal is guided by an esthetician, you can rest easy knowing that different types of equipment are available to suit multiple skin tones. Dual-wavelength treatments use 755 Alexandrite lasers on skin featuring light or medium tones, while darker skin benefits from the use of 1064 Yag.
3. Doing It Yourself Is Time-Consuming
An at-home treatment might seem like an excellent option for saving time. Why book an appointment when you can complete hair removal treatments from the comfort of home?
In reality, DIY devices are usually frustratingly small. Their diminutive size renders them incapable of covering the surface area required for rapid treatment. The limited efficacy means that the process must be completed more frequently with no promise of lasting results.
With traditional laser hair removal services, visits are quick and easy. A skilled esthetician guides the process, applying treatments strategically to minimize the need for return visits.
4. The Results May Not Look Natural
Let’s assume that you manage to find an at-home device that adapts to your skin tone and effectively removes or limits unwanted body hair.
Do the results appear natural or is there a clear difference between areas that have been treated and those that haven’t? Unfortunately, a blended effect can be difficult to achieve with DIY solutions. An esthetician can deliver a far more natural look with help from advanced equipment.
5. It’s Not FDA-Approved
A general lack of government oversight makes at-home alternatives inherently riskier than professional treatments. The wrong device could leave you with severe singes or blisters, even if you operate it according to the instructions. It’s difficult for the average person to determine which systems can be used safely and which might lead to nasty burns.
The traditional laser hair removal process is strictly regulated by the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, as well as state and local authorities. Providers are required to meet stringent standards to ensure that customers are safe and comfortable — and that the services they receive are reliable. This oversight delivers much-needed peace of mind.
Currently, just one at-home device has managed to gain FDA approval. Other devices could pose significant risks. Why worry about such hazards for the sake of saving a few dollars — and with no guarantee that the results will last long enough to even justify the purchase?
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