The safest way to remove hair is to shave, but that requires daily maintenance. If you have places on your body where you never want to grow hair, other methods may be worth the time, expense and risk. The key to safe hair removal is to find a professional with experience who is regulated by state or municipal agencies. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, electrolysis and laser treatment are regulated by the federal agency, as are depilatories, hair removal creams and waxes.
Consult with a dermatologist to find out if you are an acceptable candidate for laser surgery. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, doctors must take into consideration your medical history and your skin type. People with thyroid disease, for instance, may not be eligible for the treatment.
Prepare for the laser treatments by taking an antiviral medication to prevent the development of herpes in the area being treated. You'll also have to refrain from plucking or shaving the area and wait until any tan you might have fades.
Go to your first appointment. You will most likely be given an anesthetic to numb the skin where the hair is being removed. Expect to go back to the doctor as many as three times to completely eradicate all the skin follicles.
Visit a certified electrologist to undergo electrolysis to permanently remove unwanted hair if laser surgery isn't an option. According to the American Electrology Association, an electrologist removes hair by inserting a thin needle into the hair shaft and shooting a burst of electricity down the hair to kill it at the root.
Clean the area that is undergoing the treatment and prepare for a number of visits for electrolysis, since hair must be removed one at a time. No other preparation is required because the discomfort associated with the technique is tolerable for most patients and consists of a slight pricking sensation.
- Consider electrolysis over laser hair removal if your hair is fine or light in color. Lasers work best on dark, coarse hair.
- If you have hirsutism, a form of unnatural hair growth in women, you should talk to your doctor about taking an anti-androgen medication that can prevent further hair growth once you've had the current hair removed.
- Patients sometimes are given a skin numbing cream to apply prior to their laser surgery appointment. Be careful to follow the directions for applying the cream. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the numbing agents can cause life-threatening side effects such as a reduced heart rate or seizures.