Sunday, July 14, 2024

Underarm Laser Hair Removal: Benefits, Cost, Aftercare

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To put it simply, I am nothing short of relieved after getting underarm laser hair removal. After only a few sessions, my armpits were completely bare and smooth for weeks, without an ingrown or dark, stubborn stubble in sight. Of course, it’s important to remember that all bodies are different; I’m not an accurate representation of all underarm laser hair removal experiences everyone. But for someone who was getting tired of having to shave three to four times a week to prevent a rapidly growing shadow of underarm hair, laser was well worth it.

Despite how long laser hair removal has been around now, there is still a lot that people don’t know about the process. Luckily, Sevana Petrosian, CEO and founder of SEV Laser, a popular medspa chain with a presence in over 10 states and a known list of celebrity clientele (yes, it’s the Kardashians’ go-to), shed some light on the basics.

“At SEV, we use state-of-the-art machines that are safe for all skin tones,” Petrosian tells PS. This is important to look for as different types of lasers are safe for different complexions. “Our dual-wavelength machines feature Alexandrite laser, proven to deliver the best results for lighter skin tones, and Nd:YAG laser, to safely and effectively treat clients with darker skin tones. For total comfort throughout the treatment, our machines are also equipped with a cold gust to help keep your skin cool and calm.”

Ahead, Petrosian answers the most-searched-for questions about underarm laser hair removal so you can feel completely confident it’s right for you before committing to the treatment.

Experts Featured in This Article

Sevana Petrosian is the CEO and founder of SEV Laser, which was founded in 2010 in Glendale, CA. Petrosian is an entrepreneur, investor, and beauty industry professional.

Is Laser Hair Removal For Underarms Safe?

Petrosian confirms that laser hair removal for the underarms is safe and is FDA-approved. “The laser itself damages the hair follicle without harming the surrounding skin, which terminates the follicle’s ability to regrow hair,” she says. Even though you may experience slight redness or irritation after a session, most locations offer soothing cream or Aloe vera that can be applied to immediately eliminate the issue. Most importantly, it’s important to remember that this reaction is natural and not a hazardous sign.

Is Underarm Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Laser hair removal for underarms is the most effective hair removal method, providing better and longer-lasting results than shaving or waxing. Since our underarm hair tends to grow darker and thicker than other parts of the body, it can be tough to achieve total smoothness — but laser is your best bet. It’s recommended that most clients undergo six to 12 treatments (with touch-ups scheduled in between as needed), but after only a few sessions, you should start to see a difference. Everybody is different, and some people may require more sessions to experience these same results. Ultimately, nothing is guaranteed to be permanent, and maintenance treatments may be required to sustain lasting results over time.

Does Underarm Laser Hair Removal Hurt?

Pain level is subjective as everyone’s tolerance is different, however, most people describe underarm laser hair removal as a very small sting (it’s more than a tickle, but less than a zap). Many newer lasers are equipped with a cold air blaster, which helps to minimize any feeling of discomfort and cool the skin down so it’s less painful. You can always ask your specialist to take breaks if needed.

When Do You Start Seeing Results From Underarm Laser Hair Removal?

Although results vary depending on each person, many people start seeing results after the first session by way of hair thinning. It’s recommended to wait one full week before shaving, at which time you will likely see some hair growth. After the first few sessions, you may start noticing hairs growing as usual and quickly falling out as the follicles slowly die.

How Much Does Underarm Laser Hair Removal Cost?

This depends on the area you live in, as well as the business you choose to complete the treatment. While SEV’s single sessions cost between $50-$60, varying by location, you can expect to pay up to $300-$500 at more expensive salons. Since you’ll need multiple sessions, this expense adds up over time. Finally, it’s important to remember that laser hair removal is an elective cosmetic procedure that is not covered by insurance.

How Long Does Underarm Laser Hair Removal Take?

For the underarm area, the laser sessions are fast, taking only roughly two to five minutes. Since your appointments should be scheduled roughly every six weeks (to allow time for each follicle to be targeted in the right stage of its growth cycle), it can take nearly a year or so before your treatment is finished. Keep in mind that any direct sun exposure that occurs means you’ll need to wait an extra two weeks to ensure the laser works properly, so factor in your vacations to estimate your total timeline.

What Are the Side Effects of Underarm Laser Hair Removal?

After you have laser hair removal on your underarms for the first time, you may experience swelling, irritation, or redness. In rare cases, you may also experience blisters or scarring, although these side effects are uncommon. Laser hair removal can also cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun. Pigmentation of the skin is also a possible side effect, typically affecting those with dark skin tones more commonly.

Underarm Laser Hair Removal Pre-Treatment Care

Petrosian recommends that all clients shave 24 to 48 hours before their appointment to prep the area. You should also not use antibiotics for at least two weeks before your appointment or iron supplements for 72 hours before. There should be no direct sun exposure to the area for two weeks so your skin is at its base color. This also means sunless tanners should not be applied for at least two weeks beforehand.

Underarm Laser Hair Removal Aftercare

After your underarm laser hair removal treatment, you should avoid hot showers, saunas, and intense exercise for at least two to three days. Just like you should avoid direct sun exposure for two weeks before, you should also avoid the sun two weeks after. For the first 24 hours, you also shouldn’t use deodorant or other scented products on the treated area (including soap). Finally, you should avoid shaving or exfoliating for a week to 10 days after your treatment, allowing the area to settle. If you experience redness, swelling, or irritation after a treatment, you can apply ice or Aloe vera to the affected area for relief.

Is Underarm Laser Hair Removal Worth It?

Depending on your expectations, laser hair removal might fall on either side of the fence when it comes to whether it’s worth it. It’s certainly an expensive commitment if you want to glean the true benefits of the procedure and maintain upkeep. For this reason, you should do your research when it comes to the business you’re choosing. “There are a lot of medspa companies that don’t follow accurate guidelines and cheat people out of their money,” Petrosian says. If you’re the type of person who can’t stand repeatedly shaving your underarms and you prefer a completely bare look, laser may very well be worth your time and money — as long as your treatments appear to be working and your location is highly reviewed.

Sarah Wasilak is the associate director of commerce at PS. With plenty of experience in the shopping market, a keen interest in SEO, and 10 years as an editor at the brand, she enjoys writing across the lifestyle and health-and-fitness categories. She has bylines at PS, InStyle, Elle, Refinery29, Who What Wear, Elite Daily, Byrdie, and The Quality Edit and aims to amplify minority voices in all her work.

Florie Mwanza was a former assistant editor for PS UK.

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