The Dermatologist’s Guide To At-Home Laser Hair Removal

·4 min read

Between shaving, waxing, sugaring, threading, epilating, and good ol' fashioned Nair, there's no shortage of ways to remove body hair if that's your thing — but laser hair removal is the only method that promises smooth, hairless skin on a permanent basis. While the service is available at most cosmetic dermatologists' offices, there are many at-home devices touting similar benefits at a fraction of the cost of an in-office package.

If you're wondering how those handheld gadgets work — and, most importantly, if they're suitable for your skin type — then you've come to the right place. "Laser hair removal is an excellent way to reduce unwanted hair, but there are a lot of things that go into the decision of which laser is best for you," Morgan Rabach, MD, dermatologist and cofounder of LM Medical, tells Refinery29.

Achieving permanent results from at-home options can take a few months, so if you're spending a lot of time home and practicing social distancing, now's a good a time as any to start on your at-home laser journey. Ahead, everything you need to know before you try zapping from the comfort of your bedroom.

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<h3>Braun Silk·expert 5 IPL BD 5006</h3><br>In-office lasers work by destroying the pigment within the hair follicle, eventually resulting in the hair's inability to grow back. IPL (which stands for intense pulsed ligtht), on the other hand, works as a less intense version of what you'll get at the derm. "IPL devices are not true lasers, as they emit a broad spectrum of light rather than an individual wavelength," dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, explains. Dr. Rabach adds, "Lasers work by using a single wavelength of light and targeting a specific pigment." Braun's Silk Expert uses sensors to register your skin tone and adapt the light intensity to the safest energy setting possible.<br><br><strong>Braun</strong> Silk·expert 5 IPL BD 5006, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2QMamVq" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Braun Silk·expert 5 IPL BD 5006


In-office lasers work by destroying the pigment within the hair follicle, eventually resulting in the hair's inability to grow back. IPL (which stands for intense pulsed ligtht), on the other hand, works as a less intense version of what you'll get at the derm. "IPL devices are not true lasers, as they emit a broad spectrum of light rather than an individual wavelength," dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, explains. Dr. Rabach adds, "Lasers work by using a single wavelength of light and targeting a specific pigment." Braun's Silk Expert uses sensors to register your skin tone and adapt the light intensity to the safest energy setting possible.

Braun Silk·expert 5 IPL BD 5006, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X<br></h3><br>"The more specific the laser is for your hair type and skin, the more effective the treatment will be," Dr. Rabach says. "If you use the wrong at-home device, or too many passes, there is also a risk of burns or hyperpigmentation that can take years to fade — if it can ever fade completely." While the Tria is pricey, it's one of the most sophisticated at-home devices we've seen, with Diode Laser Technology that mimics results seen from a professional treatment.<br><br><strong>Tria</strong> Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/3bx2O0Q" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X


"The more specific the laser is for your hair type and skin, the more effective the treatment will be," Dr. Rabach says. "If you use the wrong at-home device, or too many passes, there is also a risk of burns or hyperpigmentation that can take years to fade — if it can ever fade completely." While the Tria is pricey, it's one of the most sophisticated at-home devices we've seen, with Diode Laser Technology that mimics results seen from a professional treatment.

Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Silk'n Infinity<br></h3><br>The Silk'n Infinity can be used on the face <em>and</em> body, and has an unlimited number of flashes preloaded onto the device. Plus, it uses a proprietary eHPL light technology to precisely target the follicle for optimal results. That said, many at-home devices are only safe for use on naturally light brown to black body hair, so always make sure you consult a derm before embarking on your hairless journey.<br><br><strong>Silk'N</strong> Infinity, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2SVDMCi" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Silk'n Infinity


The Silk'n Infinity can be used on the face and body, and has an unlimited number of flashes preloaded onto the device. Plus, it uses a proprietary eHPL light technology to precisely target the follicle for optimal results. That said, many at-home devices are only safe for use on naturally light brown to black body hair, so always make sure you consult a derm before embarking on your hairless journey.

Silk'N Infinity, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Me Sleek Hair Reduction Device<br></h3><br>"Patients tend to think more is better when left to their own devices," dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD, says. If you're going the at-home route, heed her advice and don't overdo it, lest you end up in a doctor's office to treat a nasty burn. Use a device like the Sleek (which uses a mix of IPL and radio frequency to be gentler on skin) a maximum of once a week for seven consecutive weeks to start seeing results.<br><br><strong>Me!</strong> sleek Hair Reduction Device, $, available at <a href="https://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/me-me-sleek-hair-reduction-device-prod201810079" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Neiman Marcus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Neiman Marcus</a>

Me Sleek Hair Reduction Device


"Patients tend to think more is better when left to their own devices," dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD, says. If you're going the at-home route, heed her advice and don't overdo it, lest you end up in a doctor's office to treat a nasty burn. Use a device like the Sleek (which uses a mix of IPL and radio frequency to be gentler on skin) a maximum of once a week for seven consecutive weeks to start seeing results.

Me! sleek Hair Reduction Device, $, available at Neiman Marcus
<h3>LumaRx Full Body Hair Removal System</h3><br>Each LumaRx cartridge holds 65,000 IPL flashes, enough for roughly 40 full-body treatments — which amounts to $11.25 per session, if you factor in the $450 price point. With consistent use, the device can slow down and eliminate future hair growth by targeting follicles.<br><br><strong>LumaRx</strong> Full Body Hair Removal System (1 kit), $, available at <a href="https://www.dermstore.com/product_Full+Body+Hair+Removal+System_62780.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a>

LumaRx Full Body Hair Removal System


Each LumaRx cartridge holds 65,000 IPL flashes, enough for roughly 40 full-body treatments — which amounts to $11.25 per session, if you factor in the $450 price point. With consistent use, the device can slow down and eliminate future hair growth by targeting follicles.

LumaRx Full Body Hair Removal System (1 kit), $, available at DermStore

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