Updated 16 August 2019

The limits of laser hair removal

Have you ever noticed that hair is always in the wrong places?

Have you ever noticed that hair is always in the wrong places? Why is a hairy chest sexy (on men, anyway), but a hairy back is yucky? Women shave their legs; men spend large chunks of their lives scraping hair off the bottoms of their heads and the same amount of time trying to preserve and protect the stuff that's on top.

There are dermatologists who specialise in transplanting hairs to the places where hair doesn't want to grow, and electrologists who make a living destroying perfectly good follicles as if they were crabgrass.

Recent advances in hair removal use lasers. But they have their limits. The June 1999 issue of Dermatologic Surgery gives an idea of how much permanent hair removal you can expect from laser treatment:

  • If you have laser hair removal on your upper lip, you can expect it to permanently remove 40 percent of the hair.
  • If you use lasers to remove leg hair, about 56 percent will be removed.
  • Do you plan to zap your back? Fifty percent hair removal is a safe estimate.
  • But don't expect much in the bikini area. There, the amount of permanent hair removal is only 15 percent.

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