I think my genes are cursed with unwanted hair. We are two siblings, and my sister, who is older than me, has a serious problem of hair sprouting on her arms, legs, stomach and even her back, much more than in my case. I don’t really remember my mother having similar problems, and my dad was not particularly hirsute too. I find it awkward, clearing up out of place and unsightly hair from my shoulders, back and my abdomen. Since we both had this problem, more so my sister, we used to help each other out using simple hair removal measures, starting with shaving and epilation.
Unfortunately, she is the peripatetic kind, as her job requires her to shift base every now and again. In her absence, I was forced to visit beauty salons for hair removal. So was she. When I totted up my bills at the end of the month, I’d be shocked at how much this unwanted hair was costing me. Just waxing my chest, eyebrows and the back of my neck would set me back a hundred bucks a month. My abdomen and back would hit me another hundred fifty a month. Add to that the post wax-treatment lotions, another thirty dollars gone. I’m no Oprah; my unwanted hair was really pinching my finances. Then my mathematical tendencies set in. I thought to myself: what if I could do all this myself? Even if I had to pay a thousand dollars upfront getting the necessary equipment and training, it would pay for itself within months. Add to the fact that I could share this cost with my sister, it seemed a no-brainer. But convincing my sister would be a hurdle. She doesn’t share my logical inclinations and would balk whenever I try to ‘do the sums’ to convince her. She is the type of person who is reluctant to get out of her comfort zone once she settles into a routine (even as I’m typing this I can imagine her telling me how nice the therapist is, or how dangerous it is to do hair removal DIY…) I knew I needed to do detailed research and present to her with such a compelling alternative she just cannot casually dismiss.
So I did what I had to do: research. Times have changed. Excessive hair is an accepted fact, even if the afflicted person finds it depressing. More and more methods of removing hair are coming out and the last word in hair removal appears to be laser treatment. Surveys have shown that this process is the most common depilation procedure in the U.S. It is a simple procedure. Highly amplified light is beamed onto hair follicles, effectively vaporizing them and eradicating the hair. Lasers can be used on any part of the body because of its extremely small beam width. The advantages are:
- Precision. Laser beams target the relatively dark and thick hair, without affecting the skin.
- Speed. Laser pulses take microseconds and treat many strands of hair simultaneously. Small areas like the lips are treated in around 30-40 seconds. Areas like the back take between 30-45 minutes.
- Predictability. 90% of patients report permanent depilation in four to five sittings.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has calculated that the cost for laser therapy is $235 per sitting, on the average. With the additional cost of lotions, creams, etc., I can expect a thousand dollar dent in my wallet. It would be far more cost effective to buy an at-home laser hair removal system. A desktop version will set me back between $450-500, whereas a portable system costs under $300. One laser lamp should last for 1,500 flashes, or three to four full body sessions. Replacement cartridges cost $30-35 each. If more than one person in a family uses it, overall session costs drop markedly to an average of $50-60. Since each session saves up to $175 compared to salon treatment, I can recover my investment in two to three sittings! Mathematically, it just makes perfect sense to go DIY!
However, I also need to preempt my sisters risk aversion, so I would also need to do my research on which specific laser hair removal system would be the safest and minimizes the possibility of pain discomfort, and in the worst cases, injury.
I am currently evaluating several FDA cleared home laser hair removal kits. Based on an article I found on beyondtalk.net, which compares the Tria 4X with the Remington i-Light Pro, among other systems, I have shortlisted those 2 devices as my most likely eventual purchase. The Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X laser kit is priced at close to $500, since it uses a patented system that has done away with lamp replacement. If lucky, you may find it at a discounted price of $400-450. I find it a hassle free and user friendly system. The Remington IPL6000USA I-Light Pro kit is cheaper, at under $400. This unit has a lamp guaranteed for 1,500 flashes, making its replacement indirectly dependent on the type and quantity of hair to be removed per session. I expect it to last through four sessions. The fact that the lamp needs replacement is acceptable, considering total overall cost. In order to make my sister feel like she is being consulted before making a decision, I will ask her to help make the choice together. If everything goes well, I could save some serious money and solve my hairy woes at the same time very soon!