July 19, 2005
Men have been looking for ways to keep their hair for years, but now some are trying to remove it. There is a procedure, catching on with men, that eliminates body hair permanently.
"More men are just more aware of hair growth that they don't like, on their backs in particular," said Dermatologist, Dr. Anna Magee.
But men aren't the only ones interested. Laser hair removal is the top non-surgical cosmetic procedure for those under 35 and especially late teens to early 20s.
"I think that's an age, where they are feeling embarrassed by hair growth and their parents are recognizing this as a great option," said Magee.
People of all ages are getting it done. Caroline Megahan, mother of four, is halfway through her treatments.
"It will be really nice not to have to worry about shaving or you know, razor burn, ingrown hairs, stubble," said Megahan.
Doctors and nurses put the laser on the skin. Pushing the trigger releases a bolt of energy which is absorbed by the pigment in the hair.
The tip of the laser is only about 6 millimeters, or half a centimeter wide, which makes it very time consuming to cover such a small area.
Not only is it time consuming, but it can be uncomfortable as well.
"It hurts," Megahan said. "Like you are being snapped by a rubber band. Real briefly, but each time they zap it, it goes snap, snap, snap. Then afterwards it feels like you have a pretty bad sunburn."
People are spending hundreds and thousands of dollars for these procedures, which take an average of five visits, each about once a month--especially in warmer months.
"It's definitely a seasonal preference, a lot of women come in the summer time because they want to wear swimsuits," said Magee.
The best candidates are fair skinned with dark hair and most places will not perform the treatment on tan skin. Sessions range from $800 for the bikini line and underarms, to over $4000 a man's back and shoulders.