Some Fresh Perspective on Hair Removal If You’re Under Twenty
The Pros and Cons of Permanent Hair Removal for Teenagers
When an adolescent wants to step closer to the adult world, there’s always concern it’s happening too soon. And sometimes, it’s the teenager that thinks like this as much as it is the adult. Especially if there’s thought to be some risk involved.
We worry if we’re ready to start dating, move out, or commit to a new job. But now there’s a new concern. People are starting to wonder how old they need to be to start permanent hair removal treatments.
It used to be that the biggest hair removal question was about when women should start shaving their legs. But now girls are starting to think with a more modern eye, curious if they can blast away their leg hair without ever having to shave.
Since first being introduced in the 80s, hair removal products have gotten better, less risky, much more affordable. And what was once the exclusive domain of esthetic professionals is now also available in convenient at-home devices.
Hair removal has become the it option for dealing with unwanted hair. And teens want it, too. So, let’s examine any fear, uncertainty or doubt you might have about permanent hair removal if you’re under 20. We’ll begin by seeing what professionals recommend and go from there.
How young is too young?
It might surprise you to know that Health Canada doesn’t impose age restrictions on at home HPL hair removal treatments. They’ve reviewed the risks and found there’s no difference between teens and adults getting treatments. So, when it comes to professional procedures, decisions about age fall to the operator. They get to decide where they’ll draw the line, usually on a case-by-case basis.
Some professionals refuse to treat patients under fourteen while others may go as young as twelve.
While plenty has been done to reduce the hazards of hair removal, it’s not without its inherent risks. For instance, there’s the rare chance the treatment could temporarily alter your skin colour in the affected area. This is known as hypo- or hyperpigmentation, where the skin becomes lighter or darker. It’s particularly a risk for people who are tanned or have a darker skin tone.
There’s also discomfort associated with permanent hair removal. It’s gotten better since the early days of laser treatments which could be downright painful for some. But it can still be difficult for younger patients to stay still for their treatments. If you decide you’re mature enough to do your own treatments at home, you’ll need two things. First is a strong mental focus. Second is willingness to tolerate some minor discomfort in the name of hair removal.
Esthetic professionals find most adolescents can handle the treatments at sixteen. It’s not uncommon for them to recommend temporary alternatives to younger teens. These might include, shaving, waxing or depilatory creams like Veet or Nair.
Things for teens to consider re: hair removal
The teenage years mark the introduction of new hormones to our bodies. And as luck would have it, one of those hormones makes a lot of new hair grow. New follicles will pop up everywhere for years.
Because of this, some caution against hair removal until later. Start now and you’ll still have that new hair to deal with.
This is something to consider if you’re thinking about professional treatments. When you have to pay for every session, you’re guaranteed to spend more in the end. With home treatments, this is less of an issue. If you buy a unit that doesn’t need cartridge refills you can use it as often as you need without ever paying extra. Remember that with either method – at home, or in the salon, you will need more treatments to maintain a hair free appearance. That’s unavoidable.
And unfortunately, any discussion of what teens want will eventually have to consider peer pressure. It used to be adolescents only asked for hair removal if they had visible hair that undermined their self-confidence. But now that hair removal is more commonplace and affordable, it seems some teens want it for almost anything. Demand is going through the roof, but is it justified?
Sometimes the need for hair removal will seriously affect a young person’s quality of life. For instance, a teenage girl being teased without mercy about a hairy upper lip. But a lot of demand for hair removal is driven by more pedestrian issues. Ones that could be managed with ease by a razor. Before committing to permanent hair removal, ask yourself some hard questions first. Does this have to happen now? And is this what you really want? Or are you trying to live up to the expectations of others?
Finding your ideal solution
If you choose to go for permanent hair removal, bear in mind that every product is different.
This is especially true when we consider colour ranges. Almost any device can do at least a decent job removing dark hair from fair skin. But what about darker skin tones? Or lighter hair colours? Some products specialize in treating a wider spectrum, but there aren’t any devices, or salon treatments, that will effectively remove dark, coarse hair, coupled with dark skin tones.
It’s vital you find a device that can handle your distinctive colouring at a price point you can tolerate. If you choose to get professional treatments, check that their tools will work well for you. Different centres use different gear. And make sure you understand the true cost of the full treatment process. Make some calls. If you want to try an at home hair removal product, do your research. Making sure you get a device that’s right for you may take more work, but it’s more than worth it. Effective results are their own reward.
And before you get started, are you a sun worshipper? Understand there’s an increased risk of side effects like hypo- and hyperpigmentation when you tan. Solution: don’t do your treatments in the summer. Either that or avoid sunlight as much as possible, and make sure you’re always wearing high SPF sunblock, and when you do your treatments, ensure you’re using a lower energy level.
The best way to do your treatments is to do the bulk of your sessions over the winter.
Scheduling is important with hair removal. Every plan needs many treatments. And making sure you don’t miss sessions helps you reach your goal sooner.
The risk factors for permanent hair removal are basically the same for adults and teenagers. That said, if you’re under eighteen you’ll still need consent. If you want professional treatments, bring a parent or guardian for the first session. And if you’re buying an at-home device in a store, they may ask for ID.
Also, keep in mind that hair removal is permanent. While new hair follicles may grow in as you age, the ones damaged in the hair removal process are gone for good. Remember, this is a bell you can’t un-ring. Tattoos used to be forever. Now you can get them removed with a laser. Not so with hair removal. We can’t stress this enough: Don’t rush this decision.
And remember that trends come and go. Teenage girls aren’t likely to regret having their hair removed on their legs or under their arms. But if you get carried away, and disregard the long-term consequences, certain decisions could come back to haunt you.
The choice is yours
When deciding if you’re going to permanently remove your unwanted hair, the biggest point to consider is if you feel ready. While there’s generally no difference between adults and adolescents as far is risks are concerned, that doesn’t mean the process is risk-free. Read up on what you might be getting yourself into.
Also, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re truly doing it for yourself, great. If you’re doing it to be accepted by someone you’ll likely never see after graduation, reconsider.
And make sure you’re going in with your eyes wide open. Starting treatments while you’re still getting new hair follicles will mean more maintenance treatments in the long run.
Professional and at-home treatments both have their pros and cons. But at-home treatments have much more appeal. They’re more affordable, take the same amount of time (around 6 months), are less painful, and have less severe side effects. And if you want to keep your treatments a secret, no one but your parents will ever know.
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