Hair Removal Techniques Explained

Woman receiving laser hair removal on legs

Ahh, summertime – time for donning shorts and tank tops…and getting smooth legs and bikini lines. Usually, that means some time with a razor (and the nicks to go with it!). But if you’re ready to eliminate your shaving routine, several cosmetic treatments are available to turn hair removal from a daily chore to a once-in-a-while effort. Here are your options for getting smoother for longer.

Laser Hair Removal

There are many ways to remove hair – permanently or semi-permanently – but laser hair removal is one of the most popular. And it’s no surprise since the procedure is widely available, relatively painless, and delivers good results. It emits light into the hair follicles, destroying them with repeated treatments. There are several types of lasers for hair removal, including:

Diode lasers that target the melanin (dark pigment) in the hair. They use a single wavelength of light at a high frequency. These lasers are well-suited to small areas of hair, like above the lip.

Nd: YAG lasers: These types use longer wavelengths than other models, meaning they can go further into the hair follicle to destroy it. They can also be adjusted to target different melanin levels, meaning they work better on darker skin.

Alexandrite lasers: As the name implies, these lasers use alexandrite crystals. They have short wavelengths and a high repeat rate, so they can treat large areas like the legs quickly. Alexandrite lasers work best on fairer skin.

What to Expect With Laser Hair Removal

Before you go in for your laser hair removal session, your NaDerm dermatologist may ask you to take some preparatory steps, such as staying out of the sun and avoiding waxing or plucking hair. You might also be asked to shave, as having lots of hair above the skin can lead to burns from the laser.

During the session, your doctor will apply the laser device to your target area as you wear special goggles to protect your eyes. You may feel some discomfort, but it should not be painful. The length of the procedure depends on the size of the area you’re treating. For example, a session on the back or legs could take an hour or more.

Afterward, you may notice redness and swelling in the targeted area. This should go away in a couple of days. You will likely need to come back for repeated treatments. For areas of hair that grow fast, like the face, this could be in just a few weeks, while slower-growing areas like the back may not need retreatment for a couple of months.

In most cases, laser hair removal is semi-permanent – after a prescribed number of sessions, you may see hair grow back, but there will be far fewer strands than there used to be.

Avoid Home Laser Hair Removal Systems

There are laser devices marketed for hair removal at home, but using them is risky. There haven’t been many significant studies on their safety, and they can cause injury if not used properly. It’s a much better idea to get laser hair removal treatments from a medical professional.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

IPL treatments work similarly to lasers because they use light to destroy hair follicles. However, they use a broadband source of light rather than narrow, targeted light. This means that if proper techniques are not used, IPL can destroy melanin in the skin and the hair.

IPL hair removal often requires more sessions than laser to have a noticeable effect. The procedure for IPL is similar to those with lasers, and you may also experience redness and swelling side effects.

Like laser hair removal, IPL will reduce the amount of your hair growth but not eliminate it.


Electrolysis is an older but still effective hair removal technique. During the procedure, a doctor or aesthetician will use a probe to send an electrical pulse through each hair follicle, destroying it. It takes time to target each follicle, so electrolysis is best used on a small area of unwanted hair. The process can be slightly more uncomfortable than IPL or laser hair removal. (If you’re worried, ask your doctor for numbing cream beforehand.)

One big benefit of electrolysis is that it is a permanent hair removal technique. Once a hair follicle is destroyed, it will not grow back. However, you may find that a few follicles were missed in the years after your treatment.


Waxing is a lower-tech hair removal technique that works just like it sounds: Pliable wax is placed onto an area of your body with hair and then peeled away. The process removes hair down to the root, so it takes longer for it to grow back than it would with shaving.

A few types of waxing techniques can be used, including:

Soft wax: Also known as strip waxing, this procedure involves applying warm wax to the skin and then applying a piece of cloth or paper on top. The paper or fabric is then removed, and with it, the hair. This technique suits large, less sensitive areas, such as legs.

Hard wax: Warm wax is applied to the skin and allowed to cool and harden. The wax is then peeled off by hand, without paper or cloth. Since it’s gentler, it is better for sensitive areas like the bikini line.

Sugar wax: This procedure works similarly to wax but doesn’t use wax at all! Instead, a paste made of sugar is applied to your area of hair, wrapping around each hair shaft. Your aesthetician will then remove it using a flicking technique. This type of hair removal is best for people with sensitive skin or conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

No matter what option you choose for hair removal, NaDerm’s Atlanta dermatologists are here to guide you! Send us a message and set up a free consultation so we can help you decide on the best hair removal technique.

Our Locations

North Atlanta Dermatology has five locations around Northern Atlanta to serve you.

Duluth Office

3850 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, Georgia 30096

Suwanee Office

3370 Paddocks Pkwy.
Suwanee, GA 30024

Hamilton Office

3331 Hamilton Mill, Suite 1106
Buford, GA 30519

Cumming Office

1230 Bald Ridge Marina Rd., Suite 300
Cumming, GA 30041

Marietta Office

1519 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 175
Marietta, GA 30062