Permanent Hair Removal When You’re Under 20: The Latest Perspective
How soon is too soon? That’s the question always raised when a teenager expresses interest in trying something the least bit risky.
Usually, these conversations revolve around more conventional rites of passage. Activities like driving and relationships. But let’s look at a relatively new development—permanent hair removal.
The big teen hair removal debate used to be about girls shaving their legs. But now teens looking at a potential lifetime of nicks and cuts are interested in giving up their razors for permanent hair removal solutions.
Permanent hair removal has come a long way since its introduction in the 1980s. It’s gotten more effective, safer, and less expensive. Now you can even buy devices that provide the same results as salon treatments would, but in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
As its popularity grows, hair removal has become an attractive option for managing unwanted hair for all age groups. But still, the debate rages over how young is too young to begin laser hair removal treatments (note this is for salon, laser hair removal). If you have similar doubts or concerns, let’s help you out by looking at some guidelines dermatologists recommend in such matters.
Are there any minimum age requirements?
The short answer to this question is . . . no. The FDA hasn’t put any age restrictions on hair removal devices. Professional procedures on younger patients are done at the operator’s discretion, provided they have parental consent. While some may choose to restrict treating anyone younger than fourteen, some will offer their services to children as young as twelve. The decision to do so is always evaluated on an individual basis.
Though the process is relatively risk-free, some potential complications could arise. In rare cases, hair removal treatments can cause temporary pigmentation shifts—darker or lighter. And this side effect might attract unwelcome attention, especially for teens still in high school.
Salon laser hair removal treatments typically come with a little discomfort. This is even less of an issue for at-home hair removal devices, since the power levels involved are much less than that of their salon counterparts. At home device manufacturers have gone to great lengths to offer a pain-free hair removal experience. But the fact remains that some teens may not deal with the discomfort well.
There is also the time involved to consider. For professional treatments, the individual is required to lay immobile for the length of the treatment. This is similar with at-home treatments administered, although the user is in control, and can take breaks when they see fit. For a teen doing their own treatments, a certain amount of mental focus and tolerance for discomfort is mandatory.
Many professionals find that most teens can handle treatments by age sixteen. For younger children, it’s not uncommon to recommend less-permanent solutions until they’re older. Alternatives to consider include shaving, waxing and depilatory creams.
Teen-specific issues in permanent hair removal
Adolescence is known for its raging hormones. And lo and behold, hair growth is controlled by these same hormones. Indeed, the teen years are a time of new hair follicles continually growing in for both boys and girls.
For this reason, some specialists caution against beginning treatments too soon. With new hairs activating throughout the teen years, you'll need more treatments than if you were to wait until you were slightly older. This isn’t really an issue if you’re doing your treatments at home. But be prepared to do more maintenance treatments than usual over time. And if you’re getting professional work done, expect to pay extra.
Another aspect of teenage life to consider is peer pressure. Permanent hair removal for teens was once the expensive and exclusive last resort for those with visible problem areas. Now that it’s become more available and affordable, the number of teens who want it—and get it—for more common issues is skyrocketing.
There are girls who struggle with facial hair and there are ardent swimmers desperate to cut down on resistance. There are teen models who are pretty much required to be body hair-free. And then there are those who would simply rather not worry about shaving their legs—ever. At the risk of sounding uncool, you have to ask yourself some deep questions before committing to permanent hair removal. Chief among them: Is this what you want, or what others say you should want?
Picking the best solution for you
Not all hair removal devices are created equal. Not by a long shot. Some products can only deal with a limited range of skin tones and hair colors. And the units that can handle more inclusive ranges often come with steeper price points.
It’s crucial that you make sure the treatment you choose will do an effective job for your skin tone and hair color. If you have fair skin and dark hair, almost any device should be able to meet your needs. If you opt for professional treatments, ask them how effective their treatments are for your distinctive coloring. And if you’re buying an at-home solution, do your research and make some calls - don’t be afraid to ask questions. Finding the unit that’s best for you can require a little homework but will be worth it in the long run.
Another question to ask yourself is: How much do you like to tan? If you spend a lot of time in the sun that could increase the likelihood of certain side effects. If this could be a problem for you, consider doing the bulk of your treatments between late fall and early spring to minimize the risk.
And speaking of scheduling, it’s important to keep on top of your treatments. There are no one-and-done solutions for this. Any hair removal technique will require multiple sessions.
Is hair removal riskier for teens?
The reason the FDA hasn’t set an age limit on permanent hair removal is simple. The risks factors are the same, regardless of age. If you're under eighteen and want professional treatments, you’ll need parental consent. If you go for home treatments under eighteen, talk it over with your parents or guardian first.
One thing to consider is that some trends in hair removal are just that—trends. Cultural preferences come and go, but permanent hair removal is forever. Once you’ve committed to this course of action there’s no undoing it. When a hair follicle is damaged to the point it won’t grow hair anymore, it’s permanent.
That said, many cultural preferences in hair removal are here to stay. It’s not likely that a woman who has removed her underarm or leg hair will ever suffer regret over the matter. All we’re saying is think about the long term, exercise some caution, and don’t get too carried away.
What will you choose? Back to school sales event on now!
So, how soon can you get started with personal hair removal? Seeing as there are no significant health risks, you’re likely safe to start in high school. Assuming you have approval from your parent or guardian if you’re under eighteen, that is.
The big things to keep in mind are as follows:
- Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and not giving into peer pressure.
- Be ready for the added responsibility involved in following through on your course of treatment.
- Be prepared for extra maintenance sessions if necessary.
Invest in an at-home hair removal system such as the Infinity or the Flash&Go Express – or see what’s on sale during our back to school sales event – save up to 40% on select hair removal devices.
The choice is yours, ultimately. As you might expect, we recommend at-home treatments, especially for budget-conscious students. Along with the added benefit of doing the treatments in the comfort of your own home. The initial outlay of cash is greater, but it’s a one-time deal. You’ll likely never pay another cent. And professional laser centers can’t make the same promise.
Get the best in at-home permanent hair removal
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