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Laser Hair Reduction: Worth It?

Style and Grooming Editor, Barret Wertz meets with Dr. West to try out the LightSheer laser process.

I'm not a particularly hairy guy. Some here to trim, some there to shave, but over all, I'm pretty standard in the hair department. Except for one area: the back of my neck. It's basically full bush seven days post-haircut. I know you guys can feel me on this. Luckily, being Men's Fitness' Style and Grooming Editor means I'm inundated with information about the newest and coolest grooming innovations.

So, I have tried seemingly every method there is to tame my neck hair from shaving to waxing, and even depilatory cream. Up until recently, I thought anything more serious would require time, pain, and a lot cash. But when I heard about the newest incarnation of laser hair removal, I had to try it myself, tackling my neck-bush with a little more gusto than I have in the past. 

I met with the renowned Dr. Tina West of the West Institute outside Washington D.C. to explore my hair removal options. First and foremost, I learned that it is not actually hair removal, it is reduction. It's not a cure-all for any excess hair I may have. I will never be able to just forget I have neck hair. But, I would see a huge improvement, I was told. I might even be able to avoid special neck-hair-only shaves at the barber. 

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So it was time to get to it. I assumed there would be numbing creams and robes and a lot of discomfort. Not so. Dr. West used the brand new LightSheer Duet for the procedure. The LightSheer Duet is a state of the art laser used for hair reduction. It allows for large treatment spot size and it's up to five times the speed of earlier laser hair reduction technology. 

“Men are oftentimes seeking lunchtime treatments that are now possible with more efficient laser hair reduction that is fast and painless, without the extra time previously required for numbing creams,” says Dr. West. “The big advantage of laser hair reduction compared to other methods of hair removal is that the laser is the only technology that changes the way the hair grows back, causing it to grow back finer and more slowly.” 

First, Dr. West took a look at my neck to determine how good of a candidate I would be. Turns out, laser hair treatments work best on fair skin and dark hair. That's because the less melanin and the more pigment in your skin, the better the laser will work.  Does that mean it's not worth trying if you have a summer glow? No, but it does mean it may be best to wait until the cooler months so you can get a few treatments done before swimsuit season circles back. This also means you should tackle this while in your younger years as gray or white hair does not respond to the laser. I am fair skinned with light brown hair (and maybe a few grays, I'm not embarrassed), meaning I should be a good candidate.

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