Hair Removal How-To

The smartest ways to defuzz for summer

Hair, We love it on our heads, but hate it just about everywhere else. And now that we're sporting bras as outerwear and thong underwear, fewer of us than ever are willing to go au naturel. Just in time for summer--the season when we show the most skin--Prevention has compiled the latest and best hair removal options (see 'bare-it-all body map').

But first, here's what you need to know about lasting hair removal.

Defuzzing by laser is often marketed as "permanent hair removal," but experts say "hair reduction" is a more accurate term. That's probably news to the women who pay $200 to $500 per session and expect hair-free skin. One treatment isn't enough: Plan on five or six to remove up to 90% of unwanted fuzz from legs, for example. Some hair may come back, but it's usually finer and less noticeable.

Lasers are quick: Today's instruments are 200 times faster than just a few years ago. That's a huge advance over electrolysis, which destroys hair follicles with an electrified needle (a painful, time-consuming endeavor, considering there are thousands of hairs on just your legs). On the other hand, electrolysis is permanent.

To lower the risk of scarring and discoloration, don't let anyone but a board-certified dermatologist or cosmetic plastic surgeon wield the beam, says Bruce Katz, MD, director of the Cosmetic & Laser Clinkat Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

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By Wendy Korn Heppt

Wendy Korn Heppt is a freelance writer specializing in beauty.

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