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Hair Removal

What It Does: One of the more popular ways to remove hair is via laser or pulsed light - energy that goes through the hair shaft down to the follicle, where it destroys the hair's root.

"The hair does not immediately come out during a laser treatment. Instead, it weakens and falls out over time because we've blown away the root," says dermatologist David Goldberg, MD, director of Skin and Laser Surgery of New York and New Jersey and the author of a medical textbook on laser hair removal.

Goldberg says the newest laser, called DUET, combines laser with a little bit of suction for even better results.

"It pulls the hair into the follicle, allowing the beam to penetrate deeper," says Goldberg.

This means doctors can safely treat larger areas at one time and more comfortably for the patient, he says.

Best For : Laser hair removal can be done anywhere on the body. The best candidates are women with dark hair and light skin. Lasers won't work on white hair, and they are much less effective on blond hair, which Goldberg says usually responds best to electrolysis.

While most lasers work on the skin of Hispanics, only one, called the Nd:YAG, is safe for black skin. All other hair removal lasers increase the risk of hyper pigmentation (dark spots), as well as burning and scarring, which can lead to the creation of keloids (scar tissue).

How Long It Takes : It usually requires 5-7 sessions, with a touch-up about once a year thereafter.

Cost : The cost runs between $150 and $500, or sometimes more depending on how many treatments are needed.