Laser Hair Removal: What Is It, Procedure, Safety & Side Effects (2024)

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a procedure to remove unwanted hair on your body. It’s noninvasive, which means it doesn’t require any cuts in your skin. People may get this treatment on any part of their body, but the most common areas are:

  • Face.
  • Underarms.
  • Bikini area, or any areas that grow pubic hair.
  • Back.
  • Legs.

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How does laser hair removal work?

Laser hair removal uses a process called selective photothermolysis. Heat from a laser destroys cells that have a lot of pigment (color). Since dark hair has a lot of pigment, it absorbs the most heat. Hair transfers heat to the hair follicles and destroys them, so hair can’t grow.

A hair follicle has to be in its anagen, or growth, stage for the procedure to work. Follicles are in different stages at different times, so most people need multiple laser treatments.

Who can have laser hair removal?

Anyone with extra body hair can have laser hair removal. It’s usually a cosmetic procedure. It may improve your appearance or self-image. Many people also prefer not having to shave regularly.

Sometimes laser hair removal treats excess hair growth caused by:

  • Hirsutism, when women grow dark or coarse hair in areas where men usually have hair.
  • Hypertrichosis, when men or women grow excess hair anywhere on their bodies.

These conditions might be the result of:

Laser hair removal is most effective for people with thick, dark hair and light skin. The contrast between skin color and hair color makes it easier for the hair to absorb heat. It might not work as well for people with dark skin or hair that’s blonde, gray, white or red.

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Who shouldn’t have laser hair removal?

Talk to your healthcare provider before having laser hair removal. You may need to avoid the procedure if you:

Laser Hair Removal: What Is It, Procedure, Safety & Side Effects (2024)

FAQs

Laser Hair Removal: What Is It, Procedure, Safety & Side Effects? ›

People may want the treatment on their underarms, back or bikini area. It's not permanent, but the results last longer than shaving or waxing. Most people need about six treatments. It's usually safe, but side effects can include burns, scars or permanent skin discoloration.

How risky is laser hair removal What are the side effects? ›

Rarely, laser hair removal can cause blistering, crusting, scarring or other changes in skin texture. Other rare side effects include graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, particularly on darker skin.

What are the pros and cons of laser hair removal? ›

First things first, let's take a look at the benefits of using a Diode Laser for laser hair removal.
  • Long-term hair removal.
  • You can treat a number of different areas.
  • Reduces ingrown hairs.
  • It's a process.
  • You might experience some discomfort.
  • It's more expensive than other hair removal treatments.

What are the precautions after laser hair removal? ›

Avoid heat treatments such as spas, steam rooms and saunas for 7 days. Avoid excessive scrubbing or applying pressure to the skin for 4-5 days. This is to allow the treated skin to recover and to prevent any infection. Avoid shaving the treated area for 72 hours after treatment.

How painful is laser hair removal? ›

Though there is some pain, it's often less than people imagine. Laser hair removal targets your hair follicles with a very hot laser, but you won't feel this heat or any burning. Instead, you might feel a sensation similar to having an elastic band snapped against your skin.

Who should not do laser hair removal? ›

Who shouldn't have laser hair removal?
  • Are pregnant.
  • Are taking certain medications, such as acne treatments.
  • Have genital herpes (HSV-2) or are prone to cold sores.
  • Have keloid scars (raised scars).
  • Have or have had skin cancer.

What are the disadvantages of laser treatment? ›

Risks
  • Redness, swelling, itching and pain. Treated skin may swell, itch or have a burning sensation. ...
  • Acne. Applying thick creams and bandages to your face after treatment can worsen acne or cause you to temporarily develop tiny white bumps (milia) on treated skin.
  • Infection. ...
  • Changes in skin color. ...
  • Scarring.
Mar 2, 2022

Do people ever regret laser hair removal? ›

But, as with any treatment that ends with more or less permanent results, not everyone is pleased with their decision. While some feel freedom after banishing all the hair on their bodies for good, others express deep regret — especially given how the conversation around body hair has shifted in recent years.

Should I laser my pubic hair? ›

' Yes, it is safe to laser the pubic area for most patients. It should be noted that this is one of the more sensitive areas when it comes to laser hair removal, but it is quick and effective. Many patients also believe it is overall less painful than waxing.

What happens if I stop laser hair removal after 4 sessions? ›

If treatment is stopped before all of the hair follicles have been destroyed, some may continue to grow. It is important to complete the recommended treatment plan to achieve the best results. Sometimes, the patient sees hairs are thicker and darker after the treatment when they have original light and fair hair.

Why can't you shower after laser hair? ›

It's recommended to wait at least 6-8 hours after a laser hair removal session before taking a shower; which should be cold or very mild. This gives the skin time to cool down and for any redness or swelling to subside. At Skin Perfection; London's Top Laser Hair Removal Clinic; we recommend you to avoid hot showers.

What foods should you avoid after laser treatment? ›

Avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, high-sodium foods, high sugar foods, Niacin supplements, refined carbohydrates, and spicy foods for 48 hours after treatment.

What is the most sensitive area for laser hair removal? ›

Some areas, including the underarms and ankles, tend to be more sensitive during the laser hair removal process, with patients describing the sensation as being similar to having a rubber band snapped against their skin. Fortunately, the discomfort is fairly mild and short-lived.

Which laser hair removal is best? ›

Alexandrite 755nm lasers are the shortest, best used on lighter skin and thinner hair. Darker skin types need a longer wavelength to avoid the laser targeted the surface skin pigment rather than the hair follicle. This is why Nd:YAG 1064nm is the best and safest option for darker skin.

Does laser hair removal have side effects? ›

Other potential side effects include swelling, redness, and scarring. Permanent scarring or changes in skin color are rare. Blisters are rare but are more likely in people with darker complexions. Another rare side effect is the treated hair turning gray or more hair growing around the treated areas.

Are there any risks with a laser is laser harmful to humans? ›

Effects can range from mild skin burns to irreversible injury to the skin and eye. The biological damage caused by lasers is produced through thermal, acoustical and photochemical processes. Thermal effects are caused by a rise in temperature following absorption of laser energy.

Will I regret laser hair removal? ›

Regret usually stems from choosing the wrong provider. While laser hair removal itself is rarely regrettable, what can lead to regret is choosing the wrong provider. A cheap, inexperienced clinic may use outdated equipment or incorrect techniques, leading to less effective treatment or even unwanted side-effects.

Can laser hair removal cause infertility? ›

It's also a myth that laser hair removal can cause infertility. Only the skin surface is affected by the lasers, so the minimal radiation from the procedure can't penetrate to any of your organs. Talk to your doctor about potential risks if you're currently trying to get pregnant.

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