Laser Hair Removal: All Your Big Questions Answered

Posted on April 12, 2016 by Cynthia M. Poulos, M.D.

Laser hair removal is becoming more and more popular for both males and females who are tired of wasting time and money on shaving or temporary hair removal techniques. Laser hair removal offers a more permanent solution by using a beam of light to destroy the hair follicle and prevent the growth of future hair. If that sounds scary, don’t worry—I’m here to address my patients’ most commonly asked questions about the procedure.

Is the procedure safe?

Laser hair removal is generally safe, but as with all medical procedures, there may be temporary responses. These might include itching, swelling, scabbing, bruising, or redness at the treatment site. Some patients may experience a temporary change in pigmentation on areas of skin that have been treated.

Does it hurt?

Most patients will feel a stinging sensation when the laser is aimed at the skin, but it’s not much more painful than waxing. If you have sensitive skin, your provider may use an anesthetic cream to reduce the pain.

How long does it take?

Your doctor will need to perform the procedure several times to remove as much hair as possible. Most patients undergo six or eight treatments at eight- to twelve-week intervals.

Is laser hair removal really permanent?

It’s impossible to remove 100 percent of hair with lasers because they work best on coarse hair. For this reason, the FDA approved laser hair treatment as a hair “reduction”, rather than removal, method. Finer hair can be removed with electrolysis treatments.

Does it always work?

While many patients experience great success with laser hair treatment, it may not work for everyone. Some patients seem not to respond to treatments, but it’s unclear whether that’s caused by a poorly performed procedure, an underlying medical condition, or a different reason. Some patients may experience hair growth after the procedure due to changes in diet, hormone levels, or medical conditions. Results are hard to predict, so it’s important to talk with your doctor to determine how the procedure is likely to affect you.

Is it right for me?

Laser hair treatments work best on patients with light skin and dark hair. But that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from treatment if you have darker skin or lighter hair. Only you and your doctor can determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

Still have questions about laser hair removal? Contact our office to schedule a consultation.