Ten Things You Should Know About Laser Hair Removal

Laser Nova

Did you know that laser hair removal can take months to complete? That you cannot get laser hair removal if you have a tan? That laser hair removal can actually cause more hair growth? Here are 10 things you should know before getting your unwanted hair lasered off.

Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to permanently remove unwanted hair from the bikini area, underarms, legs, chest, back (gentleman), and even faces. It is not for everyone, however, and there are some things you should know before signing up this summer.

  1. Laser hair removal only works on pigmented hair. If you have light blond or white hair, then lasers won’t work! See How Laser Hair Removal Works to learn why.
  2. The darker your skin, the greater your risk of injury. Lasers target the pigment, not the actual hair, so dark pigment in the skin is more likely to absorb the laser’s energy.
  3. Plan ahead — you shouldn’t have laser hair removal done if you have a tan (and you should question anyone who is willing to do the treatment on you if you do). The brown pigment from your tan will be more likely to absorb the laser, leading to discoloration of your skin.
  4. It is important that you see a trained professional who is experienced in laser hair removal; choosing the right laser is critical in determining how many treatments are needed. Also, some lasers are not safe for some skin types.
  5. In some women, laser hair removal on the face can cause a paradoxical increase in hair growth! Using the correct laser can prevent this, so be sure that the person who is doing your treatment knows if you are at risk and how to prevent this.
  6. You have to let your hair grow for at least 2 weeks prior to laser treatment. Yup, that means stubbly legs for a while, sorry.
  7. Prices vary dramatically depending on your geographic location and on the areas you want treated. It can take 3 to 5 treatments depending on the color of your hair, the laser used, and the area treated — in some instances, it can take 10 treatments to get satisfactory results. Try to negotiate a price for a complete treatment rather than paying for each individual session; it could save you money in the long run.
  8. Because it takes multiple treatments, and you have to wait weeks between treatments, a complete course can take several months to finish. So if the wedding is in August, then you had better start now.
  9. Be sure that the person operating the laser can tell you the following: what type of laser or device is being used; why it’s the best type of laser for your skin and what your risks are; what adverse outcomes they have had; how many treatments they expect you’ll need. Using the wrong laser or the wrong settings can lead to discoloration of your skin, failure of the laser to work, pain and redness, and even scarring.
  10. The laser actually explodes your hair follicles when it hits them, so treatments do hurt a little. It is often described as feeling like an elastic band being snapped against your skin. Ah, what we will endure for the sake of vanity.

Photo credit: FCC, Josh Work (Viking Zippy)

You might also like:

How to Avoid Razor Bumps

How to Stop a Shaving Nick From Bleeding

Are You Over-Scrubbing Your Face?

Skincare Myths: Plucking Hair Makes it Grow Back Thicker

Like this blog? Grab The Derm Feed

Post by Jeffrey Benabio, MD Photo credit: Anyjazz65

39 thoughts on “Ten Things You Should Know About Laser Hair Removal”

  1. Hey, I just wanted to comment on point number 7 on this post: As great as it is to save money by paying for an entire “package” rather than for each individual treatment, I do think it is sometimes wiser to go for the individual route, since hair is very unpredictable and the condition of your hair and skin must be reevaluated after every treatment. Therefore, even though you may be paying more than if you were to purchase an entire package of 6 or 8 treatments, you would also be making sure you aren’t stimulating even MORE hair growth and reevaluating how things look after each treatment. Just my two cents! Keep up the great work on this blog–I always enjoy reading it!

  2. I’m just curious…my bf has quite a hairy bum lol. Can that hair be removed?

  3. Good point on #8. Some people at first think it is a one time deal and then find out how involved it can be.

  4. I would like advice post laser hair regrowth increase. What are your ideas once the damage is done to remove the increased hair growth???
    My daughter in 21 and will be living in New York this summer. We are interested in getting the appropriate help for this unfortunate situation.
    Please advise, thanks in advance,

  5. Mark Futrell says:

    This is also great info for guys, as we need laser hair removal too. Thanks to you and www. futurederm.com for all the tips and information to help us all be our best.

  6. I had wonderful experience with laser hair removal (permanent!), but to be honest – it can hurt a lot! You normally don’t hear this in advertising. But that also depends on where you let that elastic band being snapped at. I didn’t cry, but I did squeeze my teeth a lot. From what I heard, some men cry (to answer the person that doesn’t like the guys hair somewhere – think twice before setting him up for that ultimate spanking!). Do not put anything on your skin after your treatment (except some cooling with cold water or moist cloth) and really follow the advice of avoiding the sun!

  7. What all hair permanent hair removal systems nowadays have in common: the treatment hurts as much as – lets say – treatment with an electric depilator. But the good thing is: every treatment it gets better and at the end there is no hair left 🙂

  8. Very interesting — I just “won” a discount on treatments at the American Laser Center. The salesperson claimed their treatments would work on my very pale facial hair!!!

  9. I had laser hair removal for over a year of treatments on my neck line. I totally meet the qualifications (light skin dark hair). Apparently there are different types of lasers. The one I went to isn’t even classified as a laser at all, but uses intense light and they call it a laser. It would stun the hair follicle and would last maybe a month. Then hair would start going back quickly. Wouldn’t recommend this type! I lost alot of money and they would not refund. Please contact me if you have a similar situation.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I did 3 treatments on my face and I got black spots, they just don’t go away I have used every kind of bleaching, pigmentation creams etc, and they don’t fade. I don’t know what to do =( I am Latina so I guess the laser wasn’t done properly but the most important thing is that I want to have my face without black spots. Please advice me on this, I went to see 2 dermatologists and they both recommend peeling but I am afraid of peeling.

  11. Nice article.. very helpful.. laser hair removal is a great way to reveal your skin with more confidence.. and it is very effective..


  12. # 9 crappaws!! DONT BELIEVE THAT YOU WON. They did that to me too. They told me that I won 300 towards laser hair removal (3rd prize or something) and then tried to sell me 2000 dollars worth of treatments. They would not honor my 300 unless i bought something. it was a total rip off!!

  13. Thanks for sharing this very informative review. This would be very helpful in order to know more about the best procedure that would give the most effective treatment for removing unwanted hairs, and so with also stopping this unwanted hairs to come back.

  14. After doing extensive research The american laser centers are a FRAUD! I also had signed up to win laser hair removal. They called me the NEXT DAY saying i won 300 dollars worth of treatments.. facials or whatever i wanted. I never went because of horror stories all over the internet. Thats why I am writing here in case anyone else researches them. Go to a dermatoligist!!!! Dont go to laser centers. It hurts like hell. worse than a brazilian wax. Im getting a brazilian laser treatment. I went once and after a week i noticed a huge difference in growth. its easier to shave,,. and i can go a day or 2 without shaving where as i shaved 2ce a day before. It hurts worse than a rubberband. It felt like getting a tattoo on your privates. So imagine that. Its the best explaination. HOWEVER so far the pains been worth it. I have 5 more treatments to go. Im paying 350 per treatment. I wouldnt do a package cuz 1st u dont know if you’ll like it, or tollerate the pain.. 2nd it may not work for u.. and yes it gets expensive. Just research online. Go to a doctor. Cuz u lay on a table with your legs spread wide open LOL… its embarrasing. plus u wear goggles so u cant see!!! so u need to trust the person. And id rather have an MD do it. Seriously!!!!

  15. Don’t believe everything you hear. Laser hair removal is an excellent way of removing unwanted hair and it is fairly safe when all safety protocol is followed and the treatment is done by a trained and licensed professional. However, laser hair removal is not a permanent hair removal treatment but a permanent hair reduction treatment. Many individuals post comments after only couple of sessions that their hair has disappeared. By far, this is not enough time to judge the result as with many cases the hair can grow back after few months – although much less and not as thick. For more information visit laserhairremoval-sideeffects.com to learn about the risks, side effects and how you can prevent them.

  16. Some normal side effects may occur after laser hair removal treatments, including itching, redness and swelling around the treatment area. These side effects should not last more than three days.


  17. Proper hair care for healthy hair is one of the importanta spects of personality grooming ,Don’t think that thin hairisn’t beautiful hair. By taking care of your hair, you canmake it look its best. The best part is, you won’t have today for the professionals to do it. You can keep your hair healthy,soft and shiny.Hair Transplant is a good solution.

  18. Hair loss isn’t just a physical condition.For many,it’s an emotional struggle that requires support and encouragement from friends, family and others battling baldness.Our hair restoration community helps balding men and women to face their hair loss head on by providing great information, offering support from others who understand, and helping patients find the world’s leadingHair Transplant doctors.

  19. have been following ur site around several days. really love what you posted. by the way i’m doing report regarding this area. do you happen to know any websites or forums where I can get more? many thanks.

  20. They lie…Light colored hair will not pick up with Laser hair removal. They want to sell. The Won discount is something they give everyone! Wait until the last day of the month and they will sell you a package for almost nothing. Their Boss makes the Managers hit a certain amount of sell’s each month or they will lose their jobs….This Company is not good! Look up American Laser Center complaints…. They have a class A law suit against them…

  21. I had laser hair removal for over a year of treatments on my neck line. I totally meet the qualifications (light skin dark hair). Apparently there are different types of lasers. The one I went to isn’t even classified as a laser at all, but uses intense light and they call it a laser. It would stun the hair follicle and would last maybe a month. Then hair would start going back quickly. Wouldn’t recommend anabolic steroids this type! I lost alot of money and they would not refund. Please contact me if you have a similar situation.

  22. Yet another topnotch article! I shared this one on Facebook – i suggest you add a “like” button to your articles. 🙂

  23. There are a lot useful new options making using combos of solutions in a topical form which may greatly increase hair growth. Waxing, instead of taking out, rests and opens the skin follicles with it’s warmness and therefore will never increase hair growth simply because hair ordinarily do not fully feel just like they’re being ripped from the pore. A completely different way to correctly increase hair growth is going to be certain that you’re getting an abundant level of the appropriate nutritional vitamin supplements.

  24. Now in fashion world laser hair removal product is most important to be fashionable. I know laser hair removal sessions spaced one month apart to see 70-80 percent reduction in hair growth. Hair reduction procedures can be performed by either lasers.. Both man woman can be used the product. For best results.

  25. I use the Viss Too! its Great. no pain, but takes a few times to really get rid of the hair. It beats gong to the clinic tho, and the price was a huge factor.

  26. I have been doing laser for years and hair growth is linked to hormones. I can say that so far it has been costly but well worth it. For those like myself who was shaving every other day, doing facial hair removal weekly or at least bi weekly I can now go weeks and at times months. I no longer have a shadow on my legs when I do shave and i even have patches where no hair grows at all. I have spent quite a bit of money so if this tria works it will save quite a bit and be well worth it!

  27. Hello.

    Thanks for your tips. I would like to know, if I have to do all the sessions in a row, or if I can give it a break and start it again an year after?

  28. I have had laser removal done on my underarms. I am pretty satisfied with the results, but i’ve had to go in for a followup appt to redo some hair that had grown back. Hopefully that will be the last time as it is not a cheap procedure;)

  29. I am planning to have laser hair removal on my face. I keep hearing about lasers that work and lasers that don’t. What kind of laser works and what kind doesn’t? All the places I look into claim to have lasers that will remove hair permanently. Could you list the kinds of lasers that will remove hair permanently . I don’t know what exactly to ask……

  30. Did not know the bit about the risks of more hair growth due to facial laser hair removal. Thank you for that bit of info. Selecting the right type of laser certainly prevents a lot of problems!

  31. Ashlee Pettit says:

    Your tip about growing hair for two weeks prior to treatment is incorrect. I’m currently getting treated on my bikini area and it is mandatory to shave the night before or the morning before a treatment.

  32. Ashlee, you make a good point. Sometimes it is better to shave but it depends on the patient’s skin color, hair, etc. and the type of laser used.

Comments are closed.