Laser hair removal: FAQs (2023)

Laser hair removal: What to expect

Laser hair removal works best for patients with light-colored skin and dark-colored hair. Watch this video to learn what to expect prior to and after your treatment.

To help you decide whether this treatment is right for you, you should review the following facts.

(Video) Laser Hair Removal FAQs: Does it Hurt?

Laser hair removal can be dangerous in inexperienced hands. Burns, permanent changes to your skin color, and scars can occur. You can greatly reduce the risk of possible side effects by having your treatment performed by a medical doctor who is extremely skilled in using lasers and has in-depth knowledge of the skin.The AAD recommends that you choose a board-certified dermatologist to perform laser treatments.

What happens during laser hair removal?

Before the treatment, the area to be treated will be cleansed. Some patients receive a numbing gel. Numbing the area to be treated helps when a small area will be treated and the skin is very sensitive. It takes about 30 to 60 minutes for a numbing gel to work.

The laser treatment will take place in a room set up specifically for laser treatments. Everyone in the room must wear protective eyewear during the procedure. To perform the procedure, the skin is held taut and the skin is treated with the laser. Many patients say that the laser pulses feel like warm pinpricks or a rubber band being snapped against the skin.

A laser removes hair by vaporizing it. This causes small plumes of smoke that have a sulfur-like smell.

How long your treatment lasts depends on the size of the area being treated. Treating the upper lip takes minutes. If you are having a large area like the back or legs treated, your treatment may last more than an hour.

What must I do after getting laser hair removal?

To avoid possible side effects, all patients need to protect their skin from the sun. After laser hair removal, you should:

  • Avoid direct sunlight from hitting your treated skin.

    (Video) Laser Hair Removal FAQs: Am I a Candidate?

  • Not use a tanning bed, sun lamp, or any other indoor tanning equipment.

  • Follow your dermatologist’s after-care instructions.

You will see some redness and swelling after treatment. This often looks like a mild sunburn. Applying a cool compress can help reduce your discomfort.

Is there downtime?

No, laser hair removal generally does not require any real downtime. Immediately after having laser hair removal, your treated skin will be red and swollen. Despite this, most people return to their everyday activities.

When will I see the results after having laser hair removal?

You will likely see the results immediately after treatment. The results vary from patient to patient. The color and thickness of your hair, area treated, type of laser used, and color of your skin all affect the results. You can expect a 10% to 25% reduction in hair after the first treatment.

To remove the hair, most patients need 2 to 6 laser treatments. After finishing the treatments, most patients do not see any hair on the treated skin for several months or even years. When the hair regrows, there tends to be less of it. The hairs also tend to be finer and lighter in color.

How long will the results of laser hair removal last?

Most patients remain hair free for months or even years. When some of the hair regrows, it will likely be less noticeable. To keep the area free of hair, a patient may need maintenance laser treatments.

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects are minor and last 1 to 3 days. These side effects include:

(Video) Laser hair removal: Be prepared with these 5 facts

  • Discomfort

  • Swelling

  • Redness

Other possible side effects are rare when laser hair removal is performed by a dermatologist or under the dermatologist’s direct supervision. Other possible side effects include:

In time, skin color tends to return to normal. Some changes to skin color, however, are permanent. This is why seeing a medical doctor who is skilled in laser treatments and has in-depth knowledge of the skin is so important.

It is also important to follow your dermatologist’s instructions. Following both the before-treatment instructions and after-treatment instructions will greatly reduce your risk of side effects.

When is it safe to have another laser treatment for hair removal?

This varies from patient to patient. Removing hair often requires a series of laser treatments. Most patients can have laser hair removal once every 4 to 6 weeks. Your dermatologist will tell you when it is safe to have another treatment.

Most patients see some hair regrowth. Your dermatologist can tell you when you can safely have laser treatments to maintain the results.

What is the safety record for laser hair removal?

Lasers play an important role in treating many conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails. In recent years, many advances have been made in laser medicine. Dermatologists have led the way in making these advances.

One such advance is that more people can safely have laser hair removal. In the past, only people with dark hair and light skin could safely have laser hair removal. Today, laser hair removal is a treatment option for patients who have light-colored hair and light skin and patients who have dark skin. Laser hair removal must be performed very carefully in these patients. Dermatologists know what precautions to take to provide laser hair removal safely and effectively.

Related AAD resources


What questions to ask about laser hair removal? ›

Questions to Ask a Laser Hair Removal Technician Before Your Treatment
  • When Should I Start Treatment? ...
  • How Many Treatments Do I Need? ...
  • Am I an Ideal Candidate for Laser Hair Removal? ...
  • Are There Side Effects? ...
  • What Equipment Do You Use? ...
  • Is Your Staff Trained Properly? ...
  • Is Downtime Necessary? ...
  • What If I'm Taking Medication?

What happens if you miss some hairs before laser? ›

As we mentioned a little earlier, if you don't shave before your appointment, the laser will singe the hair resulting in a burn to your skin. In addition, if the hair hasn't been shaved properly, treatment will not be as effective, and it may result in small temporary grazes on the top layer of your skin.

What are the do's and don'ts of laser hair removal? ›

Below are the dos and don'ts before a laser procedure.
  • Clean Your Skin Before the Treatment. ...
  • Stop Waxing or Plucking. ...
  • Shave the Treatment Area. ...
  • Avoid Sun Exposure. ...
  • Use Medications with Caution. ...
  • Use Skin Products Carefully. ...
  • Avoid Alcohol. ...
  • Refrain from Drinking Coffee.
Mar 29, 2022

How do I prepare for my first laser? ›

How to prepare for laser hair removal
  1. Stop plucking and waxing. Once you decide to go with laser hair removal, it's important to stop any other hair removal method that takes out hair at the root. ...
  2. Shave 24-48 hours before treatment. ...
  3. Refrain from tanning. ...
  4. Use caution with certain medications.
Oct 2, 2015

Do you notice a difference after first laser hair removal? ›

5-19 Days Post-1st Treatment

Clients can expect to see hair-thinning and patchiness; some areas may even appear completely hair-free.

Do you shave first before laser hair removal? ›

When you're getting ready for your laser hair removal procedure, make sure you shave the night before or the morning of your treatment. The reason for this precaution is simple – you want to remove as much hair as possible so that it doesn't absorb most of the laser's energy.

Who is not a good candidate for laser hair removal? ›

Blond, fine hairs cannot be targeted by the lasers and therefore, cannot be removed with this method. Waxing is a better choice for light colored hair. Individuals with darker skin tones or who tan easily, may have a harder time getting results from laser hair removal.

Is it okay to pull out dead hair after laser? ›

It would be best to not pull out hairs following a laser hair removal treatment. The reason is that laser hair removal targets hair follicles to remove hair from the body permanently. Therefore, the follicle has to be visible in the body area.

Can I pick hair after laser? ›

You should not pull out loose hairs after laser hair removal. Laser hair removal targets the hair follicle to permanently remove hair from the body. For successful results the follicle has to be present so the laser can target it. Waxing, plucking or threading removes the root of the hair follicle.

What happens if you laser fine hair? ›

Does laser hair removal work on thin hair? Laser will work on thin hairs if they are dark and contain pigment. It will not work on light, downy, soft hairs. Facial hair is probably the most difficult area to treat as some of the hairs are very thin.

What should you never do with a laser? ›

Never look directly into the laser beam. Never shine a laser pointer at anyone. Do not aim the laser at reflective surfaces/mirror like surfaces. Never view a laser pointer using an optical instrument, such as binocular or microscope.

What foods should you avoid after laser treatment? ›

Avoid alcohol, spicy food and cigarettes 24-48 hours before and after your treatment, as these may contribute to increased swelling, bruising, and irritation. Limit caffeine intake. It is not recommended to do laser treatments if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What should you not do before laser? ›

Avoid direct sun exposure

Avoid exposing the area for treatment two weeks before your procedure and always protect your skin with sunscreen. You should also avoid tanning or sunless tanning products to prevent the risk of skin lightening and other side effects.

What should I apply immediately after laser? ›

Apply cool compresses

Wet a clean, soft washcloth with cool water and place it on the treated area for several minutes at a time. You can also use an ice pack wrapped in a paper towel. This method helps to reduce temporary swelling and pain after your laser hair removal treatment.

What do you wear to a laser appointment? ›

Clothes: You should wear clothing that's both comfortable and leaves easy access to the area that's being treated. Wear clothes you're comfortable with a little cream rubbing off on – a topical cream may be used to soothe the area.

What happens after first sitting of laser? ›

After the procedure

You might notice redness and swelling for the first few hours after laser hair removal. To reduce any discomfort, apply ice to the treated area. If you have a skin reaction immediately after laser hair removal, the doctor might apply a steroid cream to the affected area.

Can you shave in between laser? ›

Yes, you can shave in between each session of laser hair removal. During your course of treatment you can shave any hairs that may regrow. After your first laser hair removal session you will notice that you won't need to shave as much as before. After 2-3 sessions you may only need to shave once in a 4-6 week period.

How long is the recovery time for laser hair removal? ›

Is there downtime? No, laser hair removal generally does not require any real downtime. Immediately after having laser hair removal, your treated skin will be red and swollen. Despite this, most people return to their everyday activities.

How can I improve my laser hair removal results? ›

Improve Your Laser Hair Removal Effectiveness
  1. Take Advantage of the Best Technology. ...
  2. Understand You Will Need Multiple Laser Hair Removal Sessions. ...
  3. Avoid Removing Hair by the Roots for 6 Weeks Prior to Your Treatment. ...
  4. Avoid Caffeine for 24 Hours before Your Treatment. ...
  5. Shave the Day of Your Laser Hair Treatment.

What are the black dots after laser hair removal? ›

After shedding finishes, you might experience little black dots still “stuck” in the skin. These are commonly referred to as “pepperspots” and will shed eventually, but might take a bit longer. Exfoliate to help those out as well.

How soon can you shower after laser hair removal? ›

Following a laser hair removal treatment, you should avoid hot baths and showers for 48 hours to limit skin irritation. You should also avoid exfoliating for at least 10 days after your treatment. Not only can exfoliation cause severe skin irritation, it can also create clogged pores.

What is the best moisturizer after laser treatment? ›

Home Care Post-Treatment

It's crucial you keep your face (treated areas) covered and moist at all times. We just recommend covering your face with Vaseline or Aquaphor.

What are the results of laser hair removal after 3 sessions? ›

Effectiveness of laser hair removal

After 3 sessions, a reduction of 58.4%, 67.6% to 75% of the hair can be expected. After 4 sessions, a hair reduction of 87% can be achieved.

Do you shave peach fuzz before laser? ›

Answer: Shaving is a must before laser

If the laser does not reach the hair follicle you will not have a successful result. Also, if the hairs are very thin and don't have much pigment the laser treatments will not be effective.

How do you shave your pubes before laser? ›

Epilate or resin your hair no longer up to 6 weeks before treatment. With epilation or resins, remove the hair root and we will no longer be able to destroy it with the laser technique. You can shave. Make sure that you shave the hairs on the area to be treated 1 day before treatment, so that stubble are visible.

What type of hair responds best to laser? ›

Coarse hair responds better than fine, or vellus, hair. It really doesn't matter that much if you have thinner hair, the laser is seeking the pigment, not the density of the hair follicle.

Can you do laser if you haven't shaved? ›

Having said that, it's important to note that only shaving is allowed prior to laser hair removal appointments. Think again before waxing or tweezing, as by doing this you'd be pulling out the hair root, which is what the laser needs to target.

How shaved Do you have to be for laser? ›

Shaving 24hrs before your laser hair removal appointment is probably one of the most important things to do to avoid an adverse reaction from laser.

Will I regret Brazilian laser hair removal? ›

After a series of Brazilian laser hair removal, the treated hair in the pubic region will fall out until they're all gone. However, some people may immediately feel regret after the laser procedure.

What happens if I don't shave before laser hair removal? ›

The hair can absorb the laser energy itself, as opposed to it directly hitting the hair follicle, meaning it's a waste of time and will have no effect whatsoever. Having said that, it's important to note that only shaving is allowed prior to laser hair removal appointments.

What does hair look like after first laser? ›

Thanks to the laser's focus on the follicles, you will barely notice any immediate difference other than some redness from laser following your treatment. While the hair will still be visible, it is important to understand that the follicle that is responsible for its growth is already fried and dead.

Can you laser your entire pubic area? ›

' 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.

Do you tip at laser hair removal? ›

Tips are always appreciated but voluntary. A client will get the same service whether they tip or not. Because laser hair removal takes multiple sessions, Karavolas advises that tipping is typically done after each visit.

Is Brazilian laser embarrassing? ›

Some women do get embarrassed about getting laser hair removal on their Brazilian area, this is completely normal. Treatments in this intimate area may feel a little intimidating, to begin with. Exposing this area to a complete stranger is something that is very difficult for some women.

Can I shave between laser sessions? ›

Yes, you can shave in between each session of laser hair removal. During your course of treatment you can shave any hairs that may regrow. After your first laser hair removal session you will notice that you won't need to shave as much as before. After 2-3 sessions you may only need to shave once in a 4-6 week period.

What happens if you pluck hair after laser? ›

Processes such as plucking and waxing will interfere with the root of the hair follicle and the whole follicle itself. The follicle has to remain intact for laser hair removal to work effectively, so waxing and plucking could negatively effect further laser hair removal treatments you have.


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