How Does Laser Hair Removal Work? Is it Worth It?

If you’re tired of shaving or torturing yourself with waxing, you may be thinking about trying laser hair removal. Many people, just like you, are looking for longer-lasting hair removal. In fact, more than 1 million laser hair removal procedures were performed in 2018.

Before you call in to make an appointment, it’s important to understand how the procedure works and what to expect.

Here’s what you need to know about laser hair removal.

What is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal uses a special laser to beam concentrated light into your hair follicles. The laser’s heat damages or destroys the follicle, so the hair either stops growing or grows back more slowly. It won’t remove your hair permanently, but it can reduce growth significantly.

Like many other hair removal procedures, you’ll need more than one session to reach your hair removal goals. According to the AAD, most people see a 10-25% reduction in hair after their first session. Some people need more sessions than others, but most people need 2-6 treatments.

Laser hair removal is typically used to remove hair on the:

  • Legs
  • Underarms
  • Face 
  • Back

Treatments can take up to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the area that needs to be treated. Upper lip or underarm hair removal will be much quicker than removing the hair on your back or legs.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Before getting started, your provider will clean the area to be treated. If the area is sensitive (like the face or underarms), a numbing gel may also be applied. Everyone in the room will need to wear protective eyewear. 

The procedure itself is really simple:

  • The skin is held taut
  • The laser removes hair from the area

The process repeats until the entire area is treated. 

There’s no downtime with laser hair removal. You’re free to go back to your regular routine after you leave the office.

Does it Hurt?

Many people like the idea of laser hair removal, but they’re afraid that it’s going to hurt or be uncomfortable.

  • Many people say the procedure feels like pinpricks.

While most people experience some discomfort, laser hair removal should never be painful.

Who’s a Good Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal isn’t the right choice for everyone. This procedure works best on people with:

  • Fair skin
  • Dark hair

The greater the contrast between your skin and hair color, the greater the chance of success. If you have light skin and light hair, this procedure may not work well for you.

New and advanced lasers are available for people with darker skin tones. For best results, look for a provider with experience working on your skin tone.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Laser hair removal is well tolerated by most people, but with any procedure, there’s always a risk of side effects.

The most important thing is to make sure that you choose an experienced, licensed and trained technician. The right provider can make all the difference and reduce the risk of more severe side effects, like:

  • Infections
  • Blistering
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scarring

When performed by a dermatologist, the above side effects are rare.

The most common side effects include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Tenderness in the treated area

These symptoms usually disappear in a few days.

Laser hair removal is a convenient way to remove unwanted hair and enjoy long-lasting results. Most people report a 90% reduction in hair growth after all of their treatments, which makes it well worth the cost.

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