Laser hair removal is a safe, effective method of removing unwanted hair. The treatment can be used to remove hair from the face, legs, back, armpits and bikini line. If you want to remove the hair on your back, chest or shoulders it’s best to choose a clinic that has experience in treating men’s skin.
The treatment uses a laser beam which passes through the skin and targets the hair follicle without damaging surrounding tissue. The beam then kills the cells at the root of each hair follicle and causes them to fall out when they naturally shed. After several treatments with a laser your unwanted hair should gradually stop growing back as new hairs are unable to grow due to this targeted destruction of their root cells during each session.
Right here on Cosmeticsurgerytips, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on laser hair removal at home, laser hair removal side effects, best laser hair removal, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
Hair Removal Laser For Light Hair
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light (laser) to remove unwanted hair.
During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.
Although laser hair removal effectively delays hair growth for long periods, it usually doesn’t result in permanent hair removal. Multiple laser hair removal treatments are needed for initial hair removal, and maintenance treatments might be needed as well. Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair, but it can be successfully used on all skin types.
Why it’s done
Laser hair removal is used to reduce unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include legs, armpits, upper lip, chin and the bikini line. However, it’s possible to treat unwanted hair in nearly any area, except the eyelid or surrounding area. Skin with tattoos should not be treated either.
Hair color and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. The basic principle is that the pigment of the hair, but not the pigment of the skin, should absorb the light. The laser should damage only the hair follicle while avoiding damage to the skin. Therefore, a contrast between hair and skin color — dark hair and light skin — results in the best outcomes.
The risk of damage to skin is greater when there is little contrast between hair and skin color, but advances in laser technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin. Laser hair removal is less effective for hair colors that don’t absorb light well: gray, red, blond and white. However, laser treatment options for light-colored hair continue to be developed.
Risks of side effects vary with skin type, hair color, treatment plan and adherence to pre-treatment and post-treatment care. The most common side effects of laser hair removal include:
- Skin irritation. Temporary discomfort, redness and swelling are possible after laser hair removal. Any signs and symptoms typically disappear within several hours.
- Pigment changes. Laser hair removal might darken or lighten the affected skin. These changes might be temporary or permanent. Skin lightening primarily affects those who don’t avoid sun exposure before or after treatment and those who have darker skin.
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.
Laser hair removal isn’t recommended for eyelids, eyebrows or surrounding areas, due to the possibility of severe eye injury.
How you prepare
If you’re interested in laser hair removal, choose a doctor who’s board certified in a specialty such as dermatology or cosmetic surgery and has experience with laser hair removal on your skin type. If a physician assistant or licensed nurse will do the procedure, make sure a doctor supervises and is available on-site during the treatments. Be cautious about spas, salons or other facilities that allow nonmedical personnel to do laser hair removal.
Before laser hair removal, schedule a consultation with the doctor to determine if this is an appropriate treatment option for you. Your doctor will likely do the following:
- Review your medical history, including medication use, history of skin disorders or scarring, and past hair removal procedures
- Discuss risks, benefits and expectations, including what laser hair removal can and can’t do for you
- Take photos to be used for before-and-after assessments and long-term reviews
At the consultation, discuss a treatment plan and related costs. Laser hair removal is usually an out-of-pocket expense.
The doctor will also offer specific instructions to prepare for laser hair removal. These might include:
- Staying out of the sun. Follow your doctor’s advice for avoiding sun exposure before and after treatment. Whenever you go out, apply a broad-spectrum, SPF30 sunscreen.
- Lightening your skin. Avoid any sunless skin creams that darken your skin. Your doctor might also prescribe a skin bleaching cream if you have a recent tan or darker skin.
- Avoiding other hair removal methods. Plucking, waxing and electrolysis can disturb the hair follicle and should be avoided at least four weeks before treatment.
- Avoiding blood-thinning medications. Ask your doctor about what medications, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, to avoid before the procedure.
- Shaving treatment area. Trimming and shaving is recommended the day before laser treatment. It removes hair above the skin that can result in surface skin damage from burnt hairs, but it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface.
What you can expect
Laser hair removal usually requires two to six treatments. The interval between treatments will vary depending on the location. On areas where hair grows quickly, such as the upper lip, the treatment might be repeated in four to eight weeks. On areas of slow hair growth, such as the back, the treatment might be every 12 to 16 weeks.
For each treatment you’ll wear special goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beam. An assistant might shave the site again if necessary. The doctor might apply a topical anesthetic to your skin to reduce any discomfort during treatment.
During the procedure
The doctor will press a hand-held laser instrument to your skin. Depending on the type of laser, a cooling device on the tip of the instrument or a cool gel might be used to protect your skin and lessen the risk of side effects.
When the doctor activates the laser, the laser beam will pass through your skin to the hair follicles. The intense heat from the laser beam damages the hair follicles, which inhibits hair growth. You might feel discomfort, such as a warm pinprick, and you’ll likely feel a sensation of cold from the cooling device or gel.
Treating a small area, such as the upper lip, might take only a few minutes. Treating a larger area, such as the back, might take more than an hour.
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.
After laser hair removal and between scheduled treatments, avoid sunlight and don’t use a tanning bed for six weeks or as directed by your doctor. Use a broad-spectrum SPF30 sunscreen daily.
Hairs do not fall out immediately, but you will shed them over a period of days to weeks. This may look like continued hair growth. The repeated treatments are usually necessary because hair growth and loss naturally occur in a cycle, and laser treatment works best with hair follicles in the new-growth stage.
Results vary significantly and are difficult to predict. Most people experience hair removal that lasts several months, and it might last for years. But laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. When hair regrows, it’s usually finer and lighter in color.
You might need maintenance laser treatments for long-term hair reduction.
What about home lasers?
Lasers that can be used at home for hair removal are available. These devices might cause modest hair reduction. But there are no large studies comparing how effective these devices are compared with laser hair removal done at a doctor’s office.
Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers these home laser hair removal devices to be cosmetic, not medical, which means they don’t get the same level of scrutiny as other medical devices. Currently, there haven’t been large, long-term studies on how safe and effective the home machines are.
If you choose to use a home laser hair removal device, follow the instructions that come with the device to help reduce the risk of injury, especially eye injuries.
Laser Hair Removal At Home
If you’re sick of shaving, tweezing, or waxing, you might consider more permanent methods of hair removal. Laser hair removal offers the longest-lasting results. Though not completely permanent, you might go weeks without having to redo your treatment.
Laser hair removal works with the help of high-heat lasers or intense pulsed lights (IPLs) that dissolve hair and temporarily disable hair follicles. That way, the follicles won’t be able to produce new hairs for up to several weeks.
You used to have to visit a dermatologist for laser hair removal. While our experts still recommend seeing a professional, you might consider advanced at-home laser hair removal devices you can use at your own convenience.
How we chose
We reviewed these devices based on their safety, efficacy, and price. While only two are true laser hair removal devices, the rest are IPL devices that work in a similar way.
- $ = under $200
- $$ = $200–$400
- $$$ = over $400
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser
- Price: $$$
Pros: People say it really works.
Cons: Some people report that it hurts to use the device, and it takes a while to see results. Others weren’t happy with the limited battery capacity and the fact that the laser targets a very small area.
Details: The Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser is one of two devices for laser hair removal cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This laser claims to have three times the hair-eliminating energy than other devices.
Best for coarse hair
MiSMON Laser Hair Removal
- Price: $$
Pros: Users report that the device is effective, particularly on thicker, coarse hair.
Cons: The downside to this device is that it’s only suitable for dark hair and fair-to-olive skin tones. You also can’t use it on the lip area.
Details: This device uses IPL technology for hair removal, which is said to be gentler and more effective than other methods. The MiSMON offers a one- to five-level range and 300,000 flashes. It also received an FDA safety certificate.
Best for precise treatment
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser Precision
- Price: $$
Pros: It delivers the same power and efficacy as the larger Tria laser hair removal device.
Cons: As with the original Tria, the treatments can be painful, and it may take time to see results.
Details: This device has the same technology and FDA clearance as the original Tria laser, but it’s designed for targeting smaller areas such as the upper lip.
Best for sensitive skin
- Price: $$
Pros: A skin tone sensor can automatically adjust the light intensity suited to your skin. The majority of user reviews report that the device reduces unwanted hair with consistent use.
Cons: Some people have commented that they see no change using this device and that the battery life isn’t ideal.
Details: The COSBEAUTY IPL is an FDA-cleared device that claims to treat a leg or arm in only 8 minutes.
Best for small areas
Gillette Venus Silk-Expert
- Price: $
Pros: The size makes it ideal for smaller areas such as the face, underarms, and bikini area.
Cons: The biggest downside to this product is the higher price tag. Customers have also complained that it’s ineffective for dark skin and that it takes a long time to see results.
Details: As a well-known brand of razors, Gillette also has its own product in the growing laser hair removal niche. The Venus Silk-Expert uses IPL technology and is smaller in size compared with other at-home laser devices. It also comes with a face cleansing brush to exfoliate the skin beforehand for more effective results.
Best for efficient treatments
Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPL
- Price: $$
Pros: The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPL is equipped with a feature that’s said to naturally adapt to your skin tone, so you’ll see fewer side effects. It should also take less time to see results than other devices.
Cons: This device has a higher price tag, and it doesn’t come with an LED display like some of its competitors do.
Details: If you’re looking for slightly faster results in an at-home hair removal device, consider the Braun Silk-Expert 5 IPL. The brand promises full results at just 4 weeks, which is less than half the time of most other brands.
mē Smooth Permanent Hair Reduction Device
- Price: $$
Pros: Users say this device is small, convenient, and easy to use. Most report significant hair reduction with consistent use.
Cons: Users say it takes many treatments and a lot of time to see results, and others report not seeing results at all.
Details: This FDA-cleared device claims to work on any skin tone and on a broad array of hair colors.
Best for painless laser hair removal
BoSidin Painless Permanent Hair Removal Device
- Price: $$
Pros: Users report 90 percent reduction in hair growth in just 3 weeks and healthier looking skin after 8 weeks. The device also includes a cooling technology to help reduce pain.
Cons: Device may not work well for blonde, gray, or red hairs. Some users report poor customer service.
Details: This BioSidin device uses optimal pulse technology (OPT) plus red light therapy to target hair and boost skin rejuvenation after treatments.
At-home laser hair removal device comparison
|Device||Price||Areas treated||Hair/skin colors treated|
|Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser||$499||All over||Black to light brown hair.|
Light brown to white skin tones.
|MiSMON Laser Hair Removal||$239||Not suitable for lip area||Black to brown hair.|
Olive to fair skin tones.
|Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser Precision||$329||All over||Black to light brown hair.|
Light brown to white skin tones.
|COSBEAUTY IPL||$219||All over||Black to light brown hair.|
White to beige skin tones.
|Gillette Venus Silk-Expert||$150||All over||Black to light brown hair.|
Light brown to fair skin tones.
|Braun Silk-Expert 5 IPL||$329||All over||Black to light brown hair.|
Light brown to fair skin tones.
|mē Smooth Permanent Hair Reduction||$269||All over||All hair colors and skin tones.|
|BoSidin Painless Hair Removal||$339||All over||Black to light hair.|
Brown to fair skin tones.
How to choose
Shopping for the right laser hair removal device goes beyond simply looking for the best reviews. You’ll want to make sure that a prospective device has the following:
- a guideline for hair color and skin tone: The device should match your own.
- flash capacity: This refers to the capacity of IPL or laser wavelength. The higher the number, the longer the device is expected to last.
- varying intensity levels
- an electric cord for longer usage or is battery-powered for ease of use
- different attachments for varying body parts: This may include attachments for the bikini area, underarm, face, and more.
Your budget is another consideration, but you may not want to be too frugal or else you’ll miss out on important features. A good at-home laser device usually costs $100 or more.
How to use
Now that you have your preferred laser hair removal device, you’ll want to do the necessary preparation before use. Make sure the device is fully charged and read the safety instructions. Clean and dry the desired area of skin before use.
To keep the device in tip-top condition, store it in its original box or in a safe place, such as your bathroom cabinet.
The number of treatments you need depends on the device and your individual hair growth. The key is to be consistent about your use to see results.
While laser hair removal is often touted as permanent, the reality is that your hair follicles will heal and produce new hairs at some point.
It can also take a few sessions to see results. But you don’t want to overuse the device, as it can lead to skin irritation and hyperpigmentation.
Laser hair removal results are more predictable when done by a dermatologist. The FDA doesn’t regulate at-home laser hair removal devices, so the results and safety aren’t guaranteed.
There also aren’t enough clinical studies available to prove that at-home lasers are more effective than hair removal at a dermatologist’s office.
Other safety considerations involve your natural skin tone and hair color. Laser hair removal tends to work best on people with light skin tones and dark hair.
Hyperpigmentation, blistering, and irritation are possible side effects in all users. Make sure you follow all instructions included with your device.
While no downtime is required with this procedure, you’ll want to avoid direct sunlight for several days after using a laser hair removal device. Doing so will help reduce the risk of side effects.
With any at-home hair removal device or laser hair removal procedure in a dermatologist’s office, it’s important to avoid waxing or tweezing between treatments. Rather, shave only to preserve the hair follicle so that the laser or IPL device has something to target during your next treatment.
When to see a doctor
Not all devices are safe and effective for all skin tones or hair colors. Talk with a dermatologist to make sure the product is safe for you. They can provide tips for using the device and safety tips to prevent scarring.
Frequently asked questions
Is home laser hair removal safe for the pubic area?
Many at-home laser hair removal devices are safe to use around the bikini area. Avoid using them directly on the genitals.
What are the negatives of laser hair removal?
When used correctly, there are usually minimal side effects to laser hair removal treatments. However, sometimes you can experience blistering, scarring, scabbing, or other changes in skin.
Is at-home IPL safe?
When used correctly, at-home IPL devices can be safe and effective. At-home devices are created with a lower strength than the devices used in doctor’s offices.
If used incorrectly, at-home IPL devices can cause blistering and burns if used on the wrong skin type, so it’s important to be careful with these devices.
Does hair grow back after at-home laser hair removal?
The hair follicles that have been treated should stop growing hair. You should notice fewer hair follicles growing hair. The hair that does grow back will likely be thinner and more fine.
While laser hair removal is traditionally done at a dermatologist’s office, you may still be able to mimic some of the benefits at home. Take the time to compare available features, using this guide as a starting point.
Talk with your dermatologist for further advice on selecting the best hair removal methods for you.