Laser Hair Removal: Is it Permanent, How Does it Work?

Princess A.
17 Min Read
Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is defined as a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light (laser) to remove unwanted hair. It has a very intense light that radiates in the hair follicles, the pigment in the follicles absorbs the light and destroys the hair.

I noticed that most people aren’t happy with tweezing, shaving, or waxing unwanted hair. If you fall into this category, then laser hair removal may be an option worth considering.

In this article, I’m going to take you through detailed information on all you need to know about laser hair removal.

Table of Contents


Is Laser Hair Removal Really Permanent?

If I’m to say, Absolutely No. Hair removal works by heating the hair follicles to resist new hair from growing.

Laser hair removal works by heating the hair follicles to stop new hairs from growing. This causes the hair follicles to sleep for a prolonged period of time, much more than waxing and shaving. When the hair grows back, it will be finer, lighter, and less numerous.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser therapy makes use of high-heat laser beams as a mild form of radiation. During this process, these lasers heat and damage the hair follicles.

Your hair follicles are located just beneath the skin. They are responsible for producing new strands of hair. If the follicles are damaged, hair production will be temporarily disabled.

In contrast, shaving, tweezing, and waxing removes hair on the surface. These methods do not point to the hair follicles produced.

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AAD believes that the following areas are suitable for laser hair removal:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Bikini line
  • Face (except for the eye area)

This type of hair removal works best with darker hair colors in lighter skin tones. This is because the laser points to melanin for the hair (color).

Even if part of the hair isn’t removed, lightening its color can reduce the appearance of hair on the skin. You might also love to have a better understanding of PERRLA: How It’s Done And What It Means For Pupils Testing.

Why Follow-up Sessions are Highly Needed

Follow-up treatments are essential to make the most of laser hair removal. The exact number of laser maintenance treatments varies from one individual to another. As stated by the Mayo Clinic, most people need between four and six sessions of laser treatment.

You should also get rid of it for six weeks, which means that the full course of treatment can take up to nine months.

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After each session, you will probably notice less hair. And any hair that remains or regenerates will be lighter in color and texture. AAD estimates that the number of hairs will decrease by 10-25% after the first session. The reduction rate after that will improve, but it will also be different.

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Also, for the best results, you may need maintenance sessions from time to time. This helps to ensure that hair follicles do not replenish. Depending on your individual needs, you may likely need a maintenance session once or twice a year after the first complete round of laser treatment.

What are the Benefits of Laser Hair Removal?

Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, chin, back, arm, armpit, bikini line, and other areas.

The benefits of laser hair removal include:

Precision: Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.

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Speed: Each laser pulse takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can process an area of approximately one-quarter of its size per second.

Small areas, such as the upper lip, can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, can take up to an hour.

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Predictability: Most patients experience permanent hair loss after an average of three to seven sessions.

How can I Prepare for Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is more than just unwanted hair. It is a medical procedure that requires training to perform and assume potential risks. Before obtaining laser hair removal, you should carefully verify the credentials of the doctor or technician performing the procedure.

However, If you are planning on undergoing laser hair removal, you also should limit plucking, waxing, and electrolysis for six weeks before treatment. This is because the laser points to the roots of the hair, which are temporarily removed by waxing or depilating the hair.

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It is also advisable to avoid sun exposure for six weeks before and after treatment. Exposure to sunlight makes laser hair removal less effective and makes complications after treatment more likely.

What am I to Expect During Laser Hair Removal?

Immediately before the procedure, your treated hair will be cut a few millimeters above the surface of the skin. Typically, local anesthetic medicine is applied 20 to 30 minutes before the laser procedure, to help with the sting of the laser pulses. Lasers will be adjusted according to the color, thickness, location of the treated hair, and color of your skin.

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Also, depending on the laser or light source used, you and the technician will need to wear appropriate eye protection. It will also be of great importance to protect the outer layers of your skin with a cold gel or special cooling device. This will help the laser light penetrate through the skin.

After that, the technician will give a light pulse to the treatment area and observe the area for several minutes to ensure that the best settings are used and to check for bad reactions.

At the end of the procedure, you can get ice packs, creams, anti-inflammatory preparations, or cold water to relieve any discomfort. You can also schedule your next treatment appointment after four to six weeks. You will receive treatments until hair growth stops.

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Does Hair Color or Skin Make a Difference?

Well, hair removal works best on people with light complexions who have dark hair. This is because the pigment contrast put an easier means for the laser to target the hair, travel into the follicle, and destroy the follicle.

Also, people with dark skin or light hair may need more treatments than others and may find that more hair grows back.

Does the type of Laser Matter?

The type of laser affects not only the success you have but also your likelihood of side effects.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) devices are not laser devices, but flashing lights that emit multiple light signals simultaneously. They work similarly to lasers, although they are less effective and less likely to permanently remove hair.

To reduce the risk of damage to melanin-producing cells on the surface of the skin, the choice of laser and how to use it can match your skin type.

Dark-skinned people with dark hair can use an IPL laser, alexandrite, or diode laser; people with dark skin and dark hair can use a laser or diode Nd: YAG; and people with blond or red hair can use a diode laser.

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To control the spread of heat and unwanted tissue damage, short laser pulses are used. The laser energy is also adjusted: it must be high enough to damage bulky cells, but not too high to cause discomfort or burns.

Can I Buy a Home Laser Device and do it Myself?

IPL home and home laser devices are available in Australia. But they do not tend to work well and should be used frequently to maintain hair reduction.

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The parameters are set only for people with light skin and dark hair. For safety, the power settings are adjusted. In inexperienced hands, complications may persist. This includes burns, blistering, pain, and changes in skin pigmentation.

What are the Recovery and Risks of Laser Hair Removal?

For a day or two after that, your treated skin area will look and feel sunburned. Cool compresses and moisturizers can help. If your face is treated, then you can wear makeup the next day unless your skin hurts.

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Over the next month, your treated hair will fall out. Use sunscreen during the next month to help prevent temporary changes in the color of treated skin.

What Can I Expect During Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal generally requires a series of two to six treatments. The interval between treatments varies by location.

In areas where hair grows rapidly, such as the upper lip, treatment can be repeated in four to eight weeks. In areas of slow hair growth, such as the back, treatment can be every 12 to 16 weeks. Below are things to expect during the procedure and after the procedure before getting the final result.

After the procedure

You might also notice redness and swelling for the first few hours after laser hair removal. And to reduce any discomfort, it’s advisable to 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.


The hairs do not fall off immediately but will eliminate for a period of days to weeks. This may sound like continuous hair growth. Repeated treatments are usually necessary because hair growth and loss occur naturally in the cycle, and laser treatment works best with hair follicles in the new growth phase.

The results vary widely and are difficult to predict. Most people suffer from hair removal that lasts several months and can last for years, but laser hair removal does not guarantee permanent hair removal. When the hair grows, it is more subtle and lighter in color.

What are the Costs of Laser Hair Removal?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for laser hair removal is $285 per session. The cost varies widely, depending on factors that include:

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  • Size of the area being treated and the time required for treatment
  • Number of treatments required
  • Whether a doctor or someone else is performing the procedure
  • The part of the country where you are having the procedure

It’s advisable to ask for a consultation to get a better idea of the cost of your particular case.

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What are the Pros and Cons of Laser Hair Removal?

Below are the pros and cons of laser hair removal;

What are the pros?

  • While laser hair removal doesn’t get rid of hair forever (only electrolysis is FDA-approved for permanent hair removal), it does drastically reduce hair growth—to the point that you can stop shaving altogether.
  • You can get it done anywhere on the body, and the machine can cover large places fast. Legs, back, underarms, bikini line, stomach, face…There is no limit to the places you can get laser hair removal.
  • When it comes to pain level, laser hair removal falls somewhere between shaving (painless) and waxing (holy hell that hurts). The technicians use ice to help numb the area before and after the laser treatment. It also gets progressively less painful as treatments continue and the hair becomes finer, says Charles.
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What are the cons?

  • It’s a long process. A session of laser hair removal on the underarms takes less than a minute. However, it takes multiple sessions to see real results (anywhere between three and eight depending on the size of the area), and you generally have to wait six weeks between treatments.
  • It was expensive. If you add up how much you spend on razors or bikini wax sessions in your lifetime, it might be worth the $200-$400 per session of laser hair removal. You can think of laser hair removal as a beauty investment.
  • Since the contrast between the color of the skin and the color of the pigment in the hair follicle is what allows the laser to easily pick out what to target, laser hair removal works best on fair skin with dark hair and worse on darker skin. “In patients with darker skin tones the pigment-rich skin competes with the hair follicle for the laser’s attention,” says Charles. This doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility for darker skin types, but you’ll want to make sure the facility you go to is properly equipped. Certain lasers, like the Nd: YAG, are better at distinguishing between hair and skin on all skin types.
  • If done by an untrained technician, laser hair removal could leave burns or scars on the skin. Unfortunately, licensing procedures vary from state to state, and sometimes there are no requirements at all. Beware of “laser centers” and make sure to ask where your laser technician was certified to do the procedure. Even doctors who want to provide laser hair removal treatments need further training. “Laser treatment is not taught in medical school, so physicians performing laser treatments also need training and certification,” dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D., told SELF in a previous interview.
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How Many Medications Will I Need?

The number of treatments you’ll need depends on your Fitzpatrick skin type. This classifies your skin by color, its sun sensitivity, and its likelihood of tan.

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