laser hair removal

What Is Laser Hair Removal - Pros, Cons And Side Effects

Shalu Bhati

Updated At  20 Apr 24


Are you tired of your monthly salon visits to get rid of unwanted hair? Has hair removal become just another form of torture for you? Then stop doing anything else and keep on reading.

We have found the solution to all your hair removal issues. And it is quite simple. Opt for laser hair removal and say goodbye to painful waxing sessions. Ingrown hair will become things of the past. But what exactly is this procedure like? How does it work? What makes it better? Don’t worry. We will answer all your queries with our complete guide on laser hair removal.

We have specifically covered:

  • What Is Laser Hair Removal
  • How Is Laser Hair Removal Done
  • What To Expect From This Procedure
  • Precautions To Be Taken
  • Laser Hair Removal Pros And Cons
  • Laser Hair Removal Side Effects
  • 11 Things To Keep In Mind
  • FAQs on Laser Hair Removal



What Is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure done to remove unwanted hair from your face as well as your body. It is a long term remedy to get rid of unwanted hair.

In this procedure, a laser is used to target specific hair follicles. The laser emits a single wavelength which on reaching the skin is stored as heat energy. This heat energy then gets absorbed by the melanin present in hair and damages the hair follicle thereby reducing the growth of unwanted hair. A permanent hair reduction can also be experienced but that depends on the type and color of skin and hair.

Over the next few days after the procedure, the unwanted hair will fall off on their own.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Types Of Laser

Yes, there are different types of laser and each type has its use, effects, benefits, and side effects. The laser is adjusted according to the patient’s skin type and color as well as hair color and thickness to minimize skin damage and to increase the impact of the procedure. The following are the three commonly used lasers for the removal of unwanted hair:

  • Diode Laser: Best for light and dark-skinned patients
  • Alexandrite Laser: This laser is meant for hair removal on larger body parts and works best on patients with light to olive skin tone.
  • Nd: YAG Laser: This laser works well for all skin types. Though it is not as effective on light hair.



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Who Can Get Laser Hair Removal?

Since the laser targets the melanin present in the hair follicle, people with dark hair are the best candidate for laser treatment for hair removal. What about other people? Let’s find out.

  • People with light skin and dark hair are the best candidate
  • Those with dark skin or light hair would have to undergo multiple specialized treatments
  • Laser hair removal does not work on grey hair as there is no pigment present



Where Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Like waxing, shaving, and plucking, laser hair removal works on every nook and cranny of your body. Want to get rid of hair from your upper lips or want underarm hair removal? Laser hair removal face treatment is possible and safe. The laser works well on the bikini line as well. Want a Brazilian hair removal? Go ahead with laser treatment. No matter the body part, there is a laser treatment for you. Long term results with zero worries about ingrown hair or skin irritation.



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How Is Laser Hair Removal Done?

Laser hair removal is a high tech method to remove unwanted hair and is very simple. You don’t have to feel intimidated by it. Let’s find out more about this treatment.




  • Do your research about the facility as well as the specialist. Choose one who is certified by the board, has the requisite qualification and experience. Don’t hesitate in asking to see the credentials. Better safe than sorry, right?
  • After having finalized the facility, you would be called for getting the consultation. It is then that you can clarify all your queries regarding the procedure
  • The doctor will discuss your candidacy as laser hair removal is not effective for everyone
  • You would also be asked to give details about your medical history including questions like whether you have a history of skin infections and what medications are you currently on
  • Your expectations from the procedure, the benefits as well as the risks will also be discussed
  • You will be given a set of guidelines to follow before the treatment. Most importantly, you would be asked to shave the area intended for hair removal
  • Some clinics also click photographs to keep a record of the laser hair removal before and after results




Following is the step by step procedure followed during the laser hair removal:

  • The procedure begins with a clean and freshly shaved area. You would be provided with the requisite safety gear, especially for your eyes. Some clinics also provide a cooling gel or numbing agent before beginning the procedure while others use a device which also has a cooling device
  • Since there are different types of lasers with each being effective for different types of skin and hair, the laser to be used for your procedure would be adjusted as per the color, thickness, and location of your unwanted hair
  • The handheld device will be used to direct the laser on the intended area a few times. A constant eye is kept to avoid any adverse reaction to skin
  • Once the procedure is finished, you would be provided with an ice pack, cold compress, or anti-inflammatory cream



What To Expect After Laser Hair Removal?

Have you ever been sunburned? That’s exactly how you will look after undergoing the laser treatment for hair removal. You would also feel sore and slight pain. The area treated will appear hot and red. The redness usually subsides within 24 hours. In the following days, you would see hair growth which is the treated hair coming out from beneath the skin’s surface to eventually fall.



What Is The Cost Of Laser Hair Removal?

The laser hair removal cost depends on many factors including the type of laser, number of sessions, area to be treated, qualification and experience of the doctor, and location of the facility among others. This procedure can cost you anywhere from $50 to $500 per session and the number of sessions varies from person to person.



Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Laser hair removal is considered a long term remedy against unwanted hair rather than a permanent procedure because the results vary from person to person. This procedure has two outcomes. Either the hair growth would be reduced significantly or the hair would be permanently removed. This would depend on the following:

  • Color of hair
  • Thickness of hair
  • Skin color
  • Type of laser used
  • Training and experience of doctor



11 Things To Keep In Mind

There are certain things which you must keep in mind before and after the laser treatment for hair removal. We have outlined the most common and important ones for you:

  • Choose your doctor and clinic carefully. Don’t hesitate to check their credentials. Ask questions
  • Don’t get tempted by offers from spas and salons. Choose a proper medical facility
  • Shave the area intended for hair removal within 12 hours before the treatment. Shaving is mandatory and cannot be replaced by waxing, bleaching, or plucking
  • Stop all kinds of hair removal procedure six weeks before the treatment
  • Avoid medications which are photosensitive and blood-thinning one week before the treatment
  • Be regular with your appointments and don’t miss out on any just because you are seeing reduced hair growth. Complete the procedure
  • Avoid going out in the sun 24 hours before and after the treatment. Use SPF if you have to go out
  • Your skin must be tan free to minimize damage
  • Avoid gym, sauna, and hot shower for the next 24 hours after the laser treatment
  • Avoid chemical peels and tanning beds for two weeks after the treatment
  • Products with harsh ingredients like glycolic acid, AHAs, and retinol must be avoided for at least two days before and after the treatment



Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It— Its Pros, Cons, And Side Effects

Now you know what is laser hair removal and how this procedure is performed. But is it worth your time, money, and efforts? Let’s find out more about the pros, cons, and side effects of laser hair removal.

Pros Of Laser Hair Removal

  • Reduces hair growth and in some cases removes hair permanently
  • Relatively less painful than waxing
  • Effective
  • Suitable for multiple body areas
  • Precise
  • No ingrown hair
  • Targets only the hair follicle

Cons Of Laser Hair Removal

  • Expensive
  • Multiple sessions required
  • Not suitable for everyone
  • Does not work on grey hair

Laser Hair Removal Side Effects

The following are the common laser hair removal side effects:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Skin irritation
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Change in skin color

Some serious laser hair removal side effects include:

  • Blistered and crusty skin
  • Severe pain
  • Too much/too little pigmentation
  • Permanent scarring
  • Skin damage

Seek immediate medical attention if you have the above serious side effects along with fever.



Frequently Asked Questions



Q. Is laser hair removal painful?

Yes, laser hair removal is slightly painful. Ever got hit by a stretched rubber band? That is the amount of pain you would feel. Many clinics use handheld devices which include a cooling device and soothes skin as soon as the laser has gone through it. Some would numb the area before the procedure.


Q. Is laser hair removal safe?

Yes, laser hair removal is completely safe.



Q. Does laser hair removal work on face?

Yes, laser hair removal works very well on the face just like any other body part.


Q. How much effective is the laser hair removal for dark skin?

Dark-skinned people are not the best candidates for laser hair removal. Though with the right equipment and specialist dark-skinned people too can enjoy being hairless. They should however be more cautious when choosing the facility and do proper research to see if the facility has catered to dark-skinned people in the past.


Q. Does one need to shave before laser hair removal face treatment?

Yes, just like any other body part, you would be required to shave your face as well before undergoing laser treatment. Usually, the intended part of the face for hair removal is shaved at the clinic by the specialist.



Q. Is it possible to do laser hair removal at home?

Laser hair removal at home is possible these days due to the availability of handheld devices. A laser hair removal machine would cost you anywhere between $200 and $1000. These devices are supposed to be used repeatedly and are not as effective as a laser hair removal done in a clinic by experts.


Q. How many sessions of laser hair removal are required to see results?

The number of sessions depends on a lot of factors including skin type, color, sensitivity, and hair type and color. However, on average, you would need six to ten sessions of laser hair removal to experience effective results.


Q. Does laser hair removal guarantee permanent hair removal?

Laser hair removal damages hair follicle which reduces the amount of hair growth after the procedure. Permanent hair removal is experienced when a hair follicle is destroyed. Whether the effects will be permanent or there would be hair growth varies from person to person.


Q. What is IPL hair removal?

IPL refers to intense pulsed light and is known to be similar to laser hair removal. The main difference between the two is that IPL emits multiple wavelengths instead of just one. It works similarly to that of laser hair removal and targets the pigment. However, it is considered less effective than laser hair removal.


Q. What is electrolysis hair removal?

Electrolysis hair removal is a popular method for removing hair permanently. In this method, short radio frequencies are used to destroy the hair follicle thus stopping hair growth. This method also requires multiple sessions like laser hair removal.


Q. Are there any Brazilian hair removal before and after guidelines?

You should follow the same precautions and guidelines as usual laser hair removal. Choose your specialist carefully. You would be asked to shave your pubic region 12 hours before the treatment. After the treatment, you would experience some redness and bruising which is normal. You would also see some hair growing out but refrain from giving in to the temptation of shaving them off. Avoid sex for the next 24 hours after having the procedure done.


Q. Can laser hair removal cause infertility?

No, laser hair removal does not cause infertility. You don’t have to fear for your fertility when getting Brazilian hair removal. The laser only targets the hair follicle and is considered safe. It might lead to bruising, swelling, or redness of the skin but it does not cause infertility.


Q. Can laser hair removal cause cancer?

No, laser hair removal does not cause cancer as it does not affect the cells but only targets the hair follicle.