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Can Laser Hair Removal Permanently Remove Unwanted Hair?

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Aug 18, 2022

Can Laser Hair Removal Permanently Remove Unwanted Hair?

Let’s admit it — plucking, shaving, or even waxing every now and then gets tiring and taxing. It requires much from you to remove unwanted hair from different parts of your body. Good thing, the advancement of technology can help you address your concern through laser hair removal.

What Is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal refers to a non-invasive medical procedure that makes use of highly concentrated light (intense pulsed light or IPL) to remove unwanted hair. This light source warms and weakens hair follicles in the skin, causing disruption in the hair growth process.

Hair removal lasers could be used on almost any part of the body. Many lasers are capable of treating large areas. Laser hair removal can treat the following parts of the body: 

  • Underarms
  • Back
  • Bikini area
  • Chest
  • Face (specifically the upper lip and chin, where beard and mustache can grow)
  • Legs
  • Neck
  • Shoulders

It is important to know that this procedure only directly impacts the actively growing hair follicles. This means that hair reduction may require several sessions of treatment. Moreover, even though laser hair removal can effectively slow down hair growth, it does not ensure permanent hair removal. It may take several sessions (around 4-6 or sometimes more) for it to take significant effect. In addition to that, you may need to do treatments on a regular basis to maintain it. 

How Does It Work?

Laser hair removal employs a technique known as selective photothermolysis. The laser heat destroys cells with a good amount of pigment (color). 

Both hair color and skin type can affect the success rate of the procedure during the anagen or growth stage of the hair follicle. Dark hair helps to absorb the most heat due to its high pigment content. Heat then flows from hair to the hair follicles, destroying them and preventing hair growth.

How Can You Prepare for Laser Hair Removal?

Booking a consultation appointment with a certified board dermatologist is the first step. The doctor will run through several considerations, risks, and benefits with you. After reviewing your medical history, your doctor will help you determine the best treatment option for you. They may take photos for before-and-after assessment and long-term review. 

Subsequently, your dermatologist may also proceed with sharing specific instructions prior to treatment such as: 

What Happens During Laser Hair Removal?

The procedure follows a series of steps which include:

  • Cleansing the area before treatment. Some patients, particularly those who want to cover sensitive areas of the body, may need the help of numbing gel to relax. 
  • Wearing of protective eyewear while the procedure takes place. This works for everyone in the treatment room. 
  • Treating your skin with laser, which could feel like a sequence of stings. Some compare it to a rubber band snapping against their skin.
  • The length of your treatment is determined by the size of the treatment area. Upper lip treatment procedure may take only a few minutes or so. However, if you are getting a massive area treated, such as the back or legs, the procedure may last longer than an hour.

    Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal

    The side effects vary according to skin type, hair color, treatment plan, and compliance to pre- and post-treatment care. The most common side effects involve skin irritation such as discomfort, redness, and swelling. 

    Other possible side effects, although rare, may include:

    Key Takeaways

    For the most part, laser hair removal is both safe and effective given that it is performed by a qualified dermatology specialist. 
    In most cases, it does not necessitate any real downtime. However, your skin may immediately show signs of redness and swelling. But you can easily resume your regular routines after the procedure. 
    You may need to undergo several maintenance treatments to keep hair growth at bay.

    Learn more about Hair and Scalp Care here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Internal or General Medicine

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Aug 18, 2022

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