American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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What you need to know about laser hair removal


Tired of constantly shaving and waxing that unwanted hair? Not only is this time-consuming, but it can leave your skin irritated with in-grown hairs, bumps, redness and even acne in some cases. Laser hair removal is an option that has gained popularity as an alternative treatment. It is a non-invasive technique that concentrates light through an energy source so that it is absorbed by the pigment or color within the hair follicle. This damages the follicle and can prevent regrowth.

Who is a good candidate for treatment?

Patients with dark hair and light skin are ideal candidates for laser hair removal. This allows the laser to focus its light on the pigment within the hair and does not have pigment within the skin competing for it. In patients with darker skin, however, there are specific lasers that can be used successfully. Those patients that have blonde or white hair, unfortunately, are not good candidates for this as they lack the pigment necessary for treatment. It is also vital to not have any skin rashes, infections, open wounds or tans depending on the specific technology that is being used.

What can patients expect?

Successful treatment will usually require 4-6 separate treatments spaced 3-6 weeks apart. This is due to the fact that hair has a growth cycle and laser is only effective in certain active stages of growth. Laser hair removal results in a hair reduction. A good response would involve thinning of the hair and an 80% reduction in growth. Results may not be permanent and, most often, will require maintenance treatments.

It is important to remember that laser hair removal is not a "one size fits all" procedure. A consultation and evaluation by a board-certified or eligible plastic surgeon can determine if you are the right candidate for the procedure and determine which laser will work best for your skin and hair type.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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