Laser Hair Reduction

Laser hair removal removes unwanted body hair—usually on the legs, back, underarms, or face—by permanently damaging or destroying hair follicles with light energy.

The goal of a series of laser hair removal treatments is to leave skin smooth and hair-free, but realistic expectations are key. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says laser hair removal effectively reduces the amount of hair in the treated area by about 70%.

How many treatments are needed?

Most people need 6 to 8 laser hair removal treatments every 4 to 8 weeks to see results, plus an annual maintenance session. That said, everyone is different, so you may find that you need fewer sessions (or more).

Different body parts require different schedules: some providers recommend waiting four to six weeks in between laser hair removal treatments for the face and up to eight weeks for anywhere else on the body, where the hair growth cycles are longer.

The whole process can take a year or more, so it’s smart to start a series of treatments in the fall to have smoother skin by summer.

Why Laser Hair Removal?

  • If you’re tired of ongoing plucking, shaving, or waxing, laser hair removal could help simplify your life and decrease ingrown hairs.
  • In the hands of an experienced provider, the laser precisely targets hair follicles, while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
  • Among the 86% of RealSelf reviewers who say it was Worth It, many say they saw a noticeable decrease in hair growth after as few as two sessions.

How long does recovery take?

For a day or two afterward, the treated area may look and feel like it's sunburned, so you might need to use cool compresses or a gentle moisturizer. If your face was treated, you can safely wear makeup the next day unless your skin feels irritated.

Follow these tips for a smoother recovery:

  • Avoid sun exposure. Sun exposure can increase skin irritation in the days following a treatment, so limit time in direct sun for the treated areas. Any time you anticipate being out in the sun, apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.
  • Shave to remove any hair between laser sessions, but refrain from threading, waxing, and tweezing.
  • For the first few days, avoid perfumes, deodorant (if you’ve lasered your underarms), and hot showers or saunas. Take a lukewarm shower instead.
  • It’s common to experience some swelling, itching, and redness after laser hair removal due to irritation of the hair follicles. “You may try taking an antihistamine and applying hydrocortisone a few times a day to relieve redness and itching,” says Dr. Williams.
  • Wait at least 24 hours after laser hair removal in the bikini area for the swelling to go down before you have sex.

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