Laser hair removal (2024)

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that uses a powerful laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) to remove unwanted hair.

This light source heats and destroys hair follicles in the skin, which disrupts hair growth.

Common areas to treat are the face, chest, legs, arms, underarms and bikini line.

It can be helpful for women withexcessive hair growth (hirsutism).

What to think about before you have laser hair removal

Laser hair removal may have side effects, it has limitations, and it can be expensive.


Laser hair removal is safe, but it can occasionally cause side effects, such as pain and discomfort, and red skin that may last for some time.

It may also not be suitable for everyone, including pregnant women and people with certain skin types.

There's no evidence to suggest that laser hair removal causes skin cancer.

It's important to make sure the person doing your laser hair removal is experienced and suitably qualified.

Check they're on a register to show they meet set standards in training, skill and insurance.

Avoid practitioners who have only completed a short training course.

Read more about choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure.

It's not permanent

You'll need regular sessions to keep hair from regrowing.

How often sessions are needed varies for each person. For example, you may need a session to remove facial hair every 4 weeks, and for body hair every 6 to 8 weeks.

There's no guarantee laser hair removal will get rid of all the hair.

It does not work well on dark skin

Laser hair removal works better on people with pale skin and dark hair.

It's not as effective on tanned skin or hair that's been bleached by the sun. If you've got a tan you'll need to let it fade before having treatment.


The cost of laser hair removal depends on the area of the body being treated and the number of treatments needed.

For example, for single treatments it may cost around:

  • £85 for the upper lip
  • £110 for under the arms
  • £130 for the bikini line
  • £270 for the arms

What laser hair removal involves

You'll need to shave the area of skin the day before your appointment.

On the day, you'll wear specially designed goggles to protect your eyes.

The practitioner usually applies a cool gel or cooling air spray to the area of skin.

They then press a handheld device to your skin and triggerthe laser. This may feel like an elastic band snapping at your skin.

Each session may take between 15 minutes to over an hour.

The number of sessions needed depends on the area to be lasered and the system used.


The affected area may be red with a raised rash for a few hours to a few days.

Regularly holding an ice pack to the skin may help (try a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel).

Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun after laser hair removal. It’s best to avoid exposing the treated area of skin to sunlight until after the treatment course has finished.

Regardless of the weather, use sunscreen (minimum SPF30) for at least 4 weeks on exposed areas that have been treated.

Rarely, laser hair removal can result in:

  • pain, discomfort or tenderness
  • red skin that may last for some time
  • crusting, blistering, bruising or swelling of your skin
  • lightening or darkening of your skin
  • scarring
  • burns from the laser's heat
  • bacterial infections

What to do if you have problems

Ifyou've had laser hair removal and you're not happy with the results or you have side effects that are troubling you, talk to your practitioner at the clinic where you were treated.

Go back to the practitioner who treated you if you have any complications that need medical attention. If this is not possible, see a GP or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E).

Laser hair removal (2024)


Laser hair removal? ›

The results vary from patient to patient. The color and thickness of your hair, area treated, type of laser used, and color of your skin all affect the results. You can expect a 10% to 25% reduction in hair after the first treatment. To remove the hair, most patients need 2 to 6 laser treatments.

Why do I still have so much hair after laser? ›

The appearance of increased hair growth after laser hair removal can be concerning, but it's important to understand that this is a normal part of the treatment process. Hair shedding, hair growth cycles, and misconceptions about hair growth can all contribute to the perception of increased hairiness.

Will 6 sessions of laser hair removal be enough? ›

Generally, clients need about two to six laser treatments in order to completely get rid of hair.

Does laser hair removal just not work for some people? ›

Laser hair removal is most effective for people with thick, dark hair and light skin. The contrast between skin color and hair color makes it easier for the hair to absorb heat. It might not work as well for people with dark skin or hair that's blonde, gray, white or red.

What are the limitations of laser hair removal? ›

Other rare side effects include graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, particularly on darker skin. Laser hair removal isn't recommended for eyelids, eyebrows or surrounding areas, due to the possibility of severe eye injury.

Why is laser not getting rid of my hair? ›

If you saw a less than stellar result on your last treatments it could have been due to not being in the hair growth stage in the cycle during time of procedure. Hormonal imbalance while undergoing laser treatments can stimulate increased hair regrowth.

Why do I still have stubble after laser hair removal? ›

Reasons for Stubble After Laser Hair Removal

With hairs at different stages at any given time, a single laser session can only target hairs in the active growth phase. This discrepancy means that hairs not in the active phase during treatment will continue to grow, leading to the perception of stubble.

Why is my hair growing back after 6 laser sessions? ›

After laser hair removal, hair is most likely to grow back on the chin, neck, and other areas of the face. This may be due in part to hormonal fluctuations and the reactivation of hair follicles by androgens, such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone.

What happens if I stop laser hair removal after 4 sessions? ›

If treatment is stopped before all of the hair follicles have been destroyed, some may continue to grow. It is important to complete the recommended treatment plan to achieve the best results. Sometimes, the patient sees hairs are thicker and darker after the treatment when they have original light and fair hair.

Should I do 6 or 10 laser sessions? ›

For optimal results it is recommended that you undergo a course of 6-10 treatments. The reason a course of treatments is recommended is because of the way the hair grows and the lasers work. The laser targets hair that is in the 'growth phase' or Anagen phase of its cycle.

What they don t tell you about laser hair removal? ›

Laser hair removal treatments are very effective at reducing and eliminating hair growth; however, it is not guaranteed to remove all your hair. If you have hair that grows quickly or is treated with an inefficient laser, you may notice hair returning in a shorter time.

Do most celebrities get laser hair removal? ›

For people who want to remove unwanted hair, laser hair removal is an extremely popular procedure, with millions of satisfied customers who swear by it. And yes, many of these customers are celebrities.

Will I regret laser hair removal? ›

Regret usually stems from choosing the wrong provider. While laser hair removal itself is rarely regrettable, what can lead to regret is choosing the wrong provider. A cheap, inexperienced clinic may use outdated equipment or incorrect techniques, leading to less effective treatment or even unwanted side-effects.

Should I laser my upper lip? ›

There are a variety of benefits to upper lip laser treatments. Unlike other hair removal methods, laser hair removal permanently removes unwanted hair. This treatment is also less painful, more precise, and doesn't damage your skin, unlike shaving and waxing. This treatment is extremely cost and time effective.

What is the success rate of laser hair removal? ›

You can expect a 10% to 25% reduction in hair after the first treatment. To remove the hair, most patients need 2 to 6 laser treatments. After finishing the treatments, most patients do not see any hair on the treated skin for several months or even years.

What are three disadvantages of laser? ›

Disadvantages of Laser :
  • Costly for Patients – It is costly and consequently more consumption to the patients requiring laser-based medicines.
  • Costly for specialists – ...
  • Increases intricacy – ...
  • Less uses in Dental method – ...
  • Higher forces during the cutting cycle – ...
  • Destructive –
Dec 28, 2020

Why is my hair not going away after laser hair removal? ›

If you notice hair not shedding a couple of weeks after your treatment, it's important not to forcefully remove it by waxing or plucking. This could disrupt the natural hair growth cycle, which could affect the success of future treatments. The best course of action is to consult with your laser hair removal expert.

Why is my hair still growing after the first laser session? ›

A few days following your laser hair removal treatment, you will notice what appears like new hair growth in the areas that have been treated. Amazingly, this is a sign that the treatment is working! Keep in mind that not all the hair removed by this procedure was above the skin.

How to remove dead hair follicles after laser? ›

You can help speed up the process by gently exfoliating the area with a loofah or exfoliating scrub. However, if the black dots are a sign of new hair growth, it's important to avoid removing them. Removing the hair prematurely can lead to ingrown hairs or other skin irritation.

How to encourage shedding after laser hair removal? ›

Tips to Encourage Faster Shedding

Moisturising the Skin: Proper hydration of the skin can ease the shedding of hair. Opt for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturisers that soothe without causing irritation. Avoiding Sun Exposure: The treated areas are particularly sensitive to UV rays post-laser.

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