Every Laser Hair Removal Question, Answered

9 min read

Every Laser Hair Removal Question, Answered Every Laser Hair Removal Question, Answered

You’d think hair removal would be relatively straightforward, but laser hair removal is surprisingly high-tech… and misunderstood. If you’ve never done it before (or even if you have!) you might have some burning questions.


(And let’s face it – if you can help it, you’d rather not have to book some salesy laser hair removal consultation to get those Qs answered!)


We got you. Here’s every laser hair removal question we could think of, organized by category and answered.


(If you think of another one that isn’t here, email us at info@roseskinco.com & we’ll update this article!)

Pain levels

Does laser hair removal hurt?

The million-dollar question: does laser hair removal hurt? We’re not gonna lie to you – it does. Pain is subjective – some people say it’s unbearable, others say it feels like a bunch of rubber band flicks – but all in all, it’s one of the more painful hair removal methods out there.


Which body areas are the most painful to treat?

Areas where the skin is sensitive and thin are typically the most painful to treat. Bikini area, upper lip, and underarm laser hair removal are notoriously the most painful.


Are there any methods to minimize pain during treatment?

Yes – general prep like staying out of the sun and making sure skin is clean and dry before treatment will help minimize potential pain. Also, the area you treat matters – certain spots like armpits and the bikini area are notoriously more painful to treat, since the skin is thinner there. Also, if you can help it, don’t schedule a treatment during menstruation as the skin can be significantly more sensitive at that time.


Does skin sensitivity impact pain levels during laser hair removal?

Yes. Laser hair removal will likely be more painful for you if your skin is sensitive.


Is it safe to use numbing creams before laser hair removal?

Yes, numbing creams are generally safe to use and can minimize pain and sensation during treatment. Ask your laser hair removal technician about numbing creams.


How can I manage pain post-treatment?

Take over-the-counter pain medicine, wear loose-fitting clothing, and stay moisturized with lotion or Vaseline to manage pain and discomfort post-treatment.


Safety

Is laser hair removal safe for all skin types?

Yes. Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair, but it is safe for all skin types.


What are the potential risks and side effects of laser hair removal?

Common laser hair removal side effects include irritation, redness, and itchiness. More serious side effects may include scarring, hyperpigmentation, eye damage, and infection.


Can laser hair removal cause skin discoloration or burns?

Yes, in rare cases it can cause serious side effects including skin discoloration and burns. Visit a licensed medical doctor to reduce the risk of serious side effects.


Is laser hair removal safe for people with sensitive skin?

Yes, but it may be more painful.


Is laser hair removal safe to do at home?

No – lasers should only be operated by a medical professional at a clinic. However, IPL permanent hair removal handsets (sometimes referred to as at-home laser hair removal) are safe to use at home and offer similar results as laser hair removal.


Are there any health conditions that make laser hair removal unsafe?

Yes. If you are pregnant or have genital herpes, keloid scars, or skin cancer, laser hair removal may not be suitable for you. Ask your doctor before having laser hair removal.


Cost

How much does professional laser hair removal typically cost?

How much professional laser hair removal costs depends on the area you’re treating, where you live, and the clinic you visit. The national average cost of a laser hair removal procedure is $582, and you’ll likely require anywhere from 4-10 initial sessions, most commonly 6-8.


If you were to just take the national average, that means you’d be looking at anywhere from $2,328-$5,820. The cost of treating a smaller area will likely be lower, while the cost of treating your full body may be higher.


Related: How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?


Are at-home laser hair removal devices more cost-effective?

Yes. At-home IPL hair removal devices like Lumi (often called laser hair removal devices, though the technology is slightly different) offer similar results to laser hair removal at a much lower cost. Lumi is a one-time cost of $229 USD and can be used on just about any body part.


How many sessions are required to achieve permanent hair reduction?

4-12 sessions may be needed to achieve permanent hair removal, depending on the hair growth cycle, the coarseness of the hair, and the area being treated. Most commonly, it takes 6-8 sessions per area.


Are maintenance sessions necessary, and what do they cost?

Yes – while laser hair removal offers a permanent reduction in body hair, most clinics recommend returning at least once a year to maintain results. These maintenance sessions typically cost as much as regular laser hair removal sessions.


Does insurance cover the cost of laser hair removal?

No, health insurance typically does not cover the cost of laser hair removal as it is generally considered an elective cosmetic procedure.


Does laser hair removal offer long-term savings?

Over time, it may – it comes at a steep initial cost, but you won’t have to worry about spending money on razors, shaving cream, waxing appointments, and the like from then on, not to mention the amount of time saved. 


Suitability for Different Hair Colors and Skin Tones

Is laser hair removal effective for all hair colors and skin tones?

No. Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair. Laser hair removal typically is not effective for those with blonde, gray, red, or white hair.


Can people with darker skin tones safely use laser hair removal?

Yes. Laser hair technology has advanced in recent years, making it an option for darker skin. That being said, the risk of damage to skin is greater when there is little contrast between hair and skin color, and it may be less effective.


Is laser hair removal effective for people with blonde, red, or gray hair?

No, laser hair removal typically is not effective for people with blonde, red, or gray hair.


Are specific laser devices better suited for certain skin tones?

Yes, certain professional-grade laser devices are approved for use on dark skin while others are not. YAG lasers, diode lasers, and alexandrite lasers can be used to remove hair from dark skin tones.


How does melanin in the skin affect laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal devices target hair follicles by detecting melanin. More melanated (as in, darker) skin can make it difficult for the laser to target the hair follicle.



Laser Hair Removal Process

What should I expect during a typical laser hair removal appointment?

When you arrive at the office, your doctor will clean the area being treated and may offer a topical numbing cream. Your doctor may also provide goggles or glasses to protect your eyes throughout the procedure. Then, they will begin the treatment by passing the laser over the entire area you want treated. You’ll likely experience some pain during treatment – it might feel like a bunch of rubber band flicks in a row or more intense.


How long does a laser hair removal session usually take?

It depends on the size of the area you’re treating. For a small area like your upper lip, it might take a matter of minutes – for a larger area like your back, it might take an hour or more. 


How many sessions are required for complete hair removal?

It typically takes 4-12 sessions to see full results, most commonly 6-8. Beyond that, one maintenance session per year is typically required to treat stray hairs.


What should I do to prepare for a laser hair removal appointment?

Shave any area you’re planning on treating 24-48 hours before your session, or as directed by your laser hair removal provider. Ideally, you should also avoid sun exposure for 3-4 weeks before getting laser hair removal. As soon as you know you’re getting laser done, stay out of the sun or use strong SPF.


Related: How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal


What are laser hair removal aftercare recommendations?

Moisturize treated skin multiple times a day to keep it comfortable and help it heal. Wear loose cotton clothing for a day or two after treatment. Avoid any prolonged sun exposure to the area between laser sessions.


Related: Laser Hair Removal Aftercare


Is it possible to treat multiple areas in a single appointment?

Yes, at most laser hair removal clinics you can treat multiple areas in a single appointment.



Routine and Frequency

How often should I have laser hair removal sessions?

Depending on the area you’re treating, you’ll need to wait 4-8 weeks between sessions.


What happens if I skip a session or take a long break between treatments?

This can affect your results. Laser hair removal is a gradual process that seeks to damage hair follicles in the growth phase. If you wait a long time between treatments or don’t finish treatment, hair might thin initially, but then may recover from the damage and grow normally. Missing a session or waiting an extra week here or there likely won’t affect your progress too much, but it’s a good idea to get back on schedule as soon as you can. 


Is maintenance required after completing the initial sessions?

Typically, yes. Most clinics advise coming in once a year after the initial treatment sessions to maintain results.


Can laser hair removal be done too frequently?

Yes, it can. Laser hair removal should not be done more frequently than every 4 weeks.


How should I modify my skincare routine before and after treatments?

It’s important to shave (rather than use a different hair removal method) in preparation for and between laser hair removal treatments. You may also need to moisturize the treated area more than you’re used to, especially in the days immediately following treatment.



Laser Hair Removal Alternatives

How does laser hair removal compare to electrolysis?

Both laser hair removal and electrolysis target hair follicles to achieve long-term hair removal. But electrolysis uses a metal probe to deliver electric pulses. It’s a manual technique that works on all hair colors and skin types, but it’s better suited for small treatment areas and requires more sessions for full results. Electrolysis also must be performed by a professional in a clinic, and the cost is similar.


Can waxing, sugaring, or epilating provide similar results to laser hair removal?

Waxing, sugaring, and epilating can provide smooth, hair-free results that last a few weeks, significantly longer than shaving. However, waxing, sugaring, and epilating do not provide long-term hair removal like laser hair removal does.


How effective is depilatory cream compared to laser hair removal?

Depilatory cream can get rid of hair temporarily, but results typically only last a matter of days. It doesn’t provide long-term hair removal.


What are the benefits and drawbacks of traditional shaving compared to laser hair removal?

Traditional shaving is inexpensive and can be done at home, but it doesn’t offer long-term results – many have to shave multiple times a week or even daily to achieve hair-free skin. Shaving also can result in razor burn and cuts. Laser hair removal is a significant investment and requires in-clinic visits, but it offers a long-term reduction in body hair.


Is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) a good alternative to laser hair removal?

IPL can be an excellent alternative to laser hair removal. Like laser hair removal, IPL uses light technology to target unwanted body hair, but it uses broad-spectrum light pulses, making treatment less painful and safe for home use. Plus, you can see full results in just 8-12 weeks and it’s available for a fraction of the cost: leading IPL at-home devices like Lumi start at just $229.