What Is Laser Hair Removal? Procedure, recovery and Risks

If you do not have the time or affinity for protracted methods like shaving, waxing, and tweezing to remove unwanted hair, you can opt for more permanent solutions like laser hair removal. It is a cosmetic procedure that involves exposing hair follicles to highly concentrated light beams. The pigment in the hair follicles absorbs the laser light thereby destroying the hair.

You can use laser hair removal for your face, legs, chin, arms, back, underarm, and bikini line. Some of the major benefits of laser hair removal are:


The procedure can selectively target hairs in a specific area without causing any damage to the surrounding skin.


You can effectively treat small areas like your upper lip in less than a minute. Further, treating large areas with this method like back or legs may take an hour.


The procedure is highly predictable with reliable results. Most patients experience permanent hair loss soon after 3 to 7 sessions.

How Can You Prepare for The Procedure?

Laser hair removal is a detailed medical procedure that involves potential risks. Only a trained medical practitioner with proper precision and training can carry out the procedure. You should thoroughly check the credentials of the technician performing laser hair removal before you enroll for the procedure.

Limit other methods of hair removal like plucking, waxing, or electrolysis for at least six weeks before you plan to undergo laser hair removal as the treatment targets roots of the hair. Avoid sun exposure for at least six weeks before and after the treatment.

What to Expect During the Procedure?

Your doctor may trim your hair to a few millimeters before starting the treatment. Next, the technicians apply a topical numbing medicine 20- 30 minutes before starting the laser procedure. It helps protect against the sting or sensation of the laser pulses.

The technicians will adjust the laser equipment according to the thickness, color, and location of the hair being treated and the color of your skin. You may be advised to wear appropriate eye protection. A cold gel may be used on the outer skin to help the laser beams penetrate the skin. The technician will gently apply a laser pulse at the treatment area and examine it for several minutes to ensure the best settings and check for bad reactions.

Once the procedure is done, the doctor may apply ice packs, cold water, or anti-inflammatory creams and lotions to ease the discomfort. Your next sessions will be scheduled four to six weeks later and the treatment will continue until the hair growth suspends in the treated area.

Recovery and Risks

Your treated area of the skin may appear as sunburned for a few days after the treatment. You can apply cool compresses or soothing moisturizers to ease the discomfort. The treated hair will fall off over the next month. Some patients with darker complexion develop blisters after the treatment. Some temporary potential side effects of the procedure include redness, swelling, and scarring of the skin.