Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light (laser) to remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.
Multiple laser hair removal treatments are needed for initial hair removal, and maintenance treatments might be needed as well. Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair, but it can be successfully used on all skin types.
The doctor will also offer specific instructions to prepare for laser hair removal. These might include:
Staying out of the sun. Avoiding sun exposure before and after treatment. Whenever you go out, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Lightening your skin.
Avoiding other hair removal methods.
Avoiding blood-thinning medications.
Shaving treatment area. Trimming and shaving is recommended the day before laser treatment. It removes hair above the skin that can result in surface skin damage from burnt hairs, but it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface.
What you can expect
Laser hair removal usually requires two to six treatments. The interval between treatments will vary depending on the location. On areas where hair grows quickly, such as the upper lip, the treatment might be repeated in four to eight weeks. For each treatment you’ll wear special goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beam. An assistant might shave the site again if necessary.