Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal

Basic facts

Some consumers of laser hair removal have experienced permanent hair reduction, but there is limited data on how long hair reduction usually lasts, how much hair reduction is typical, and how often permanent hair reduction occurs.


arrow Light at a specified wavelength is delivered from a handpiece into the skin, where it targets dark material (usually the pigment in hair).

arrow This is intended to cause thermal and/or mechanical damage to a hair follicle while sparing surrounding tissues.


arrow Some consumers have experienced long-lasting hair removal or permanent hair reduction.

arrow Considered safe if performed properly.

arrow Useful for large areas such as backs or legs.

arrow Regrowth can come back lighter in color or finer in texture.

arrow Light-skinned consumers with dark hair have the best results.


arrow Long-term data on safety and effectiveness have not been accurately established.

arrow Response rates have not been established.

arrow Regrowth rates have not been accurately established and cannot be predicted due to numerous variables.

arrow Generally not as effective on unpigmented (gray) hairs and red or blonde hair.

arrow Must be used very cautiously (if at all) on darker skin tones or on consumers who tan themselves.

arrow Improper treatment can cause burns, lesions, skin discoloration lasting several months, or patchy/patterned regrowth.

arrow Recent data suggest other skin structures are often affected by laser irradiation, and long term effects of this constitute an unknown risk.

arrow Requires eye protection.

arrow Can be expensive.

arrow Some find treatment painful.

arrow Regulation varies by state, so inadequate controls exist to ensure competent practitioners.

arrow Some consumers, even ideal candidates, do not respond to treatment.

Quack claims

arrow “Painless” or “virtually painless”

While many clients tolerate laser without requiring pain relief, it’s overpromise to state that treatment will be painless for all consumers.

arrow “Permanent hair removal” or “100% permanent” or “permanent”

Some consumers experience permanent reduction of treated hair over the course of treatment, but published studies have observed that many consumers are not good candidates, and even ideal candidates with light skin and dark hair do not always respond to treatment. See the page on permanent hair reduction below.

arrow “Guaranteed 0% regrowth”

There is no published clinical data to substantiate this sort of overpromise.

arrow “Laser electrolysis” or “lasertrolysis”

These quack marketing terms are used to blur important distinctions between laser and electrolysis effectiveness. Laser has several advantages over electrolysis, and vice versa. Terms like these only confuse consumers.

arrow “Light years ahead of electrolysis”

This quack marketing term suggests that laser is better than electrolysis for consumers, but this is not always the case.

Other laser pages in this section

Due to the complicated issues surrounding this hair removal method, I have divided this into several sections. If you’re researching a specific laser type or issue, you can go right to that topic. For a more thorough review, I recommend reading the pages in order.

arrow Background: terms and concepts

arrow History and current issues

arrow Lasers organized by type, manufacturer, and model

arrow “Permanent hair reduction”: what it means

arrow Clinical data overview

arrow Nd:YAG

arrow Ruby

arrow Alexandrite

arrow Diode

arrow How to choose a laser practitioner

arrow Pain management tips

This site has several sections on laser hair removal, including the following popular pages:

arrow laser hair removal
arrow cost of laser hair removal
arrow laser facial hair removal
arrow bikini line laser hair removal
arrow pubic hair removal laser
arrow chin hair removal
arrow laser hair removal clinics
arrow laser hair removal locations
arrow permanent hair removal