- Laser hair removal on the face uses laser light technology beamed to the hair follicles to stop hair growth.
- It’s a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that’s done in-office.
- Laser hair removal is generally considered to be a safe procedure.
- Side effects may include redness or swelling, and in rare cases burning, blistering, or infection.
- The laser equipment is FDA-approved.
- Laser hair removal requires no downtime, and the procedure itself is quick and takes less than 30 minutes for the face.
- It should only be performed by a medical professional or a highly trained aesthetician.
- Laser hair removal typically costs $200–$400 per session, and you will need 4 to 6 sessions, plus a yearly maintenance appointment.
- If done correctly, laser hair removal on the face will permanently get rid of hair.
2003 studyon patient satisfaction showed the majority of patients (71 percent) are satisfied by the treatment.
Laser hair removal on the face is a noninvasive medical procedure that uses a beam of light (a laser) to remove hair from the face.
It can be done on other parts of the body too, like the armpits, legs, or bikini area, but on the face it’s used primarily around the mouth, chin, or cheeks.
There was a time when laser hair removal worked best on people with dark hair and light skin, but now, thanks to advancements in laser technology, it’s a suitable procedure for anyone who has unwanted hair they’d like to remove.
It’s a very common procedure. Data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed that in 2016, laser hair removal was one of the top 5 nonsurgical procedures in the United States.
One session of laser hair removal will typically cost anywhere between $200 and $400, and you’ll likely need at least 4 to 6 sessions, spaced about a month apart.
Because laser hair removal is an elective cosmetic procedure, it will not be covered by insurance, but you should be able to return to work immediately.
Laser hair removal works by sending a light into the hair follicle via laser, which is absorbed by the pigment, or melanin, in the hair — this is why it originally worked best on people with darker hair.
When the light is absorbed by the pigment, it’s converted to heat, which is what actually damages the follicle.
After the laser damages the hair follicle, the hair vaporizes, and a full round of treatments later the hair will stop growing back.
Laser hair removal may help prevent ingrown hairs and will save time typically spent waxing or shaving.
Before the laser hair removal procedure begins, your face will be thoroughly cleaned and a numbing gel may be applied to the treatment area. You’ll be given goggles to wear, and your hair will likely be covered.
The practitioner will aim the laser at the specified area. Most patients say the sensation feels like a rubber band snapping against the skin, or a sunburn. You may smell the scent of burnt hair.
Because the face area is smaller than other parts of the body, like the chest or legs, laser hair removal on the face will generally be pretty quick, sometimes done in as little as 15–20 minutes.
You can get laser hair removal anywhere on the body, and it’s safe for most people. However, it’s advised the pregnant people don’t get laser treatments of any kind, including laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal can be done anywhere on the face including the:
- upper lip
Severe side effects or complications related to laser hair removal on the face are rare. Side effects will typically resolve on their own and may include:
- skin irritation
In rare cases, more serious side effects of laser hair removal include:
- permanent changes in skin tone or color
In the days following laser hair removal, you can expect to resume most of your normal activities, though you should refrain from exercise and direct sun exposure.
Expect to be a bit patient — it may take up to 2 to 3 weeks for you to see a noticeable difference in hair growth, and it may take several sessions to see full results.
It can be helpful to see before and after photos from real people who’ve had laser hair removal on their face when deciding if it’s right for you and your body.
Your doctor should tell you in advance exactly how they’d like you to prepare for your laser hair removal treatment, but here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Avoid sun exposure in the days before treatment, as laser hair removal doesn’t work well on tanned skin.
- Avoid peels or other chemical treatments in the week leading up to your procedure, which may irritate skin.
- You may be told to shave or wax the area beforehand.
- If possible, arrive at your appointment with clean, makeup-free skin.
- Try to arrive with a low body temperature (i.e. don’t power walk to your appointment). If you’re warm to begin with, the laser may feel more uncomfortable.
- Avoid aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs or herbal remedies that may increase bleeding.
- Reschedule your appointment if you have a cold sore or other open cut on your face.
In some states, laser hair removal can only be performed by a medical professional, including dermatologists, nurses, or physician’s assistants. In other states, you can see a highly trained aesthetician for the procedure, though the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends seeing a medical professional.
This tool can help you find a reputable dermatologist near you.