Is it Worth it to Have Laser Hair Removal?
When you’re considering any elective medical procedure, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have an elective procedure is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of having laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal uses intense light to heat up hair follicles, reducing the growth of hair on a semipermanent basis. With several treatments, this can remove unwanted hair from the body or face. For more on what it’s like to have laser hair removal, please see Laser Hair Removal: the Procedure and Recovery.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential elective surgery with your own doctor(s), including your primary care physician and the provider who will perform your procedure if you decide to proceed.
Any treatment has risks, and it’s important to be informed about them so you can weigh them against the benefits. With laser hair removal, there’s a risk of the laser damaging the skin as well as the follicles. The skin may become red, and pigmentation changes may occur. Sometimes, blisters form, and there may even be scarring from skin damage by the laser. This risk is higher in darker-skinned people, though the risk can be reduced by using a lower-intensity laser. Because of this risk, people who have undergone tanning – even with artificial spray-on tanning – should not have laser hair removal. Additionally, there may be swelling and irritation around the hair follicles that were treated. This occurs because the follicles are damaged by the treatment. It usually resolves in a few days.
There is also the risk that laser hair removal won’t result in permanent or complete removal of hair. It only affects follicles that are in active growth at the time of treatment, so laser hair removal must be repeated several times to maximize the probability that all follicles will be treated. Still, some follicles may be missed. Additionally, follicles that are growing hair that’s very fine or light in color may not be affected by the laser. The hair may eventually start to grow from the treated follicles again, although it may have different properties (color and texture) when it does so.
A converse risk is that the person will desire for hair to grow in the treated area again, but the laser hair removal may be permanent. For example, a man who has laser hair removal on his face may later wish to grow a beard, but be unable to do so. For this reason, people need to be completely certain that they will never want hair in that area again before they undergo laser hair removal.
It’s common for many people to spend significant amounts of time and money on removing unwanted hair. Shaving, plucking, and waxing all must be done frequently, and the cost of having the service (or of buying the materials to perform it oneself) adds up to be quite significant over time. Women commonly shave or wax the legs, underarms, and bikini line, and often pluck the eyebrows, while men commonly shave the face. For anyone who wants to be free of unwanted hair on a semipermanent (or, sometimes, permanent) basis, laser hair removal offers an escape from the hassle and expense of all of this shaving, plucking, and waxing.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost to have laser hair removal once is $301. This cost varies according to several factors, including the size of the area where laser hair removal will be performed, the region, and the particular clinic. You should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine the exact cost. Keep in mind that financing is often available. For more detail, visit our Laser Hair Removal Cost page.