The most Googled questions about laser hair removal, answered

There’s no denying that unwanted hair on your face or body can be a nuisance. Whether you have tried your hand at shaving, waxing, or even epilating, the process of hair removal is time-consuming and can be costly. But one way to eliminate that stress can be with laser hair removal.

Whether you find manual hair removal a burden, or suffer from issues like ingrown hairs, feeling self-conscious of the dark marks they can cause, a course of laser treatment can be a simple and effective solution. However, there’s lots to think about before you start: from the price to any potential pain.

We asked Joanna Wyszynska, senior consultant at Pulse Light Clinic Fenchurch Street, to answer the most frequently asked questions around laser treatment, according to Google Trends. Here’s everything you need to know.

laser hair removal
Pulse Light Clinic

How does laser hair removal work?

Laser hair removal uses laser light pulses to selectively destroy hair follicles by targeting the melanin (colour) in them. The pigment in the hair follicle absorbs the laser’s light pulse, which damages the follicle enough to significantly stop hair regrowth. It also helps those struggling with ingrown hairs, PCOS and dark pigmentation. You will be asked to shave the area beforehand, and have avoided sun exposure for four weeks before treatment as there is high risk of undesirable pigmentation and skin burns on tanned skin.

Is laser hair removal permanent?

Laser hair removal permanently reduces the hair which grows on a treated area, with its effects lasting between six to twelve months. Each person will show slightly different regrow patterns, and its advised that you go back for top ups twice a year. After treatment, hair grows back much slower and finer.

How much will laser hair removal cost? How many sessions will you need?

Single sessions at Pulse Light cost £65, but with discounted packages you can get start from £210 for eight sessions – which is the recommended amount for effective treatment. If prices are cheaper than this the machines may not be as effective with results and may require more sessions. You should always do your research and read customer reviews before embarking on the process.

How many laser hair removal sessions do you need for legs?

Overall the number of sessions recommended usually varies from six to eight sessions for all areas of the body. Larger areas such as your legs usually have the best results for longevity, so the six to eight sessions are recommended.

How many laser sessions for do you need for the face?

Due to being a hormonal area, facial hair is the most problematic for laser hair removal. Some people may require more maintenance after the eight sessions with the face, but it varies from person to person.

laser hair removal
Pulse Light Clinic

Is laser hair removal safe?

It has been proven that laser hair removal is safe and effective, with no long-term health risks. Depending on your skin type, there can be some minor side effects like hyper pigmentation (especially if you are a person of colour). A clinic should ALWAYS carry out a patch test before you start treatment and after you have had any sun exposure to the areas to see if your skin will have a negative response to the laser – but this is rare. During the treatment you should be given protective eye equipment to prevent laser light affecting your eyes.

Is laser hair removal painful?

Many people report finding the laser to be slightly uncomfortable, but not in any way painful. The sensation is similar to an elastic band pinging on the skin which you only feel when the laser is actually on the skin. Afterwards, the area feels tender and may have bumps and redness for a few days – but this is a good reaction to the laser. It is advised that you avoid any sun exposure and fake tan for at least a week after, and four weeks before a treatment, to make sure it doesn’t damage your skin or your results.

How long does laser hair removal take?

For smaller areas such as the chin, Brazilian bikini, jawline, and underarms, sessions last around 15 minutes. For larger areas such as half arm, Hollywood bikini and half of the face, sessions take around 30 minutes. A full body session would take around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Many people ask the difference between the bikini styles of removal so Pulse Light have created this video.

laser hair removal
Pulse Light Clinic

What is the best laser hair removal machine?

The machine used at Pulse Light Clinic is the Syneron Candela Gentle Max Pro. This laser is known for being less painful than others due to having an intricate cyrogenic cooling system and being extremely quick (four-to-five times faster than a Ruby laser and three times faster than an epilation device). The Syneron Candela Gentle Max Pro is also renowned for being suitable for all skin types and textures.

It is recommended that you attend a clinic rather than do at home hair removal so that your treatment is carried out by professionals, with all the correct safety measures in place. At-home lasers will not have light that is as strong as a professional one, and therefore may not target the hair follicle directly and be less effective.

Feature by Jessica Lawrence