Is Laser Hair Removal Safe For Your Face? Here’s What Science Says

We’ve all heard the saying “put your best face forward,” but sometimes extra hair makes us feel as though our true beautiful best is being hidden.  

Perhaps you’ve tried removing that disagreeable hair in other ways, or perhaps you are only now seeing changes on your face. Laser hair removal may be the solution.

You present yourself to the world face-first; be confident in that presentation.

This article will help you understand what science has to say about the safety of laser hair removal on your face. 

Is Laser Hair Removal Safe In General?

The laser used for hair removal is a medically-appropriate device that emits a concentrated beam of light.

Using laser hair removal technology is a safe way to get rid of unwanted hair. Most people find the procedure to be quick and easily tolerated.

Is laser hair removal good for skin?

It is important to understand how laser hair removal works in order to understand why it does not harm your skin.

Laser hair removal works on hair follicles because the energy from the laser is absorbed by the melanin in the hair.  

  • Melanin is the pigment that gives hair and skin its color; one of its primary duties is to absorb light energy, which helps protect the skin from sun damage.

During a laser hair removal procedure, the melanin in the hair absorbs the laser energy into the hair follicle where it causes damage.  

  • Hair follicles are tiny organs that grow within the second layer of skin; they regulate and grow hair. The human body has many different types of hair. These variations are determined by the follicle and its behavior.

When it is treated with the laser, the damage hinders the hair follicle’s ability to grow hair.

Damaging the hair follicle during laser hair removal does not usually have any side effects. On occasion, the epidermis around the follicle can become irritated and red for a couple of hours after a treatment.  

  • The epidermis is the outer layer of your skin; its primary job is to protect your body from the environment, so it contains the melanin that keeps you protected from the sun’s rays.

Because the energy pulsed from the laser hair removal device is absorbed by melanin, the treatment sometimes varies for people with lighter hair and those with less contrast between their hair and skin pigmentation. Different laser types may be used for better results depending on your skin and hair color. 

On occasion, treatments for people with low contrast – meaning hair and skin color which are similar – have resulted in temporary skin lightening. You can help avoid this by staying out of the sun before and after treatment and following the instructions for your procedure.

What Science Says About Laser Hair Removal Safety

Many studies have been done to analyze both the effectiveness of laser hair removal and its safety. 

A massive study treated 948 patients with laser hair removal over an eight-year period from 1997-2005. Their hair loss was analyzed during treatment, and they were also given follow up evaluations that lasted until 2015.  

The study found laser hair removal to be both effective and safe.

The final report published in October 2019 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine showed that only four of the patients reported minor long-term issues. 

Can You Have Laser Hair Removal On Your Face?

Yes. A laser hair removal face professional will help you decide which troublesome locations are best treated with the laser. 

The most common facial locations for laser hair removal are:

  • upper lip
  • chin
  • beard area
  • eyebrows
  • sideburns

How Is Laser Hair Removal Done On Face?

Laser hair removal on the face works in the same way it does on other parts of the body. In the office, the procedure will generally follow these steps:

  1. You will have a brief consultation to verify what treatment is appropriate, and which locations on your face are to be treated.
  2. Your face will be prepped for the procedure. This may involve using a facial pencil for marking, shaving the current hair, or putting gel on the treatment area.
  3. You will be given eye protection.
  4. The hand-held laser device will be used systematically across the treatment zone.
  5. Your face will be cleaned, and you will be given post-treatment instructions. 

So, can you do laser hair removal on your face?

Yes, and the treatment time is very quick.  Most sessions take 10-15 minutes, with the actual laser treatment lasting only 1-5 minutes. 

How Effective Is Laser Hair Removal For Face?

Laser hair removal is an effective method of removing hair on any part of your body; the number of treatments is dependent on the area treated in addition to your skin and hair type. 

According to that massive study that began in 2005, facial hair was treated to a nearly 80% removal in an average of five treatments. 

But, how is laser hair removal effective on face?  Especially interesting is comparing this effectiveness to other popular hair removal treatments like electrolysis and waxing.

Laser hair removal is more effective than electrolysis or waxing for facial hair.

A study published in 2001 in Dermatologic Surgery systematically compared three hair removal methods in thirty subjects. Hair removal from the face was one body area that the study chose to research using needle electrolysis, hot wax, and laser hair removal.  

The results showed that laser hair removal yielded a significant amount of hair loss after only the first visit, as compared to electrolysis or waxing which showed no notable difference in growth.

How Much Does Laser Hair Removal For Face Cost?

The truth is, laser hair removal with likely cost you less in the long term.  Because the effects typically last longer than other removal methods like waxing or shaving, you will be saving money on repeated visits to the wax salon or expensive razors.

Prices vary per patient and depend on the size of the area you want to treat and how many treatments your particular skin and hair type will take. 

Most people need 6-12 sessions for laser hair removal on face areas to be effective.  Here are average costs nationwide for a single session on a few typical areas:

  • Neck $60 – $125
  • Upper Lip $30-$60
  • Chin $30-$80
  • Sideburns $30-$85

At Bridgetown Aesthetics we offer free consultations for you to get a personalized estimate of costs.

Is Laser Hair Removal Safe For The Face?

Yes, laser hair removal is safe for your face. Temporary side effects have been reported by a small number of patients.

Depending on your skin, you may experience mild redness or swelling for an hour or two after the session. 

On very rare occasions patients experience temporary burning, scabbing, or skin tone change, but these are the exception and your laser professional will provide you with appropriate laser treatments and instructions designed to avoid any side effects with customization for your skin and hair type. 

In the long term, though, is laser hair removal safe for the face? Yes. Scientific studies have found no enduring complications.

Scientific Article 1: Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy

A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy in 2010 focused on laser hair removal for the face and its long term effects on patient lives. 

70 test subjects with facial hair issues were given the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaire prior to receiving laser hair removal on their faces. Those results were then compared with a retake of the DLQI after the patients had three months of laser hair removal treatment on their facial hair.

The final results of the study showed a significant change toward a more positive quality of life and better DLQI scores after test subjects had laser hair removal on their faces.

The DLQI was originally created by scientists at Cardiff University, UK (formerly the University of Wales). It has become the most commonly used scientific instrument for measuring the quality of life for people with skin issues.

The questionnaire evaluates how a skin condition, like excess facial hair, affects a person’s life with questions about lifestyle, symptoms, relationships, work, and treatment.

Scientific Article 2: Lasers in Medical Science

A research paper published in Lasers in Medical Science evaluated the data from previously published studies and articles to evaluate how common side effects of laser hair removal truly were. 

While the goal of the study was to find and evaluate the ill-effects of laser hair removal, the results found that the overall incidence of short-term problems was very low while permanent ramifications were very uncommon.  

Scientific Article 3: Dermatologic Surgery

The medical condition known as Hirsutism is a disorder that affects women and causes excessive male-pattern hair growth in areas like the face, back, and chest. 

Laser hair removal has been studied on women with hirsutism to see how effective the laser treatment is on their unique hair growth, and the results are astounding.  

A study published in 2001 in Dermatologic Surgery evaluated the use of laser hair removal on a group of patients with hirsutism. Their hair loss was evaluated after the first, second, and third laser treatments. In addition, complications and problems were also analyzed at intervals. 

Not only did the patients see a nearly 60% loss of hair growth after only 3 months of treatment, but there were no adverse issues reported. 

Laser hair removal is safe and effective for women suffering from medically excessive facial hair growth, which means it is also safe for your hair removal needs.

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