Laser hair removal guide—your top 8 FAQs answered

Considering laser hair removal? Here are all the facts you need to know to decide if it's right for you

Hair free legs against a pink backdrop
(Image credit: Getty Images )

If you’re ready to get rid of unwanted body hair for good, laser hair removal might be your next step.

Although waxing, shaving, and tweezing (though bear in mind there are some hairs you shouldn't pluck!) might keep your skin silky-smooth temporarily, even the best razors for women don’t offer long-term results. That’s why more and more women are turning to laser hair removal. This method is becoming so popular that by 2026, researchers expect it to become a global market worth nearly $4 billion.

Nobody wants to be left with persistent fuzz but you might be pausing while you figure out if laser hair removal is right for you. If that's the case, we've answered the 8 most pressing questions to help you decide. 

Laser hair removal 101

1. How many laser hair removal sessions do you need?

Contrary to what you might think, laser hair removal doesn’t work in one go. Zapping each and every hair follicle takes a few follow-up appointments.

“We usually have to attend five to six sessions to completely get rid of hair,” says Dr. Ahmad Fayyaz Chaudhry, M.B.B.S., a collaborating dermatologist with Scandinavian Biolabs.

2. Is laser hair removal permanent?

After completing up to six sessions, “Most patients see nearly permanent, if not permanent, results,” explains Dr. Javad Sajan, M.D., of Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery. “Some patients or body areas may necessitate a follow-up treatment every year or so.” 

So, laser hair removal may not be a totally maintenance-free method after all. That said, an annual touch-up sounds pretty reasonable compared to a weekly shaving routine or monthly waxing appointment.

3. How much does laser hair removal cost?

One laser hair removal session can cost between $50 to $300. So that means you’ll need anywhere from $300 to $1,800 to cover the first six sessions. The price will vary based on the area you’re treating, as well as the location and experience level of the provider. 

When making an investment in laser hair removal, prioritize quality over cost. “Make sure to find a qualified provider that has experience in laser hair removal and laser treatments,” suggests Dr. Sajan.

4. Does laser hair removal hurt?

If you have a fairly high pain threshold—for instance, you’re completely comfortable with waxing—laser hair removal may not be as uncomfortable as you might expect. 

Women tend to describe the sensations like little zaps or elastic bands snapping on your skin. Tingling and burning sensations are also fairly common. Some providers will apply a numbing cream to your skin; others use a machine that features a cooling tip that provides immediate relief. 

Either way, a lot of women put up with the temporary discomfort in order to achieve long-lasting results. 

5. Is laser hair removal safe for all skin and hair types?

The laser looks for pigmented hairs so it knows what to target. This means darker and coarser body hairs are great candidates for the removal process. However, very fine and light blonde body hair may not respond so well.

This also means people with a darker complexion, tanned skin, or even a fake tan may face greater risks if their skin type isn’t taken into consideration. Working with experienced providers will make a big difference in terms of safety, suitability and your overall confidence in the process, too.

"The top safety fact lies in visiting your dermatologist before heading toward laser hair removal. The dermatologist will analyze your skin tone and condition and suggest whether this procedure is appropriate for you or not,” says Dr. Chaudhry.

6. On which parts of the body is laser hair removal most effective?

Since thicker and more pigmented hairs are easier to get rid of, laser hair removal isn’t necessarily a head-to-toe solution for everyone. 

“Certain body areas do respond better to laser hair removal treatment than others,” says Dr. Sajan. “The upper lip can be more stubborn, while the armpits may respond especially well. This can also vary based on the individual patient's hair and skin in the treatment areas.” 

So, while you might not be able to eliminate peach fuzz around your face, your bikini area, underarms, and legs could take to this process really well.

7. How to prep for laser hair removal

For laser removal to work, there needs to be some hair remaining—so avoid depilatory creams and waxing ahead of your appointment. However, Dr. Chaudhry says it’s typical you’ll be asked to shave first, “so that blunt hair does not create a problem with the high beam laser.” 

“As we are very much concerned about the sensitivity of the skin, no dermatological preparation—like sunscreen or a skin whitening agent—should be used before the procedure,” he adds. Other things to avoid include excess sun exposure and blood-thinning medications. Your dermatologist will be able to advise on how to prep appropriately ahead of your laser hair removal session.

8. What to do after laser hair removal

You might be tempted to show off your ultra-smooth skin after getting laser hair removal, but you’ll have to wait. Following a session, your skin will be extra sensitive to UV damage. This means you’ll need to wear SPF and reapply it frequently while avoiding direct sun exposure.

Make sure to follow all of your provider’s after-care instructions to keep your skin safe.

Bottom line: Is laser hair removal right for you?

“If a woman is tired of shaving or waxing and wants a more permanent solution, laser hair removal may be the right choice,” says Dr. Sajan. 

Whether you’re all-in or on the fence, he says the best way to make a decision is to “consult with an experienced and knowledgeable professional.” 

woman&home thanks Dr. Ahmad Fayyaz Chaudhry of Scandinavian Biolabs and Dr. Javad Sajan of Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery for their time and expertise.