The ultimate guide to laser hair removal

Guide to Laser Hair Removal


Laser hair removal is known to be one of the longest lasting hair removal treatments. But before you go ahead, there are a lot of factors to consider. From how much laser hair removal costs to how long it lasts for, and from whether it hurts to is it safe, we help you to understand everything you need to know.

Whether you plan to have laser hair removal at home or at a beauty salon, here are the essentials you should know before taking the plunge and booking an appointment. 

How much does laser hair removal cost? 

Although laser treatment is often billed as one of the most effective hair removal procedures available, it comes with a high price tag.

The NHS gives some typical price examples for laser hair removal, although of course this varies according to the treatment area and how many times it will need to be repeated. 

For a small area like the upper lip, one treatment could cost under £100. For a large area like the legs, the cost for just one treatment could be just a little short of £300. 

Prices vary tremendously for laser hair removal based on the area you live in, and the expertise and experience of the therapist. A lot of salons will also offer a discount if you book a block of six treatments.

Is laser hair removal permanent?

One of the usual reasons for choosing laser hair removal over other treatments, such as waxing, concerns longevity. But is laser hair removal a permanent solution?

The NHS says that regular laser hair removal sessions will be required to prevent regrowth. How often these are required varies from one person to the next, and also according to the area of the face or body being treated. 

As a general guideline, facial areas may require monthly treatments, while there may be intervals of six to eight weeks between laser body hair removal sessions.

Though it may last longer than other options, laser hair removal is not guaranteed to free that part of the face or body of hair forever.

Does laser hair removal hurt?

Few hair removal procedures are completely pain-free. Shaving and hair removal creams can cause skin redness, and the same applies to laser hair removal. This can last for a while after treatment.

While a qualified and experienced therapist should be able to minimise the pain caused by laser hair removal, many liken the mild discomfort to short, sharp bursts. If you’re considering it you should be aware that the process is not completely pain-free. .

Does laser hair removal work? 

On the whole and over time, yes. However, laser hair removal is unsuitable for pregnant women for certain skin types. It usually works best on those with dark hair and a pale skin tone. 

Laser hair removal is generally less effective on dark skin. Even those with a tan – or whose hairs have been sun bleached – may find that the effects are reduced. 

Women that suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovaries) might see varying results, and should seek a consultation prior to treatment. 

How long does laser hair removal last? 

The concept behind laser hair removal is that the hairs become softer and finer with repeated treatments. This makes the hair less noticeable. Where treatments are repeated, growth should gradually slow down over time.  

Is laser hair removal safe?

In the hands of an experienced practitioner, laser hair treatment should be safe, but the onus is on the client to check their chosen therapist has appropriate training, qualifications, experience and insurance. 

The NHS says there is no quantifiable link between laser hair treatment and skin cancer. 

How does laser hair removal work? 

The area of skin to be treated should be shaved so it’s as free of hair as possible. Goggles are worn, to protect the patient’s eyes. A therapist will then apply a cooling spray or gel to the treatment area before directing the laser via a handheld device. 

Some who have had laser hair removal compare the sensation to the skin being snapped by an elastic band. Each session can take as little as 15 minutes, or last for more than an hour, depending on what you are having lasered.

Laser hair removal works by using intense pulsed light or a powerful laser to heat the skin’s hair follicles. This will disrupt hair growth if the follicles are destroyed.  

It takes more than one treatment to stop growth because every individual hair follicle should be lasered at the same point of the growth cycle. As a general guideline, six to eight sessions will be required at monthly intervals. 

What are common laser hair removal side effects?

The NHS lists potential laser hair removal side effects as discomfort, pain and skin tenderness or redness, as well as swelling, bruising, blistering or crusting of the skin.

Longer term implications in some rare cases can include the permanent darkening or lightening of skin tone, heat burns, bacterial infections, and even scarring. 

Sunlight exposure should be avoided for four weeks after treatment, as this can exacerbate symptoms and your skin will be more sensitive.

The pros of laser hair removal

When successful, laser hair removal can provide longer term results than other treatments like shaving, hair removal formulas, sugaring, and waxing. 

People who don’t need to shave may enjoy hairless skin free from the irritation, nicks, cuts and ingrown hairs that the use of a razor can sometimes cause. 

Because hairs are removed from beneath the skin’s surface, this form of hair removal tends to last for longer. Following a course of treatment, some may not experience hair regrowth for a number of years. 

Where regrowth does occur, the hairs may be finer and therefore less noticeable than they were prior to treatment. 

The cons of laser hair removal

In many cases, laser hair removal outperforms other methods of hair removal. However it does have limitations.

It takes a series of costly treatments spread out over a period of time to free the area of all hair follicles. While this is taking place hair growth will still occur. Most of this may be untreated hair, but regrowth can also happen. 

Facial laser hair removal is not normally permanent, and annual top-up treatments may be required – even for successful cases.  

What are the alternatives to laser hair removal?

Although laser hair removal can be successful for some, it is a very costly and time-consuming course of treatment that should not be undertaken lightly.

One of the safest, more affordable, and long-lasting alternatives to laser hair removal is professional waxing. 

Secret Spa expert therapists can carry out waxing in your very own home. This is a much more affordable treatment option that results in long-lasting and super soft skin.