Does Laser Hair Removal Treatment Really Work?

Is Laser Hair Removal Effective?

Is Laser Hair Removal Effective? Yes — Under the Right Conditions

These days, many people (especially women) spend a small fortune on beauty and cosmetic treatments. Often, they throw their money away on treatments and products that don’t do what they promise.

You can (and probably will) spend a lot of money on laser hair removal but under the right conditions it will permanently remove your unwanted hair.

How Laser Hair Removal Treatment Works

Laser hair removal involves focusing a laser on the hair follicles in the skin. The thermal energy in the laser works on the base of the hair follicle to damage it enough so that the hair falls out. Hairs will find it difficult to grow again, making it a long-term solution.

The melanin, which gives dark hairs their color, provides an efficient pathway for the laser, guiding and focusing it so that it reaches the base and causes damage to the follicle.

Laser Hair Removal Effectiveness

Laser hair removal will work effectively under the following conditions:

  • Effectiveness Depends on Skin type.
    Do you have pale skin and dark hair? Laser hair removal tends to work best on pale skin types, although newer lasers exist to target people with darker skin1.
  • Effectiveness Depends on the Type of laser used.
    A type of laser called “Intense Pulsed Light,” or IPL can effectively remove hair if you have the right type of skin and hair.  While other types of lasers can account for skin and hair type, an IPL type of laser will not and will therefore fail to remove hair for certain types of people. People also report less comfort2 with IPL type lasers.
  • Effectiveness Can Depend on Number of sessions.
    Because hair grows in cycles, it may take many sessions to remove all the desired hair.
  • Avoid Cheap Treatments.
    Many clinics run bargain price offers and discounts, but these aren’t always effective or safe. Avoid ‘too good to be true’ offers or you could end up with a bad treatment or even skin scarring.

A look into laser hair removal by Alexandra Gibson* on behalf of London Medical Aesthetic Centre Ltd

© 2012, John Frank, M.D., Last update: Jul 1, 2012

*Note that we occasionally invite guest writers to contribute what we feel is useful information for our readers. However, unless explicitly stated, these guest writers, while experts in their area of the products and services they offer, are not in themselves medically trained professionals.


1. Laser-assisted hair removal for darker skin types. Battle EF Jr, Hobbs LM. Dermatol Ther. 2004;17(2):177-83.
2. Removing Hair Safely. FDA, Consumer Updates, June 30, 2010. This FDA article doesn’t specifically address IPL types of lasers but it does suggest the types of discomforts that may be greater with IPL than with other types of lasers.