As a cosmetic procedure, laser hair removal has been popular since 1998, providing a long-term alternative to costly and time-consuming methods like waxing, shaving, or electrolysis. In the intervening years, laser hair removal technology has improved dramatically, so you may be curious about whether or not you’re a candidate.

How it Works

When dermatologists recommend laser hair removal to their patients, they take a variety of factors into account. Laser hair removal uses a pulsating light laser to target the hair’s melanin, the pigment that gives it color. This breaks down the hair follicles without causing skin damage. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not a person is a good candidate for this procedure, including their skin and hair type. Pregnant or lactating women are advised not to undergo treatment at this time.

Types of Hair

People with dark, coarse hair are the best candidates for an effective laser treatment. Those with pale or thin hair may not be good candidates for the procedure, although recent advances in laser technology allow for some lighter hair tones to be successfully treated. Unfortunately, finer hair and blond hair still can’t be easily targeted by lasers because they lack a high amount of melanin, and so are not treated by this method.

Skin Tone

For people with darker skin or those who tend to tan easily, laser hair removal can be difficult. Laser hair removal works best when the hair contrasts with the skin, which is why dark hair against fair skin is ideal. Recent laser technology advancements, on the other hand, allow for less contrast between hair and skin tone, and dermatologists often decide on these cases individually.

Treatment Area

Another factor to consider is the area of treatment. This method of hair removal works best for large areas such as legs, arms, chest, back, and underarms. Facial hair and bikini areas occasionally do well with laser treatment too, though much depends on the shape of the patient’s body. The procedure is best utilized on large patches of hair instead of small patches or stray hair. It should not be used near the eyes, such as eyebrows.

How Long Does It Take?

Because each patient’s treatment is unique, it’s difficult to say how long treatment will take in advance. How long and how many treatments a person needs may be different from person to person. Hair on the body grows at a different rate depending on where it is in its life cycle, so some areas may take longer than others to complete the process. Between four and eight sessions a month are typical, lasting anywhere from ten minutes to an hour each.


The ideal candidate for laser hair removal is someone who has fair skin and dark, coarse hair, but if you do not, don’t rule it out completely. The treatment typically results in permanent hair removal. However, if the hair does grow back, it tends to be finer and more easily removed with a follow-up procedure. If you want to know if laser treatments are right for you contact the laser technicians at Mosharrafa Plastic Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona for a free consultation.

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A breast cancer diagnosis is overwhelming in so many ways. There are a lot of emotions. Dr. Ali Mosharrafa and his entire staff put me at ease at every step. After surgery, I was very self conscious, and the way I was treated with each visit helped me as much as the excellent medical care. Whether it is for an elective procedure or a surgery due to illness, I cannot endorse Dr. Ali more as a physician and human. 

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