Debunking Myths About Laser Hair Removal

Cosmetic Dermatologist Serving Beverly Hills, Larchmont & surrounding areas of Los Angeles


Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to get rid of hair growth on your legs, face, underarms and other areas, but there are several myths surrounding this innovative treatment. Men and women both struggle with shaving and waxing, which is often time-consuming and painful. Many of our Los Angeles and Beverly Hills patients come to us with misconceptions about what laser hair removal can and can’t do. Most of the myths have little to no reasoning behind them but are passed from person to person as fact. Our board-certified cosmetic dermatologist is available to answer your hair removal questions.

Some of the most common misconceptions we hear are:

1.    Laser Hair Removal Doesn’t Work on My Skin Tone or Hair Color

The initial release of laser hair removal systems worked best on light skin tones with dark hair growth, but advancing technology has made it possible for nearly any skin tone or hair color to benefit from the laser treatments. The high-quality lasers we use can target hair pigments that were previously difficult to get rid of. However, this myth does have some truth behind it if you have red, white or gray hair because those hair follicles don’t contain the pigment targeted by the laser. A similar myth is that African American men and women don’t qualify for laser hair removal—this is far from the truth, though darker skin tones may require higher laser strength and more treatment sessions.

2.    Laser Hair Removal is Painful and Burns

Most of our patients liken the feeling of laser hair removal to a pinprick or snapping rubber band. There are individuals who may be more sensitive to pain than others, but even so, the laser treatments are far, far less painful than waxing. The laser treatments don’t cause burns either. The FDA has approved several laser systems to get rid of unwanted hair, and as long as your dermatologist is using an FDA-accredited system, you shouldn’t experience skin burns. However, the laser will have to skip over any tattoos you have in the area as it can interfere with the look and feel of the tattoo.

3.    Laser Hair Removal Gets Rid of All Hair Forever in One Treatment

These are several myths combined into one. Your hair grows in three phases, which means you’ll need at least three laser treatments to target the hair follicles during their growth phase. Second, some patients may achieve an 80 percent reduction in hair while others may reach only 40 percent. The remaining hair will be thinner than before and feel “fuzzy” instead of rigid. The treated hair follicles will be gone, but as you age, your hair grows differently, and you may develop patches of hair that were previously hair-free.

The amount of hair reduction is dependent on many factors including:

  • Number of treatments
  • Hair type
  • Hair width
  • Thickness of the hair
  • Types of laser system used
  • Frequency of the laser energy
  • Skill and experience of the practitioner

These are just three of many myths surrounding laser hair removal, and if you’ve fallen for them, you’re missing out on the numerous benefits including a wax-free lifestyle.

If you’re interested in laser hair removal, please contact Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD in Los Angeles today at 323-464-8046to schedule your consultation. Our board-certified dermatologist serves clients in Los Angeles, Larchmont, and Beverly Hills, California.