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Is Laser Hair Removal Safe? Everything You Need to Know

Is laser hair removal safe?

Laser hair removal can be a safe way to treat unwanted hair and get permanent hair reduction. Various clinical studies have confirmed the safety of laser hair removal and IPL hair removal at home or in a salon environment, and there is no link to causing skin cancer. But, side effects are possible, and for some skin tones, laser hair removal is not safe to do.

Above all, it's essential that you follow the correct clinical advice for your hair and skin types, plus understand the various cautions around laser hair removal safety.

Whether you're looking to do home laser hair removal, or begin a course of laser hair removal at a clinic or salon, your safety matters more than anything else. Never embark on laser or IPL hair removal without ensuring that you'll be doing so in a safe manner.

In this guide, we'll talk you through everything you need to understand about the safety of laser and IPL hair removal. HAIRemove is independent and impartial – we aren't here to push you into a decision, but to arm you with the right facts. In this guide, we'll be citing reputable studies on laser hair removal and linking to sources of further information along the way. But, when it comes to you and your skin, the most important thing is to get tailored expert advice before you begin laser hair removal. Insist on a thorough consultation before starting a course of clinical treatments, and consider speaking to your doctor before using a home device.

In this guide:

Is laser hair removal safe?

Numerous clinical studies have concluded that laser hair removal is a safe procedure – done correctly, it can indeed lead to a permanent reduction in the number of hairs in a treated area. But, skin and hair types vary, and what's safe for fair skin will not be safe for dark skin. Equally, there are different types of laser used in laser hair removal, and various strands of research have been conducted to determine their respective safety and efficacy.

With a responsible laser hair removal clinician, you'll be given a full consultation and, typically, a free spot-test to determine the suitability of your own skin for laser hair removal.

With home laser hair removal devices, the control is in your own hands – making it even more important that you understand the safety considerations before you get started, and that you follow the manufacturer guidelines when you begin.

Additional considerations for laser hair removal safety

The key question, of course, is "is laser hair removal safe for you?" To answer that, you must first factor in a few additional questions:

  • What is your skin tone? (on the Fitzpatrick scale, Type I is considered palest; Type VI the darkest tone)

  • What is the colour of the hair you are treating?

  • What area of your body are you seeking to treat?

  • Are you considering a home laser hair removal / IPL machine treatment, or a clinical treatment at a salon or specialist treatment centre?

  • Have you recently been on holiday recently and tanned, or used a tanning bed?

  • Do you have any existing skin conditions?

  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?

We're going to talk through each of these scenarios in greater detail in the guide, below. But, hopefully from even a quick glance along that list, you'll understand that laser hair removal safety isn't a one-size-fits-all situation.

Side effects of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal can have side effects. The majority of these are temporary and likely to cause no great discomfort, but there are less common side effects to be aware of, too.

Common side effects of laser hair removal:

  • Redness of the skin, which typically fades shortly after treatment

  • A warm feeling on the skin

  • Mild pain, or sensitivity of the treated area to light, heat or touch

Less common side effects of laser hair removal

  • Discolouration or changes to the skin's pigment (non-permanent)

  • Temporary scarring, bruising or crusting of the skin's surface

  • Burns from the heat of the laser

Rare side effects of laser hair removal

  • Induction or aggravation of acne

  • Skin rash such as rosacea

  • More severe burns of treated areas (darker skin can be more at risk)

  • Stimulation of hair growth in dormant hair follicles

Various studies into the safety of laser hair removal have identified that side effects such as the above are possible. For instance, some of the rarer side effects were identified in a clinical study at Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. In this study, laser hair removal treatments were conducted on the facial areas of 250 female test subjects observed many of the more common side effects, such as short term changes in pigmentation. But, less common side effects were observed among test subjects, too, including stimulation of acne and, in some cases, stimulation of further hair growth (Citation: Uncommonly reported side effects of hair removal by long pulsed-alexandrite laser by Ahmad I Rasheed).

Reading through the above list of side effects may feel pretty daunting. We're not aiming to put you off of laser hair removal by any means, but it is essential to be aware of any risks before you attempt a course of treatment.

A qualified laser hair removal technician will be able to talk you through the risks and potential side effects of conducting treatment on your desired area. Of particular importance is your skin tone, and the sensitivity of the skin in the area being treated. For instance, laser hair removal on fair-skinned legs is a very different prospect to treatment of an olive skinned upper-lip area.

With clinical treatments, you are likely to be offered a spot test as part of your consultation. This is typically free, and is an essential safety measure to understand how your skin will respond to laser hair removal.

If you are seeking to do home laser hair removal with a device you've purchased yourself, then we would still recommend speaking to a clinician or to your own doctor, particularly if you have darker skin. Read any safety instructions provided with the device thoroughly. Usually, these manuals are freely available as downloadable PDFs from the manufacturer websites, so you can research before you buy.

Is IPL hair removal safe?

IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal can be a safe way to achieve permanent hair reduction, and can have fewer reported side effects than laser hair removal. Most home "laser" hair removal devices are, in fact, IPL machines, and all reputable ones are tested and deemed safe for home use.

IPL is a different technology to laser hair removal, though on the surface, it operates on some reasonably similar principles. The intense flash of light creates heat that is absorbed by the hair follicle, causing damage to its growth cycle. However, just as with laser hair removal, this can present a risk of skin burns for users with darker skin tones, or even fair-skinned users who have recently suntanned.

The good news is that clinical studies have observed that IPL treatment can be both safe and effective.

One such study was titled, "Comparison of hair removal efficacy and side effect of neodymium:Yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser and intense pulsed light systems (18-month follow-up)" (Georgina Zita Szima, Eszter Anna Janka, Anikó Kovács, Blanka Bortély, Edina Bodnár, Irina Sawhney, Éva Szabó, Éva Remenyik – Citation). It found reassuring observations regarding the pain score and side effects of IPL treatments:

"There was statistically lower pain score on the IPL-treated side and statistically higher erythema, burning sensation, and edema on the Nd:YAG-treated side. Statistically lower side effect score was observed on the IPL-treated side." – Citation

Just to explain some of those medical terms – erythema means redness around the base of the hair follicle, visible at the skin; edema means redness with minor swelling.

In short, the study found that while IPL and laser hair removal had near-identical efficacy when it came to actual hair reduction, IPL had fewer side effects and higher patient satisfaction scores.

Are home laser and IPL hair removal machines safe?

Home laser and IPL machines that are on sale to consumers are rated are safe to use, and those sold by known brands have been approved by consumer and medical bodies. But, when it comes to home hair removal machines, there are three main safety considerations:

  1. Are they safe for your skin?

  2. Do they offer protection for your eyes?

  3. Are they from reliable manufacturers?

We'll tackle each of these considerations in turn, but first, a note. For the most part, we will be discussing IPL devices, rather than laser. Home laser hair removal machines are increasingly popular, though, in fact, very few of them are true "laser" hair removal devices. Nearly all are in fact IPL machines, delivering a controlled flash of light that heats the hair follicle to disrupt its growth cycle.

Are home IPL machines safe for your skin?

Studies have found that home IPL machines can safely be used without causing dangerous side effects on your skin. There is a caveat, here, which is that darker skinned users (those who are Types V-VI on the Fitzpatrick Scale) are warned against using home IPL or laser devices – the risk of skin burns is much higher (see our guide to laser and IPL for dark skin tones, below).

For those with lighter skin tones, clinical studies find reassuring results around the safety of home IPL devices.

An insightful study, "Clinical Evaluation of a Novel Intense Pulsed Light Source for Facial Skin Hair Removal for Home Use" (Michael H. Gold, MD, Julie A. Biron, BSc and Brynne Thompson, RN, CCRP – Citation) found no adverse results following a clinical course of IPL treatments on 15 female subjects who conducted six controlled IPL treatments on facial areas. Results were observed throughout and in two follow-up studies. In this evaluation:

  • 13 of the subjects had skin Type III (olive) and 2 had Type IV (light brown)

  • Treatment zones were on the cheek, above upper lip, or below the lower lip

  • Post-treatment care included the application of a moisturizer cream to the treated area, and the patients were instructed to protect the treated areas from the sunlight for a minimum of two days following the light-based treatment.

The study found two positive outcomes. The first, regarding the effectiveness of the treatments – and average 78.1% reduction was observed three months after the final treatment. The second, regarding the safety of these devices:

"No adverse or serious adverse events were noted from the study. Mild perifollicular erythema and edema occurred in all patients and resolved within a day of treatment." – Clinical Evaluation of a Novel Intense Pulsed Light Source for Facial Skin Hair Removal for Home Use

"No adverse or serious adverse events" certainly sounds like good news, but let's take a moment to explain those more technical medical observations from this study. Perifocullar erythema means redness around the base of the hair follicle, visible at the skin. Perifollicular edema means redness with minor swelling (in practice, this can look a little like acne). Within this study, both were observed as a result of home IPL device use, but the effects were – reassuringly – mild and temporary.

Are home IPL machines safe for your eyes?

Home IPL machines present a serious risk to your eyes, and every precaution must be taken to avoid flashing the light source near to your eyes, or otherwise exposing your eyes to the light window when in use. To keep yourself safe when using a home IPL machine:

  • Never attempt to treat areas close to your eyes, such as the upper cheekbone or between the eyebrows

  • Carefully read all safety and user guides supplied with your machine

  • Choose a machine that has safety and auto-shutoff mechanisms that detect if the light panel is no longer fully in contact with your skin

  • Do not conduct home IPL sessions with others close to you, especially if young children are in the room

Some home IPL machine manufacturers will bundle in small darkened glasses along with their devices, and recommend wearing these throughout treatment. While these are a "nice to have", they should not be used as an excuse to partake in riskier treatments, such as areas close to the eyes. Speak to a professional clinician if this is an area you wish to treat.

A helpful study, "Are home-use intense pulsed light (IPL) devices safe?" (Godfrey Town, Caerwyn Ash – Citation) neatly summarises the tightrope that IPL device manufacturers must walk. It observes that these devices must be "easy to use without training, and most importantly, clinically effective while being eye-safe".

The study notes that there are no dedicated international standards for IPL devices. It examined three branded devices from international manufacturers – the iPulse Personal, Silk'n/SensEpil, and SatinLux/Lumea. It found that:

"The measured output parameters were significantly different for the three systems. Using equipment traceable to national standards, one device was judged at its two highest settings to be hazardous for naked eye viewing."

The best home IPL machines – including the three evaluated in the above study – come with auto-shutoff mechanisms that detect if the light panel has stopped touching the entirety of the skin. If it detects that a dangerous amount of light could escape, then the light pulse will not fire at all.

Even with this failsafe in place, all due care must be taken to protect your eyes when using a home IPL device.

Choosing a safe brand of home IPL machine

Not all home IPL machines are created equal. While you'll spot devices on sale from known brands such as Braun and Philips, plus brands with high visibility in this market, such as Tria and Silk'n, there are also a great many "unbranded" or obscure-branded home IPL machines.

You'll frequently come across these when browsing for home laser hair removal devices on Amazon or Ebay. They may have no brand name at all, and may simply be referred to as "IPL Hair Removal Device". Prices will typically be far lower than those for Braun or Philips products, for example.

We do not recommend purchasing such products.

There is a reason you won't find them on sale at more prominent high street retailers, or their websites, such as Boots or John Lewis. Such brands have transparent supply relationships with reliable brands whose products must meet strict safety criteria.

While it is possible these products have completed strict safety assessments, their murky origins mean they're a much riskier purchase. Our recommendation is to spend more on a known brand name that gives full transparency over the safety protocols followed and the approvals its products have received.

Can laser hair removal cause skin burns?

There is also a risk of skin burns with IPL, particularly if the incorrect settings for your skin tone are used. A study into Lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) association with cancerous lesions found that:

"Adverse effects of IPL treatments have been well documented; these include blistering, hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation and if extensive, even scarring" – Citation

Just to explain, hypopigmentation is typically a temporary matter, most usually a short-term reddening of the skin. Hyperpigmenation, however, is more troubling, and can have the effect of long term or even permanent scarring.

Again, the study emphasises that a majority of observed cases of burning or similar side effects occur "due to incorrect parameters being selected for the treatment based on the application and patient’s skin colour or ethnicity." That's why it's essential to speak to a clinician who will understand the correct course of treatment for your skin type. If you're using a home device, ensure you follow the recommended settings for your skin tone and observe any warnings against use on darker skin.

Does laser hair removal cause cancer?

There is no evidence that laser hair removal or IPL treatments can cause cancer, including skin cancer. The technologies have existed for over two decades, and no link to cancer risk has been established, though any longer term observation is not possible beyond this time frame.

Most importantly, laser hair removal does not use the same ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths as those found in sunlight (UVA and UVB), which are known to cause skin cancer. Laser and IPL systems all utilise non-ionising radiation; this type of energy does not affect the DNA strands and is not linked to cancer.

Let's refer to a helpful study titled "Lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) association with cancerous lesions" (Caerwyn Ash, Godfrey Town, Rebecca Whittall, Louise Tooze, and Jaymie Phillips – Citation). As well as investigating and explaining the technology being used by both systems, it offers a literature review of other studies into their safety. Its observation is stark:

"Since 1995, the PubMed database contains references for close to 500 peer-reviewed publications detailing experiences with IPL devices in the professional arena. The evidence base consists of over 20 years’ worth of publications and studies were performed with a wide variety of IPL systems and parameters and, to date, there has been no indication that repeated exposure or cumulative adverse events may lead to potential long-term risks."

Regarding the technology behind IPL treatments, the study observes that:

"IPL-based technology is generally considered a safe procedure, as potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation is typically filtered by blocking wavelengths below 500 nm" – Citation

Some caveats remain, however. For example, the Australian Cancer Council notes that, while no long-term effects of laser hair removal, including the increased risk of cancer, have been observed, some researchers have observed effects on atypical moles on the skin following laser treatment. The Cancer Council recommends users with atypical moles, or a family history of skin cancer, proceed cautiously before beginning a course of laser hair removal.

As before, our advice remains to speak to a qualified clinician or your doctor, if you have any doubts about the safety of your skin.

Is laser hair removal safe for dark skin?

laser hair removal for dark skin

Laser hair removal is safe on dark olive to medium brown skin tones (type III to IV on the Fitzpatrick scale), but it is more difficult for people with dark brown to black skin tones (types V and VI).

A clinical specialist will be able to advise you of your own suitability for treatment, and modern laser machines are more able to vary their intensity to be safe for use on darker skin (though the weaker strength may mean more sessions are needed to have effect).

However, most home laser and IPL machines recommend against use on darker skin tones.

To help you make an informed decision, we've gathered some key information, below:

What skin tone do you have?

If you begin looking into laser hair removal treatments (either with a home machine or at a clinic), you may quite soon come across something called the Fitzpatrick scale. This is used for defining the skin tone:

skin colour on the Fitzpatrick scale

Why is laser hair removal difficult on darker skin?

In the simplest terms, for laser hair removal to be effective, you need the light of the laser to target the hair follicle, and not the skin around it. This light is absorbed by dark hair – turning into heat, which disrupts the follicle's growth cycles. Unfortunately, the light and heat can also be absorbed by dark skin, making it more challenging (though not impossible) for darker skinned individuals to benefit from laser hair removal and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments.

If you have type V-VI skin tone, laser hair removal isn't impossible. But, you need to consult a qualified clinician

When it comes to laser and IPL hair removal, light skin and dark hair is the "ideal" combination for higher chances of successful treatment. This contrast allows the laser or IPL treatment to target higher levels of light and heat into the dark hair follicle, without the risk of melanin in the skin absorbing it instead. Frustratingly, though, this same logic can leave individuals with darker skin and darker hair with less opportunity to enjoy the benefits of laser hair removal.

With higher melanin levels in the skin, there's a higher chance of the skin absorbing the light and heat from the laser. This can cause greater discomfort, and even pain and burning.

With higher melanin levels in the skin, there's a higher chance of the skin absorbing the light and heat from the laser. This can cause greater discomfort, and even pain and burning.

If you have type V-VI skin tone, laser hair removal isn't impossible. But, you need to consult a qualified clinician who will be able to understand the skin tone in the areas you wish to treat, and explain if their equipment has settings that will give you a safe but effective treatment. They can also explain how many treatments you may need (with weaker laser settings, more may be required) and the associated costs you can expect.

What research has been done into laser hair removal on dark skin?

Clinical studies have found that laser hair removal and IPL hair removal are possible on dark brown to black skin. The studies monitored participants for discomfort, side effects and overall efficacy of the treatments.

An Egyptian study by S.A. Ismail titled Long‐pulsed Nd:YAG laser vs. intense pulsed light for hair removal in dark skin (Citation) examined the responses of 39 female participants with types IV-VI skin (medium brown, dark brown and black). In the study, "higher pain scores and more inflammation were reported" with the laser device than with the IPL device. But, the laser treatment still scored more highly for efficacy and likelihood to recommend – laser hair removal was preferred to IPL by 74% of participants.

The Ismail study concludes that dark skin can be treated safely and effectively by laser hair removal devices. IPL was similarly deemed to be safe, though viewed as less effective.

In the encouragingly-titled study, Alexandrite laser hair removal is safe for Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI by C Garcia, H Alamoudi, M Nakib and S Zimmo, 150 dark skinned patients were included in the testing. Complications were observed in only 2% of cases (Citation).

However, an additional academic evaluation of this study notes that numerous extra safety precautions and preventative measures were in place: "Patients were instructed to practice rigorous sun protection before and after treatment, were pretreated with hydroquinone and glycolic acid, and were given post laser topical corticosteroids. During treatments, direct thermal tissue damage was minimized through determination of the minimal fluence parameter that would provoke mild perifollicular erythema, appropriate selection of an epidermal cooling device, and avoidance of overlapping pulses." These protections may, collectively, present safest possible conditions for laser hair removal on dark skin, but they may be "impractical for the average patient", the academic evaluation observes.

Indeed, the above findings stand up only for professional treatment machines utilised by a trained clinician. Home laser devices are not recommended for use on dark brown to black skin tones (see more, below).

If you're seeking laser hair removal from a professional clinician, it's not just the quality of the laser itself that stands above that of home laser hair removal devices. Additional cooling and safety measures can make professional-grade treatment less painful for those with darker skin.

Cooling of the skin can make a potentially painful laser hair removal treatment more comfortable for the patient. But, this isn't a magic bullet for making laser treatment safe. One study in Thailand even found that postinflammatory hyperpigmentation can increase when laser hair removal is combined with cooling (Citation)

An alternative pain relief to make laser hair removal more comfortable is known as is pneumatic skin flattening (PSF). This "activates tactile and pressure skin receptors just before the laser shot to naturally block the transmission of pain to the brain while the laser is activated". A study of the efficacy of PSF on 28 patients with darker skin tones (IV-VI) found that PSF considerably reduced reported pain and preserved the efficacy of laser hair removal on dark skin (Hair removal on dark-skinned patients with pneumatic skin flattening (PSF) and a high-energy Nd:YAG laser, Nathalie Fournier – Citation).

Above all, expert calibration of the laser device is still required, even with additional cooling or PSF, in order to make the treatment safe for patients with darker skin tones. That's why it's essential to deal with an expert, and why darker skinned individuals are not recommended to use home laser hair removal devices.

Can you use home laser hair removal machines if you have dark skin?

Most home laser hair removal and IPL machines are not recommended for use on the darkest skin tones (types V and VI). Manufacturers typically advise against this in the product manuals, but also on the marketing and websites for the product lines.

Most home "laser" hair removal devices are in fact IPL (intense pulsed light) technology. This is rather different to laser, though works to similar principles. Light is emitted, which is absorbed by the hair follicle as heat, causing disruption to the growth cycle of the hair over several treatments. Just as with laser hair removal, though, the risk with darker skin is that the skin, and not the hair, absorbs the light.

This can result in higher risks of discomfort and pain, as well as discolouration or even burning of the skin.

Home IPL machines typically allow users to select weaker settings, to make them safer for use on darker skin tones. However, these settings are typically recommended for skin no darker than medium brown (type IV on the Fitzpatrick scale).

Of all the home "laser" hair removal devices on the market, there is only one which is true laser, as opposed to IPL. This is from the brand Tria, and a study has found it to be higher risk for those with dark brown to black skin tones.

In the study by Ronald G. Wheeland (Citation), it was found the home Tria device "induced blisters in 8% (1/12) of users with skin type V and 33% (10/30) of users with skin type VI".

If you have dark brown to black skin, laser hair removal may still be possible for you. But, it's not recommended that you attempt to do this yourself with a home machine. Your skin is particularly vulnerable to side effects from the treatment, so your best course of action is to speak to a clinical expert who can recommend the safest course of treatment. Professional-grade laser machines have a greater degree of customised control, too, making it more likely that a clinician can select the correct settings for your safe treatment.

laser hair removal while pregnant

Is laser hair removal safe during pregnancy?

Laser hair removal is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Laser hair removal clinics will typically discourage pregnant customers from beginning a course of treatment. Home laser hair removal and IPL device manufacturers typically warn pregnant women not to attempt to use their products:

"Never use the device if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as the device was not tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women." – Philips Lumea Prestige user manual
"DO NOT use if you are pregnant, lactating, as this device has not been tested with these individuals." – Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 user manual
"Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing." – Silk'n Infinity user manual

You'll see these same warnings play out across all home laser hair removal and IPL devices, as none of the major manufacturers recommend that pregnant or nursing women attempt to use their products.

Understandably, there's a big difference between wanting to do laser hair removal on your legs as a pregnant woman, and wanting to treat your bikini line and lower abdomen. The associated risks to your unborn child might seem utterly different in these scenarios. Yet, the manufacturers of laser and IPL devices make no distinction between such usage scenarios, giving a blanket "no go" statement to any pregnant would-be users.

Is there any research into laser hair removal while pregnant?

Put simply, there is little to no research into the safety and suitability of laser hair removal devices on pregnant women. See those nearly identical warnings from Philips and Braun above? They state, "this device has not been tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women."

There is, of course, a big difference between something being tested on a group and deemed unsafe as a result of clinical findings, and something being untested and thus not possible to be defined as safe.

Few clinical studies take on the ethical minefield of attempting to prove or disprove safety, given the understandable risk of testing on pregnant participants.

Time and again, pregnant women looking for empirical data to help them make an informed decision will come up against this frustrating catch-22. We all want to know with certainty that a product, process or treatment is safe for pregnant women. Yet, few clinical studies take on the ethical minefield of attempting to prove or disprove safety, given the understandable risk of testing on pregnant participants.

For further reading into this topic, you'll find few more engaging discourses than the book Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know, by economist Dr Emily Oster. Covering topics as diverse as the safety or otherwise of enjoying the occasional cup of coffee, to the decision-making around whether or not to choose to have an epidural during labour, Oster translates the actual available data – and frequently decries its absence – to help readers make informed personal choices.

"The key to good decision making is evaluating the available information - the data - and combining it with your own estimates of pluses and minuses. As an economist, I do this every day." – Dr Emily Oster, author of Expecting Better

So, in the absence of any clinical studies into the safety of laser hair removal while pregnant, what options does a pregnant woman have for the kind of good decision making Dr Oster champions?

Say it with us, now – speak to an expert.

Discuss the type of treatment you are hoping to do with a qualified clinician, while informing them of your pregnancy and any associated health conditions you may have. Speak also with your own doctor or midwife, if you need any additional information. You're quite likely to be discouraged from conducting laser hair removal treatments while pregnant. Even if any one party from the above tells you "it should be fine", treat the advice with all due caution and get a further expert opinion.

Is laser hair removal safe for men?

Laser hair removal for men can be a safe way to reduce unwanted hair. Both laser hair removal and IPL hair removal for men have the same safety considerations as they do for women – that's to say, darker skin tones need more careful treatment, and men shouldn't conduct laser hair removal shortly after a sunny holiday or after use of a tanning bed.

But, there are some additional considerations for men when it comes to laser hair removal. These come down to the density and coarseness of the hair being treated, and which areas are being targeted. Yes, guys, we're talking down there... But first, let's start a little higher up:

Can you do laser hair removal on the face and beard?

Laser hair removal around the male face, beard and neck can be more challenging – this is due to the coarseness and density of the hair, combined with the sensitivity of the skin.

Most home laser hair removal (or home IPL) machines caution against attempting use on the male beard area and face. The risk is that it can cause more extreme pain and discomfort, and potentially lead to soreness and redness.

Additionally, treating the beard line higher on your face, around the cheekbones, brings you dangerously close to your eyes. You must never use a home laser hair removal or IPL device near your eyes – the risk is far too great.

If you're hoping to achieve permanent hair removal around the beard and on your face, then you must speak to a qualified clinician first. This isn't the sort of endeavour to attempt at home, and don't be tempted by the potential cost savings of choosing a home IPL machine. Speak to a professional and you'll receive the right advice – if your treatment is considered safe to do, then you'll be recommended a course of treatments over a period of weeks and months. The safety for your skin and eyes will be fully considered, and you'll be advised of any potential pain and discomfort. You will likely be offered a spot-test on a small treatment area, letting both you and the clinician understand the comfort levels and potential after-effects.

Can men do laser hair removal safely around the genital area?

Home laser hair removal and IPL devices are not recommended for treatment around the male genital area and perianal area.

This is due to the added sensitivity of skin in this region, and the darker pigment of skin on the scrotum and perianal area, as well as the more significant coarseness and density of the pubic hair. You can safely treat hair around the "bikini line" (Speedo line?), but you may need to factor in greater discomfort from the treatment.

In simple terms, darker skin needs greater care. The typical combination around the male genital area is darker skin pigment and extremely coarse, dense hair. This makes for a highly risky area to attempt home laser hair removal on – not helped by the fact you may struggle to accurately target hard-to-reach areas by yourself.

But, what about seeking a professional treatment at a laser hair removal salon or clinic? Understandably, this is a highly personal treatment, but don't let potential embarrassment put you off. A qualified clinician is a professional, after all, and will typically be used to treating intimate areas of both male and female clients. The important thing here is you get the chance to explain what you're trying to achieve to a qualified expert, who in turn will be able to advise you of the likely outcomes and any associated pain, side effects, and risks.

Plenty of laser hair removal clinics offer treatments of intimate areas, and you'll often find prices for a course of treatments on their websites or in-store pamphlets. Don't rush things if this is a treatment you're considering – speak to an expert and, if possible, get a spot-test done. This is important for gauging discomfort levels and monitoring the reaction of your skin and hair to the treatment.


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