FAQs: Laser Hair Removal

What’s the best time of year to get laser hair removal?

We tend to want laser hair removal when the weather starts warming up and we trade in those long sleeves for a swimsuit, but late spring is actually the worst time to get laser hair removal. It can take up to six months to complete your laser hair removal treatments, so you have to plan ahead; if you want a smooth, flawless skin by April, start your treatments in October. Laser hair removal is also less effective on tanned skin, and your summer bronze will have faded sufficiently by late October.

Can I get laser hair removal if I’m on other prescribed dermatological medication, like isotretinoin (formerly sold as Accutane)?

We recommend avoiding certain invasive procedures while you’re undergoing Accutane treatment, because the active ingredient in Accutane, isotretinoin, has been shown to slow wound healing and increase photosensitivity in certain patients. Laser hair removal is a simple, noninvasive procedure, but to be safe, we typically advise patients to wait at least one month after their last Accutane treatment to get laser hair removal. Every patient’s treatment plan is unique, though, so please check with your dermatologist if you’re considering laser hair removal during or after undergoing Accutane treatment.

Does laser hair removal work for all ages and skin types?

In the past, laser hair removal was far less effective on darker skin or light (blonde or grey) hair. But due to advancements in laser technology, laser hair removal is effective for almost every skin type or hair color. At Coastal Dermatology, we offer multiple state-of-the-art lasers—Candela V-Beam, GentleLase and GentleMax—each with a different wavelength. Your skin type, skin color and hair color determine which laser will work most effectively for you, so it’s important to schedule your procedure with a dermatologist, such as our own Dr. Heather Loesch, who understands your specific skin type needs.

Can I get laser hair removal if I’m breastfeeding?

We typically recommend patients who are breastfeeding wait to get laser hair removal. Adequate studies have not been conducted to test the effect of a mother’s laser hair removal procedure on a breastfeeding infant (or on the mother herself, for whom hormonal changes might increase pain sensitivity or alter hair growth). Be sure to schedule your laser treatments with an experienced dermatologist to ensure you’re getting the best advice for your situation.

Can I get laser hair removal if I’m pregnant?

Shaving your legs when you’re seven months pregnant requires either some creative stretching or a hand from your significant other, so we don’t blame you for seeking other hair removal methods! We don’t, however, recommend laser hair removal during pregnancy because of the lack of information about the effect on the fetus. Adequate testing has not been completed, so we advise not taking any risks if you know you are pregnant or could become pregnant soon.

Can I get laser hair removal if I have tattoos?

No, patients should not get laser hair removal on skin that has been tattooed. The lasers we use for hair removal target the hair’s pigment, so the ink in a tattoo would attract the laser’s energy and cause painful blistering or burning. If you have tattoos and want laser hair removal, make sure you schedule your laser hair removal with a trained and experienced practitioner who knows to avoid the tattooed skin.

Laser hair removal is one of our most popular procedures this time of year. If you have any further questions about the treatment or if you’re ready to schedule your appointment, contact the skincare experts at Coastal Dermatology today!