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How often should you get laser hair removal for optimal results

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updated: June 20, 2024
edited by Amber Katz
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Whether you shave daily or weekly, there’s one thing we can all agree on: Shaving is a chore. Not only does it take a lot of time, but it also needs to be maintained. Which is why so many people are considering laser hair removal as an option. While there are many solid at-home laser hair removal devices on the market, professional laser hair removal provides long-term results along with the expertise of doctors and trained estheticians who can help best address and treat different complexions and hair types.

The question most often raised with laser hair removal is how often should you get it to see the best results. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, we did interview dermatologists and estheticians to get their input on how often you should get laser hair removal and when you can expect to see results.

How frequently can you do laser hair removal?

Face

If you’re looking to get rid of hair on your upper lip, chin, or elsewhere, laser hair removal can be beneficial. According to Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin & Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan, the hair on the face grows a little faster, so treatments can be done closer to four weeks apart instead of the average six. In general, six to eight overall sessions are needed for laser hair removal on the face.

Bikini area

Whether you’re planning a vacation to Aruba or considering a girls’ trip to the Vdara in Las Vegas, you’ll want to make sure your bikini area is in tip-top shape.

“Areas with coarser hair, like the bikini line, may necessitate more frequent sessions compared to finer hair on the arms,” says Dr. Sheila Malek Kassir, a board-certified plastic surgeon and co-founder of Kassir Plastic Surgery. Similar to the face, between six to eight overall sessions are needed for laser hair removal in the bikini area.

Armpits

Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS, says individual factors like hormones and genetics also play a role in hair regrowth speed. Since the armpits are another more hormonal part of the body, you’ll probably need sessions more frequently—roughly every two to four weeks with four sessions total.

Legs

Laser hair removal on the legs is generally recommended every two to four weeks depending on skin sensitivity and hair type. Substantial outcomes, such as smoother skin with diminished hair, are commonly observed after completing three to seven sessions, according to Dr. Kassir.

What do I need to do after each treatment?

Skin can be a little red and inflamed after a laser treatment, so you’ll want to engage in a gentle skincare regimen. “First and foremost, you never want to exfoliate freshly treated skin. You want to keep the skincare very simple for a few days post-treatment,” says Dr. Henry.

Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand, a double-board certified dermatologist specializing in cutaneous (skin) laser surgery, recommends avoiding direct sun exposure. “Avoid the sun for one month before the procedure to one month afterwards,” she said. “After this time, apply sunscreen to the area of treatment every day.”

Aside from applying sunscreen such as Beauty Pie’s Traceless UVA/UVB SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen + Primer and refraining from exfoliation, there are other measures you can take to help decrease pain and inflammation. “I recommended applying an ice pack to reduce pain, discomfort, or irritation,” says Nina Avakyan, lead esthetician at WORLD SPA in Brooklyn. “Also, wear loose clothing to avoid friction on the treated area for 48 hours, and keep the area clean and dry during this time.”

Is there downtime?

For most areas of the body, you’ll want to give yourself some downtime in between sessions. This depends on the area of the body you’re targeting, however, usually four to six weeks of downtime is recommended, according to Dr. Kassir.

When will I see results?

According to Dr. Henry, there is roughly a 10 percent reduction with each treatment, so you’ll really start to notice results by about the third or fourth treatment.

Are there any possible side effects?

As with any medical and cosmetic procedure, there are possible side effects you’ll want to keep in mind. “Temporary side effects such as redness, swelling, or minor irritation are common and usually resolve within a few days,” says Dr. Kassir. “However, adverse effects such as burns, or pigment changes are rare, but warrant attention.”

When is it safe to have another laser treatment for hair removal?

“The frequency of laser hair removal treatments is contingent upon individual factors like hair texture, skin tone, and the specific area being treated,” says Dr. Kassir. As mentioned above, typically, sessions are spaced four to six weeks apart to coincide with the hair growth cycle.

How soon can I expect to see my final results?

Final results for laser hair removal vary from person to person, however, Rachel Lozina, licensed master esthetician and founder of Blue Water Spa in Oyster Bay, NY says you’ll generally notice results after six to eight sessions. That said, touch ups depend on your own skin and hair growth patterns. Remember to be patient because slow and steady is the name of the game when it comes to laser hair removal.

If you are curious about, or want to start, with at-home laser removal, read our article on the best at-home laser hair removal devices, including the Sensica Sensilight Mini 300K.

Sensica Sensilight Mini 300K

Sensica Sensilight Mini 300K

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