Lab notes  /  Industry  /  The Benefits of Laser Hair Reduction and the Effect it can have on your Skin

The Benefits of Laser Hair Reduction and the Effect it can have on your Skin

The do’s and don’t of hair reduction

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The Benefits of Laser Hair Reduction and the Effect it can have on your Skin
Written byAmelia CranstounContent Editor
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An Introduction to Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair reduction is the current fan (and aesthetician) favourite for a semi-permanent solution to unwanted hair. This cosmetic procedure utilises concentrated beams of light to target hair follicles, providing a smoother skin surface. While it has proven to be an effective method for so many, there is a lot of new information out there to make sense of and always new tools and techniques coming into mainstream clinics and salons. As always, we feel it’s best to be fully informed before booking in for that first treatment. 

How does Laser Hair Reduction Work?

Laser hair reduction works on the principle of selective ‘photothermolysis’, a process that utilises light energy to target the melanin pigment present in hair follicles without affecting surrounding tissues. 

Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how laser hair reduction works:

Melanin Absorption: The laser used in hair reduction emits a concentrated beam of light that is absorbed by the melanin pigment in the hair. Melanin is responsible for the colour of our hair and skin.

Conversion of Light Energy to Heat: Once absorbed by the melanin, the light energy is converted into heat. This heat is then directed to the hair follicle, which is the root of the hair.

Follicle Disruption: The intense heat damages the hair follicle, specifically the cells responsible for hair growth. The goal is to disrupt or destroy these cells to prevent or delay future hair growth.

Selective Targeting: One of the critical aspects of laser hair reduction is the ability to selectively target the melanin in the hair follicle while avoiding damage to the surrounding skin. This is achieved by using a specific wavelength of light and by adjusting the intensity and duration of the laser pulses.

Repeat sessions: Hair grows in cycles, and not all hair follicles are active at the same time. To target hair in various stages of growth effectively, multiple treatment sessions are usually required. The exact number of sessions varies depending on factors such as hair colour, skin type, and the treatment area. Usually, these are sold in blocks of 6-8, with a 6-4 week break in between each session. It’s an investment of your time and money, but the dedication then results in a lot less regular maintenance!

The Benefits of Laser Hair Reduction

Long-lasting Results: One of the primary benefits of laser hair reduction is its ability to deliver long-lasting results. Unlike traditional methods such as shaving or waxing, where hair regrowth occurs relatively quickly, laser hair reduction can provide a semi-permanent reduction in hair growth. Once your consultant is happy with your results, it could be another 6 - 12 months before you need to revisit for a top-up!

Speed: Laser hair reduction is a relatively quick procedure, especially when compared to other hair removal methods. Larger areas, like the legs or back, can be treated in a shorter amount of time.

Reduced Ingrown Hairs: As the laser targets hair at the root, the likelihood of developing ingrown hairs is significantly reduced. This is a common issue associated with methods like waxing and shaving.

Less painful than waxing: Many people who have tried both waxing and laser hair reduction guarantee that laser hair reduction is far less painful and any initial discomfort with the laser decreases over time as the hairs regrow finer. 

Laser hair reduction and hormone imbalances 

Amelia, our Renude aesthetician, is a major fan of laser hair reduction over any other form of hair removal. She says;

“If you practice hair removal, laser hair reduction is the best option by far. It can be a great investment and in particular, I believe it can be life-changing for anyone with a hormonal imbalance and managing symptoms such as excessive hair growth or ingrown hairs.”

“And in addition, if there were any form of hair removal I would never recommend, it would be a cream. Hair removal creams contain chemicals that dissolve the hair just below the surface of the skin, and while they are effective at removing hair, they can cause unwanted reactions such as burning and ingrown hair.”

There is a common misconception that laser hair reduction can disrupt hormonal balance. However, laser hair reduction primarily targets hair follicles and does not interfere with hormonal levels in the body. However, those who suffer from hormonal imbalances, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis, who may have excessive hair growth can benefit greatly! It can be transformational for their confidence as well as their appearance and make managing their symptoms a lot less stressful and time-consuming.  

When will you see the results of hair removal?

Everyone’s reaction is different when it comes to laser hair reduction. For those with paler skin and darker hair, the process may seem simple, but then again, if you have particularly coarse hair it may take a few more sessions before you feel like you have achieved a baby-smooth finish!

You will see noticeable changes in your hair follicle after the first session, after 4 - 6 sessions you may notice considerably slower hair growth and less hair reappearing. It is then up to you and your consultant to decide how many more sessions are needed. Surprisingly, body areas respond quicker to those areas on the face. 

Are there any downsides to laser hair reduction? 

Redness and swelling: While advancements have been made to minimise the discomfort, some individuals may still experience some redness and swelling but these side effects are usually temporary and are often treated with a cooling aloe gel immediately after your session by your consultant. 

Skin Pigmentation Changes: Laser hair reduction works by targeting pigmented hair follicles, which can sometimes result in changes in skin pigmentation. This is more common in individuals with darker skin tones and those who have recently been exposed to the sun.

Risk of Burns and Blisters: Inexperienced practitioners or improper equipment settings can lead to burns or blisters. Choosing a qualified professional and following pre- and post-treatment care guidelines is essential to minimise these risks.

Laser Hair Reduction and Dark Skin

In the past, laser hair reduction was more challenging for individuals with darker skin tones. Since the lasers depended on identifying the melanin of the hair follicle, the main disconnect was that the lasers did not properly distinguish hair follicles and skin pigment. This meant that those with dark skin could run the risk of severe burns, scarring, and discolouration.

However, advancements in technology, specifically with the development of Nd:YAG lasers, have made the procedure safer for people with dark skin. The Long-Pulsed Nd:YAG Laser has the longest wavelength of all the lasers commonly used for hair reduction at 1064 nm and as such shows a decreased affinity for absorption in the epidermal melanin. 

Reduced absorption results in less skin heating in comparison to other hair reduction systems, therefore, there is a lower associated risk of epidermal damage.  Nd:YAG lasers can effectively target hair follicles without impacting the surrounding skin pigment, reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation.

How much does Laser Hair reduction cost?

According to the NHS, single treatments for laser hair reduction may cost around £85 for the upper lip, £110 for under the arms, £130 for the bikini line, and £270 for the arms. Prices vary depending on the clinic, the machine used, the experience of the aesthetician and also where you are located - in major UK cities like London, prices can range drastically. 

With a treatment like this, it’s always good to shop around and read as many testimonials as you can to choose the best service for you. 

How to Prepare Your Skin for Laser Hair Reduction 

If laser hair reduction sounds appealing to you, some commitment to your body care is required. 

  • It’s advised to stay out of direct sunlight before, during and after a session, this means no sunbeds and sunbathing and SPF on any exposed treatment areas. This is purely for your safety as the laser can make you more susceptible to sunburn. 

  • For those who like to fake tan, this is also a no-go. You will see better results embracing your skin’s natural complexion so that the laser can detect your hair follicles and you want to avoid clogging of the pores on the treated areas. 

  • It is advised to avoid any exercising immediately after a session, sweat and heat can cause friction and discomfort and your treated areas will be a little sensitive as it is. 

  • Do not shave the day of your session, rather shave the day before. Never dry shave as this dramatically increases post-laser reactions.

  • Exfoliation immediately after a session isn't recommended as you may experience some redness and swelling. This can be cooled down by an aloe gel or non-comedogenic lotion. 


Laser hair removal - NHS (

Nd:YAG Laser Technology • Lynton Lasers

Laser Hair Removal Tips for People With Darker Skin | Well+Good (

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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