Can You Get Laser Hair Removal On Your Face?

Shaving, waxing, threading, and tweezing are a few of the many options available to those who are interested in facial hair removal. Although generally more expensive than these other methods, some people may alternatively opt for laser hair removal.

The procedure involves using a laser beam to damage the hair follicle, vaporize the hair, and stop subsequent regrowth (via Healthline). While effective, it can take as many as six appointments to permanently eliminate hair once and for all. Sometimes, patients may also require a yearly maintenance session.

Commonly targeting the chin, upper lip, temples, cheeks, and more, laser hair removal on the face doesn't take long. Rather, the procedure can often be completed in no more than 20 minutes.

Prior to the procedure, the patient's face will be cleansed before they are given protective coverings for their eyes and hair. Numbing gel may also be administered. As the laser is aimed at the treatment area, some patients liken the sensation to that of a sunburn, and some report a smell of burning hair. 

So yes, while you can get laser hair removal done on your face, is the procedure itself safe?

Risks of facial laser hair removal

Although laser hair removal is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it doesn't mean the procedure comes without potential risks (per Healthline). Most often, patients only experience some degree of redness or swelling. Breakouts are also not uncommon (via Byrdie). While far less likely, burning, blistering, scarring, or infection can also occur.

The process is only safe when conducted by a doctor. Even then, facial laser hair removal may not always be a suitable option for all. For people with certain skin conditions, for example, laser hair removal may exacerbate symptoms of eczema or acne. Additionally, those with tattoos may experience skin discoloration. Therefore, it's important to first speak with a dermatologist if you are considering the procedure.

Alternatively, some individuals may not be eligible for facial laser hair removal. This includes those with blonde, gray, red, or white hair. Additionally, different lasers will also be needed for different skin tones.

"Those with dark skin need to be careful to use the appropriate laser that has the right wavelength for dark skin," board-certified dermatologist Shari Sperling of Sperling Dermatology tells Byrdie.

Facial laser hair removal aftercare

Facial laser hair removal does not involve a prolonged recovery period. Rather, patients can return to day-to-day life immediately after the fact. However, individuals should wait a few days before resuming exercise or being in direct exposure to sunlight (via Healthline).

Patients should also hold off on certain skincare routines in the days following the procedure. "Right after treatment, I have my patients use SootheHC two to three times a day for a week to calm redness, bumps, and inflammation," board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi tells Byrdie. "Be gentle with the skin, avoid scrubs, tight clothing, and exfoliants for a week after."

Individuals will also want to refrain from tanning and be sure to utilize sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more before and during the process to minimize the chances of sunburn.

At the end of the day, hair removal is a decision unique to each individual. Some people may be interested in facial laser hair removal for reasons related to mental or emotional well-being. Self-reported data from 70 patients in a 2009 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy revealed a link between laser treatment for unwanted facial hair and improved quality of life in patients.