How does laser hair removal work? Plus more FAQs

Our experienced aesthetic laser specialists answer top patient questions about laser hair removal.

Am I a candidate for laser hair removal?

We offer several laser hair removal platforms at La Jolla Cosmetic Medical Spa to allow patients with many different skin types to benefit from this treatment. A general rule of thumb: if your hair is darker than your skin, you are a candidate for laser hair removal! The greater the contrast, the better: treatment will work most quickly and effectively for very dark hair on very light skin, but we can also get good results for dark hair on brown skin; it just may take a few more treatments. Also, you’ll need to avoid tanning prior to treatment.

What areas can I have treated?

Laser hair removal can be performed nearly anywhere on the body, but the most common areas we treat are:

  • Legs
  • Bikini area
  • Underarms
  • Face (moustache and sideburns)
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Abdomen

How much does laser hair removal cost?

At La Jolla Cosmetic Medical Spa, laser hair removal prices generally range from $99 to $499 per session, per area. Larger areas cost more; smaller areas cost less. We also offer packages to help you save on your per-treatment cost. The best way to save is to join GLAMfam—members automatically save 15% on laser hair removal and most other medical spa treatments.

How does laser hair removal work?

Hair removal lasers focus a single, specific light wavelength, which targets the melanin pigment of the hair shaft. The hair shaft absorbs the heat energy from the laser, and this energy travels down to the follicle. The heat disables the follicle.

Does laser hair removal hurt?

Most people say it feels like small rubber band snaps. This feeling is most intense in sensitive areas like the bikini area and underarms. In larger areas, such as the back, legs, and arms, treatments are sometimes barely felt. We offer several options for pain relief during laser hair removal. Topical numbing cream is sufficient for many patients, but we also offer PRO-NOX™ (self-administered laughing gas) as an add-on option for those who want to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.

How many treatments will I need?

Because the laser only affects hair follicles in the active growth phase, a series of treatments (5 to 7 treatments on average), spaced about a month apart, is required to remove all the hair in the desired area. After each treatment, the hair that grows back will be significantly softer and lighter in color until it is removed.

Following a series, most patients can maintain their results with 1 to 2 touch-up treatments each year. Hormonal changes, certain medications, and hair growth supplements can cause new hair growth, but for many patients results are long-lasting.

Is there any downtime?

Immediately after treatment and for the first 24 hours or so, the treated area may look and feel mildly sunburned. Avoid high heat (e.g., saunas, heating pads, etc.) and delay vigorous exercise until the next day. Most importantly, apply a minimum SPF 30 to treated skin before any sun exposure—if you don’t do this, your skin could become permanently discolored. If at all possible, keep the area covered with clothing when outdoors as well.

Is laser hair removal permanent?

Laser hair removal is considered semi-permanent. The typical patient can go years without hair growth in an area, but there is no guarantee that results will last a lifetime. Hormones, certain medications, and hair growth supplements can affect hair growth levels throughout life. Most patients can stay hair-free after their initial series with 1 to 2 maintenance treatments per year.

Have more questions? Call us at (858) 452-2066 for a free consultation.