Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that removes unwanted hair by using a concentrated beam of light called a laser. During laser hair removal, the laser emits light that is absorbed by melanin, the substance responsible for producing pigment or color in our hair, including our eyes and skin too. This light energy is transformed into heat, which damages the hair follicles, the hair-producing sacs within the skin. The damage prevents or slows future hair development.

Multiple laser hair removal sessions as well as maintenance sessions are typically required to get optimal results. Laser hair removal is most effective on persons with fair complexion and dark hair, although it can be used on anyone.

Dermatologists typically treat hair on the:

  • Face, particularly upper lip and chin
  • Trunk (chest and back)
  • Armpits
  • Legs

Risks Of Laser Hair Removal

Before deciding on undergoing laser hair removal, it is important for you to be aware of the possible risks of the procedure. Side effect risks can vary according to skin type, hair color, treatment strategy, and adherence to pre- and post-treatment care. The following are some laser hair removal adverse effects that one can experience:

  • Mild skin irritation

    Laser hair removal may cause temporary pain, redness, and swelling of the treated area. These symptoms usually resolve after a few hours.

  • Skin color changes

    The procedure may cause the treated skin to darken or lighten in color which can either be temporary or permanent.

  • Abnormal skin reactions

    Though rare, laser removal can cause blistering, crusting, scarring, or other changes in skin texture.

  • Hair changes

    Also rare, graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth surrounding treated regions, particularly on darker skin can be side effects of laser hair removal.

Tired Of Excessive or Unwanted Hair?

Laser hair removal may be the right treatment for you. Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for a detailed evaluation of your condition and a personalised treatment plan.

Preparing For Your Laser Hair Removal Procedure

For you to achieve optimal results from the procedure, your dermatologist will provide certain instructions to prepare you for laser hair removal such as:

  • Avoiding sun exposure

    Avoid sun exposure before and after treatment, as directed by your dermatologist. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF30 or higher every time you go outside.

  • Avoiding alternative ways of hair removal

    Plucking and waxing can disrupt hair follicles and should be avoided for at least four weeks prior to treatment.

  • Shaving the area to be treated

    Shaving the day before laser treatment is advised. It removes hair above the skin, which can cause superficial skin damage from burnt hairs, but still leaves the hair shaft intact.

  • Stop blood-thinning drugs

    Before the procedure, consult your doctor if you need to discontinue your blood-thinner medications temporarily.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What happens after laser hair removal?

    Following treatment, you may notice some redness and swelling which looks like a mild sunburn. Applying a cool compress can help with this discomfort.

    Your dermatologist will also provide some after-care instructions before sending you home such as:

    • Avoid direct sunlight exposure, especially in the treated area.
    • Avoid getting a tan with tanning equipment.
    Will there be some downtime after the procedure?

    No, laser hair removal does not have any downtime. Your treated skin will be mildly red and somewhat swollen following laser hair removal but you can resume your normal routine immediately.

    When would I see the results of laser hair removal?

    Results will most likely be visible shortly following therapy however it still would differ from person to person. The color and thickness of your hair, the region treated, and the color of your skin all have an impact on the outcome. After the first treatment, you should expect a 10% to 25% reduction in hair.

    Most individuals would need about 6 or more laser treatment sessions to eliminate hair in the targeted region.

    How long will laser hair removal results last?

    Although laser hair removal is frequently marketed as “permanent,” it simply reduces the amount of unwanted hair in a certain location. It does not entirely remove undesirable hair. Most people are hair-free for months, if not years. It is likely that as part of the hair regrows, it will be less apparent. You may require maintenance laser treatments to keep the area of treatment hair-free.

    When is it safe for another laser hair removal session?

    Hair removal requires a series of laser treatments. The majority of individuals can get laser hair removal every 4 to 6 weeks. Your dermatologist will advise you on the appropriate time for your follow-up session.