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Laser hair removal treatments use light energy to permanently damage or destroy hair follicles—usually on the legs, back, underarms, or face—with the goal of preventing hair from growing back. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says laser hair removal effectively reduces the amount of hair you have by about 70%. While it may not remove it forever, the hair that grows back is usually much finer and less noticeable. 

Because everyone is different, there’s no set rule on how many sessions you’ll need and when you’ll need them. Generally, people have six to eight laser hair removal treatments staggered every four to eight weeks to see results, plus an annual maintenance session. 

Laser hair removal has been among the top non-surgical procedures for more than two decades, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Due to its long-standing consumer popularity, hair removal is an entry point to the aesthetic market for new and existing aesthetic providers.


  • No more razor burn, waxing or tweezing
  • Effectively reduces unwanted body hair
  • Treatments are fast and convenient
  • Smooth and hair free skin all the time
  • Painless, with no down time*
  • FDA approved for permanent hair reduction


This treatment works best for people with light skin and dark hair, since the contrast makes it easier for the laser to target the pigment in the hair follicle. You won’t see good results if you have light hair (blonde, red, or gray) on fair skin.

People with medium-brown skin (Fitzpatrick skin type IV) may have the lowest risk of hyperpigmentation with a Nd:YAG laser, which absorbs the least melanin. If you have dark-brown skin (types V and VI), find a dermatologist who has extensive experience safely treating Black skin. 

Cutera’s Hair Removal Solutions

Cutera was the first to develop a high-powered Nd:YAG laser for hair removal to enable clinicians to expand their practice and for the first time offer safe and effective hair removal to individuals with darker skin. The multi-application xeo platform is an ideal market-entry solution for practices interested in offering hair removal and expanding their aesthetic applications in their practice.

Cutera’s second evolution in laser hair removal technology comes with the introduction of the excel HR, the premium laser hair removal platform. excel HR features two proven wavelengths – the 755 nm Alexandrite and 1064 nm Nd:YAG – and superior contact cooling to comfortably remove unwanted hair on all skin types. The combination of these two wavelengths empowers providers to offer the most advanced hair removal available.


Most dermatologists and medical professionals advise that you stop waxing, tweezing, or plucking hair you want to remove for two to six weeks before your appointment, though shaving is fine.

Your body or facial hair should be in the anagen phase of growth, the phase where the hair is actively growing so the laser can effectively target the melanin in the hair bulb. Because of this, your sessions will be spaced at different intervals to catch just the right phase of growth.

Within 24 hours of your appointment, shave the area that’s being lasered using a clean, new blade. This helps the laser light locate your hair follicles. Stubble, on the other hand, can damage the laser and increase the chance of burning your skin, so timing is key.

You should also avoid UV exposure during the month before your treatment, including that from tanning beds and self-tanning lotions. Intense sun exposure or exposure to UV light in tanning beds before treatment could result in blistering, pigmentation disorders, or scarring.

That’s because laser light is attracted to pigment, either in hair follicles or skin.

Laser hair removal can be uncomfortable for some people, but it shouldn’t be painful. Avoid caffeine the day of your treatment if you’re prone to nervousness, and reschedule if you’re feeling sick, which can make you more sensitive to pain. While you can request numbing cream, some doctors won’t use it because the feeling of pain could be important feedback to the technician to turn down the laser.


For a day or two afterward, the treated area of your skin may look and feel like it’s sunburned, so you might need to use cool compresses or a gentle moisturizer. If your face was treated, you can safely wear makeup the next day unless your skin feels irritated. 

Take these tips for a smoother recovery:

  • Avoid sun exposure. Any time you anticipate being out in the sun, apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30. 
  • Shave to remove any hair between laser sessions, but refrain from threading, waxing, and tweezing. If you’ve decided not to continue with your laser hair removal for the time being, then you can go ahead and use any method to remove hair in the interim.
  • For the first few days, avoid perfumes, deodorant (if you’ve lasered your underarms) and hot showers or saunas. Take a lukewarm shower instead.
  • It’s common to experience some swelling, itching, and redness after laser hair removal due to irritation of the hair follicles. You may try taking an antihistamine and applying hydrocortisone a few times a day to relieve redness and itching.
  • Wait for 24 hours after laser hair removal in the bikini area for the swelling to go down before you have sex.


Most people see a significant reduction in hair after eight treatment sessions. You can expect about 70% hair reduction once you complete a series of treatments (usually six to eight). Follow up visits may be needed to treat regrowth and to maintain the results.

With each treatment, the actively growing hair follicle is destroyed. Less blood flows to the follicle, and the hair that does grow back will gradually become weaker and thinner. 

While your hair won’t always fall out immediately, it will eventually get there. Some hairs are ejected as soon as they’re lasered, while others can continue to grow and fall out over time.


Laser hair removal will permanently reduce hair growth, but it doesn’t permanently remove it in all cases. Any hair the laser can’t destroy can be removed through electrolysis.


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