8 Factors That Impact The Effectiveness Of Laser Hair Removal

laser hair removal for facial skin

8 vital laser hair removal factors every beauty enthusiast should understand

The success of laser hair removal treatments relies on personalized treatment parameters such as skin type, hair type and color, hair growth cycle, and the presence of a tan. Although many individuals achieve up to a 90% long-term reduction in hair growth following a series of treatments, the outcome may not be the same in some. Keep reading to discover the factors that contribute to laser hair removal’s ineffectiveness.

Inadequate Contrast Between Hair Color and Skin Tone

  • The key determinant affecting the efficacy of laser hinges on the interaction between hair color and skin tone. Laser hair removal works by directing intense pulses of laser light onto the melanin pigment in hair follicles. This light energy is absorbed by the dark pigment, increasing the follicle’s temperature and causing damage that stops future hair growth. Therefore, for the treatment to be effective, there must be a significant difference between the hair color and skin tone.

The most suitable candidates are those with very fair skin and notably darker, coarse hair. If the hair color is too light, such as white, gray, blonde, or red, the laser will struggle to target the weaker melanin pigment in those follicles effectively. Likewise, individuals with darker skin tones may encounter difficulty as the laser may struggle to distinguish between the hair and skin colors, resulting in suboptimal outcomes. However, recent advancements in laser hair removal devices involve longer wavelengths to offer improved treatment options for individuals with darker skin tones; addressing lighter hair remains a persistent challenge.

Inadequate Pre-Treatment Preparation

  • It is important to ensure proper preparation of the treatment area to maximize the effectiveness of each laser hair removal session. However, many patients overlook or fail to adequately adhere to these preparatory steps, which can hinder the laser treatment’s effectiveness.

Here are the essential pre-treatment measures that must be strictly followed:


  • The treatment area should be thoroughly shaved 1-2 days before the appointment to ensure no surface hair obstructs the laser’s penetration to the follicles.

Avoid Plucking/Waxing

  • Refrain from plucking, waxing, or epilating the hair for at least six weeks before the treatment, as removing the follicle impedes the laser’s targeting ability.

Stop Tanning

  • Avoid any sun exposure or tanning activities at least 4-6 weeks prior to the treatment session to allow the skin to revert to its natural baseline pigment, ensuring better laser precision.

Failure to follow these pre-treatment guidelines between sessions is a common cause of suboptimal laser hair removal outcomes.

Hair Growth Cycle

  • Another factor influencing laser outcomes is the natural hair growth cycle of the treated body area. Each hair follicle undergoes three distinct phases:

Anagen (Growth) Phase

  • During this phase, hair actively grows and can last for several years.

Catagen (Transition) Phase

  • Hair ceases growth, disconnects from the blood supply, and eventually sheds. This phase typically lasts 4-6 weeks.

Telogen (Resting) Phase

  • laser hair removalShed hair follicles remain dormant for 2-3 months before restarting the cycle.

Laser hair removal exclusively targets follicles in the active anagen growth phase. Follicles in other phases will not be affected and will require future treatments as they enter the anagen phase again. Failure to time treatments with the area’s specific growth cycle may result in insufficient disabling of hair follicles, leading to limited reduction in hair growth.

Undiagnosed Hormonal Imbalances and Excessive Hair Growth

  • Experiencing unwanted facial or body hair growth, particularly among women, could signal an underlying hormonal imbalance disrupting the natural hair growth cycle.

The common hormonal conditions associated with excessive hair growth include:

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS, a prevalent hormonal disorder in women, often leads to facial hair growth (hirsutism). Increased levels of male hormones, such as testosterone, can overstimulate hair follicles.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

  • This genetic condition results in excessive hair growth, starting from an early age, due to the adrenal glands producing high levels of male hormones.

Cushing’s Disease

Elevated cortisol levels associated with Cushing’s Disease can activate androgen receptors, contributing to hirsutism.

While laser hair removal may offer temporary relief by targeting overactive hair follicles in women with hormonal imbalances, it does not address the underlying hormonal dysfunction. Consulting an endocrinologist is advisable to address the root cause of hormonal imbalances, ensuring more effective results.

Incorrect Laser Settings for Targeted Body Areas

  • Different body regions have varying hair thickness, density, and growth cycles, necessitating customized laser settings. Practitioners should adjust settings such as wavelength, beam size, and cooling for the face, underarms, bikini area, and legs.

Using a uniform laser setup across all body areas risks inadequate long-term hair reduction and may burn and scar sensitive bikini skin. Customizing treatment parameters based on each body part’s characteristics is essential for safety and efficacy.

Insufficient Practitioner Training

  • The competence and experience of the practitioner administering laser hair removal impact the procedure’s effectiveness and safety. Unfortunately, many providers lack the comprehensive training required to operate these devices safely and effectively.

Choosing an experienced provider with extensive supervised training under a dermatologist who understands how to personalize treatments can significantly enhance the results and safety of laser hair removal procedures. When it comes to your skin, it’s essential not to compromise on quality.

Utilizing Outdated Laser Technology

  • Laser hair removal technology has progressed significantly in recent years, offering more versatility in treating various hair and skin types.

Indicators that a clinic is employing outdated laser technology include:

  • Nd:YAG lasers that lack customizable settings based on skin tone and hair thickness.
  • Ruby lasers that are only suitable for very fair skin tones.
  • Diode lasers that are unsuitable for treating darker skin tones.
  • Absence of advanced cooling systems to mitigate the risk of burns.
  • Lack of integrated skin color sensors to automatically adjust laser parameters.
  • Inadequate provision of large spot sizes for faster treatment of larger areas.

Medications Encouraging Hair Growth

  • Certain medications have the potential to promote increased hair growth, which can counteract the effectiveness of laser hair removal treatments.

Common drugs associated with excessive hair growth include:

  • Steroids include anabolic steroids, corticosteroids, and androgen hormone therapy.
  • Immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and azathioprine.
  • Anticonvulsants such as dilantin, phenobarbital.
  • Minoxidil is typically used topically for scalp hair loss but may also stimulate hair growth in other areas.
  • Specific birth control pills.

Consulting with your prescribing physician to explore alternative medications is advisable. This ensures that laser hair removal can proceed unhindered, maximizing the likelihood of achieving the desired results.

Are you looking for a convenient and pain-free hair removal solution? Then, book your laser hair removal appointment with Alladerm. We provide laser hair removal services at reasonable costs. Call us at (949) 916-7166. Our clinic is located in Aliso Viejo, CA, and nearby areas.

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