Laser hair removal

Welcome! The information on this page is written for a transgender audience. For a general discussion of hair removal, please visit: hairfacts.com

Laser hair removal

Since I began reporting on this topic in 1995, there has been considerable interest and considerable trial and error in the field of laser hair removal. Originally touted as a “miracle cure” by some, it’s become evident that laser hair removal can be very beneficial for some consumers and nearly worthless for others.

As I have been saying since 1995, I am not anti-laser. I am simply pro-results. Trans facial hair removal is extremely difficult to achieve without damaging surrounding skin, and some lasers and practitioners are better than others. It is vital that consumers understand as much as possible before committing to an expensive course of treatment.


Using lasers to supplement electrolysis

Some trans women have found laser a helpful way to get dark facial hair under control. Anyone considering this should meet the following qualifications:

  • Light skin color
  • Dark hair color

You were right about my use of “fair” being a bit too narrow in defining skin type. The general recommendation with lasers is to use them only on the four fairest of the six Fitzpatrick skin types, and to avoid using them on most types of freckled skin. And the less contrast between hair and skin color, the more potential for problems.

The other drawback to waxing or laser is that you delay completion by that much more with each use.

If it takes 8 weeks for anagen hairs to return and be treatable, you’ve lost 8 weeks. If it keeps hair away six months, you lose half a year. Does it all balance out in total time saved? It very well could. I just like people to know as much as possible going in.

Bethanne answered:

I highlighted your comment about “8 weeks” because hairs in a treated area (by laser) are treatable with electrolysis in a much shorter time. The hairs are very small, but that is the best time to kill them. I think the time lapse is only 2 weeks…and the “kill rate” is so much higher that a client is foolish not to pursue this….not to mention that a microscopic hair that is destroyed will not damage the skin.

Waxing for whatever reason does not “shrink” the hair nearly as much…I don’t pretend to know why. I literally plucked every hair above my jawline for 18 months before I ever started electrolysis…I wanted to be beard-free that bad! Yet when I started electrolysis immediately after this these hairs were no smaller than the others. The EpiLight laser is much better than waxing. I also have freckled skin…I like how the laser lightens the freckles and the skin color is more uniform.

J___’s advice:

HAVE IT DONE ON A TEST AREA BEFORE YOU SPEND MONEY– See if it works for YOU. Don’t expect it to clear everything. Compare it to electrolysis dollar for dollar; I think for many people it is very cost effective. It does not replace electrolysis but should be used in conjunction with electrolysis.

People with light skin and dark hair have reported satisfactory results from a few laser treatments. Experts suggest that after 3 or 4 treatments, you’ve probably received about as much benefit as you’ll get.

Those with gray, blonde or red hair will probably see little or no permanent benefit from laser.

Those with darker skin must be very aware about the risks of skin discoloration.