Can laser hair removal help treat my acne?
So you’ve decided laser hair removal is right for you! After doing your research and figuring out what body areas you want to have treated, you’re excited to get started and begin your journey to having smooth, hair-free skin.
We all want smooth skin. But that’s only part of the benefit of choosing laser hair removal. Shaving and waxing aren’t only expensive, they can sometimes come with unwanted consequences like itching, redness, razor burn, ingrown hairs, and even cuts. These unsightly side-effects can be as bad—or worse—than the embarrassing stubble we are trying to get rid of in the first place! Ditching your razor and bidding your waxing routine a not-so-fond farewell means you can also say goodbye to these skin blemishes too! And that raises the question, can laser hair removal help with acne too?
The short answer—maybe.
Acne is the result of clogged pores as well as the irritation and inflammation of your skin. And, it’s true that removing unwanted hair can substantially reduce the risk of developing acne on the face and body. However, outdated grooming measures like shaving, tweezing or waxing, can irritate the skin when removing unwanted hair, which can lead to a possible breakout.
Outdated grooming measures like shaving, tweezing or waxing, can irritate the skin when removing unwanted hair, which can lead to a possible breakout.
While laser hair removal is not a cure for acne, in some cases, a reduction in acne is an added benefit. That’s because, with laser hair removal, a laser pulse effectively destroys the hair follicle without damaging the skin in the process. Whereas shaving and waxing only address hair on the surface, laser hair removal safely and gently targets the hair follicle under the skin to permanently stop it from growing hair.
Plus, once your hair-free journey begins, exfoliating is a recommended part of the process. It’s a great way to keep your skin healthy and fresh throughout your treatment. It also helps any remaining hairs to shed from the follicle more easily.
There’s another bonus! Regular exfoliation gets rid of dead skin cells and impurities to help defend against acne.
However, if you have acne when you get your first treatment, the condition could get worse soon after the initial treatment because the treated area has thicker, coarser hair.
Fortunately, after two or three sessions, the hair will become lighter and finer, growing at a much slower rate, allowing the skin to heal and lessening the chance for a further breakout. The more laser hair removal treatments received, the less chance you’ll see an appearance from those pesky hairs. As a result, the chance for a breakout may also decrease.
For some women, a strong association between facial hair growth and acne exists due to elevated levels of androgen in the body. Laser hair removal can help women in this situation with acne by removing the need for another hair removal process—such as shaving, waxing, tweezing, plucking, or sugaring—which as we mentioned earlier, can irritate the skin.
Should a worse acne breakout occur following a laser hair removal treatment, the likely cause is that the contents of the pore are coming to the surface as the hair is shed from the follicle, which may result in an acne lesion. While uncommon, an acne lesion is most likely to occur early on in your treatment plan when the hair is more coarse with follicles present.
In the rare times that this does happen, it is typically seen in people who already have acne and not usually seen in those who don’t suffer from acne. The good news is that this is a temporary side-effect, and if you experience this, your skin should clear up over the course of a few days or weeks.
As your laser hair removal treatment journey advances, the hairs will be less coarse, leading to smoother, hair-free skin and a significantly reduced chance of dealing with an acne breakout.
By eliminating the hair as well as the need for hair removal methods that irritate your skin, laser hair removal significantly reduces some of the leading causes of acne. So, while it isn’t considered a direct treatment for acne, laser hair removal may help with your acne as well as your unwanted hair.