In this article:
Laser hair removal has become a very famous way of removing unwanted hair. It is a quick and effective solution for both men and women who want to get rid of hair without the hassle of waxing or shaving. (1)
However, there are some concerns about whether laser hair removal leads to the development of ingrown hair. Ingrown hair develops when the hair grows inside the skin instead of outside of it. This may cause inflammation and, occasionally, infections.
According to experts, laser hair removal does not result in ingrown hair. In fact, it is considered to be a treatment for them. (2)
This article will investigate the connection between laser hair removal and ingrown hair.
Why Laser Hair Removal Does Not Cause Ingrown Hair
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure, and the principle behind it is “selective photothermolysis.” This means that the laser used produces light that is more absorbed by darker colors than lighter colors.
The laser emits light with a wavelength of 600 to 1200 nanometers and targets the pigment in the hair called melanin. This light is soaked up by the dark pigment in the hair, which warms up and demolishes the hair follicle (the place where hair grows from). (3)(4)
Note: The surrounding skin is not affected as much because it is lighter as it has less melanin and, hence, doesn’t absorb as much of the light. (3)
The good news is that laser hair removal can actually help prevent ingrown hair. This is because, with each laser treatment, the hair follicle is damaged and disabled until it is completely destroyed. (4)
This means that there is no risk of ingrown hair developing because the hair follicle is no longer able to regrow.
Risk Factors of Ingrown Hair After Hair Removal
1. Curly hair
Everyone’s hair is different. Some people have curly or tightly coiled hair. Since curly hair tends to grow in a spiral, it’s more likely to get trapped and start growing back into the skin. (6)
2. Increased shaving
When you shave, you create a pointed edge on the hair, which can pave the way for the hair to puncture the skin and grow in the wrong direction (back into the skin). This is especially true if you shave in the direction opposite to that of your hair growth. (6)
Note: Ingrown hair is more commonly seen in those who are black and have curly hair. (6)
Tips to Prevent Ingrown Hair After Any Kind of Hair Removal
- Rinse your skin in warm water and use a shaving cream or a gel before you start to use the razor on your skin.
- Shave in the direction in which the hair grows to avoid irritation.
- Use very limited strokes of the razor, and do not repeatedly shave the same spot.
- Wash the razor after each stroke to avoid clogging.
- Use a slightly cold, wet cloth to wipe your skin after the shave to reduce inflammation.
- Invest in an exfoliating scrub to get rid of any trapped hair.
- Try hair removal creams.
- Do not pick on ingrown hair.
Ingrown Hair Treatments
If you’re dealing with ingrown hair, you can always contact a professional for help. They can provide you with a few tips for dealing with those pesky hair.
Here are some treatments professionals may recommend: (7)
- Special creams or lotions to help soothe any itching or discomfort
- Products to use for shaving or hair removal that can help prevent irritation
- Exfoliating products to discourage ingrown hair from forming in the first place
- A mild antiseptic to help prevent potential infections
The Possible Downsides of Laser Hair Removal
Minor adverse events, such as discomfort, swelling, and redness, usually last for 1–3 days after laser hair removal.
More serious side effects are uncommon when the technique is conducted by a dermatologist or with proper expert supervision. These may include blistering, herpes simplex outbreaks, infections, scarring, and changes in skin color, which can sometimes be permanent.
It’s crucial to consult with a medical doctor skilled in laser treatments and to follow their instructions before and after the procedure to minimize risks. (8)
How much time does it take to permanently remove hair with a laser?
Getting rid of hair you don’t want could take 6 or more laser hair removal sessions, but it’s typically a permanent solution for most body areas. Sadly, on a lady’s face, hormones can make it not so permanent. (1)
Can laser hair removal cause permanent ingrown hair?
No, laser hair removal will not lead to the development of permanent ingrown hair.
Is it safe to use hair removal gel/cream after laser treatment?
It is not recommended to use hair removal formulations after laser hair removal.
Can ingrown hair after hair removal lead to scar formation?
While rare, ingrown hair after hair removal can potentially cause scarring if left untreated or if the area is picked at.
Laser hair removal is a safe and useful technique for ridding yourself of undesirable hair. Plus, it does not cause ingrown hair.
Some factors may increase the risk of ingrown hair after using other hair removal methods, and laser hair removal is, in fact, a way to prevent ingrown hair.
By following the advice shared in this article, you can prevent the development of ingrown hair and enjoy the benefits of hair removal.