Editorial note: this article was updated on June 25, 2020.
Facial laser hair removal is not just for women; men love it too. Regardless of gender, it can make a significant difference in one’s self-confidence, especially if their hair growth happens in uncommon places, or is ‘extra bushy’ on the face. The convenience factor alone can also make hair epilation a worthwhile investment. Imagine not having to shave, wax or tweeze on a daily or weekly basis ever again!
The face is a sensitive area when it comes to laser hair removal. There can be specifics surrounding this type of treatment. You should be fully ‘buyer beware’ when it comes to any light-based treatment on the face. And, laser hair removal is one of the most common types out there.
Laser hair removal on the face can work on different hairs, in different ways
Whether male or female, not everyone’s facial hair is the same in all places on their face. For example, men may have coarse hair on their beards. But they may also have trouble growing a full beard, or have thinner hair on their cheeks and jaw. Women may have fine, ‘peach fuzz’ hairs (which can be coloured, too). Or, in the case of hormonal hairs, females may start growing man-like beards. This can happen with polycystic ovarian syndrome, to give one example.
In general, the popular types of facial hair people want removed are:
- Nose hairs (including the exterior of the nose)
- ‘T-zone’ hairs (hairs that are close to the nose and eye area, chin, or on the temple, creating a unibrow)
- Side burns
- Chin hairs
- Mustache hairs
- Beard hairs
- Forehead hairs
- Eyebrow hairs
- Ear hairs
- Neck hairs
When it comes to the specific hair being treated on a man or woman, various lasers may be called for.
The finer, lighter hairs may only respond to a ‘SoftLight’ procedure. SoftLight is the brand name of a laser that works on peach fuzz, by stunting hair growth for a finite period of time (usually a few months). However, this same procedure can be done with other lasers.
Coarser facial hairs can respond much better to so-called, ‘real’ laser hair removal, if the right laser is used. Thankfully, there are multiple options for this, such as the Diode laser, the Alexandrite laser or the ND:Yag laser (these come on multiple machines that go by different brand names).
Read more about the best laser for hair removal, here.
However, the right laser for you, and the setting used on that laser, will depend largely on your skin tone, not just your hair thickness or colour. And determining your skin tone is a critical step in this process (we’ll explain why, below).
We also explain more about how hair removal candidacy is determined, here.
So, when seeking facial laser hair removal, be mindful that the spa or provider you use should have the correct tools for the job. This way, they can target the right hairs, in the right way.
To avoid side effects, choose a qualified, experienced laser clinic to work on your face
Laser hair removal can cause side effects such as burns or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Sometimes, these can be treated. Other times, they are very hard to get rid of.
Check out this news article about a BC woman who was left with severe leftover burn marks from just one laser hair removal session. Her legs and gential area are now spotted with excess pigment. That can be hard to undo.
The lesson here is not that laser hair removal is always dangerous. It is about picking a very experienced, qualified and knowledgeable provider. You see, some skin pigments should not be put under high settings on these machines. High energy might target the hair, but it will also target the surrounding skin, which we don’t want.
We explain more about how laser hair removal works, here.
Having a pattern of burn marks left all over your legs and genital area is bad enough. But when it comes to your face, you absolutely would not want this to happen. It can be unbearable for your self-confidence.
Other issues can also arise if the practitioner is not experienced or qualified. These can include hair re-growth, spotty hair removal results, or hair removal where you don’t want it – such as on parts of your eyebrows. And, let’s not even get into the danger of using lasers near your eyes! (Yes, it’s shocking that almost anyone can buy a powerful laser these days).
So please, be careful out there! This industry is not regulated. It is entirely up to the consumer to judge whether or not they are undergoing safe, effective treatments (sadly).
Ask your laser hair removal provider about the qualifications of the staff that will be doing treatments on you, as well as what safety precautions the clinic will take to avoid these issues.
Do staff go to laser school? Who trains them in-house after that, and what are the trainer’s qualifications? How long have they had the technology they’re currently using for this purpose? What training did they get on that machine, specifically?
Also important: find out what they’ll do to rectify the situation if your treatment does go sideways.
Do your part with laser hair removal before and after care
We wrote an article on the things you can do to get the best results out of your laser hair removal investment. Facial hair is no different in this regard. The same steps will need to be taken by you, at home, if you want to get the most out of this type of treatment.
Hair epilation on the face involves ‘pain with gain’
We use ‘hair epilation’ above because if you think about it, all hair removal methods on the face involve some sensitivity to pain. Plucking, threading and waxing can cause you to twitch, right? And shaving can leave you with folliculitis and razor burn. Even permanent hair removal with electrolysis requires some pain tolerance.
The face is a sensitive area. The skin there is thin in some parts too. That thin attribute can make it slightly more painful than say, hair removal on the arms or lower legs.
The upside with laser hair removal, for the face especially, is that the pain comes with gain! Eventually, you’ll see more and more hair reduction, which can potentially eliminate the need for further tweezing, sugaring or whatever else people do to get rid of pesky face hairs!
Not only that, but we can use numbing creams and coolants to help reduce pain during the procedure. Plus, the most modern laser hair removal technologies don’t hurt that much. So again – pick a reputable provider, and one who has the latest, and best tools!
Facial laser hair removal takes patience, determination and healing time
As we’ve seen above, quality facial hair removal is not just about the provider you choose; it’s also about how well you help your treatments along.
You’ll need multiple treatment sessions, on schedule, and time to heal afterwards, too.
While no laser hair removal method will give you 100% elimination of hair follicles, the procedure can get you close. People can experience great relief from their perpetual, neverending facial hair maintenance with this method. It can reduce a lot of time spent worrying about how you look before leaving the house.
Eventually, your treatments will reach their maximum effectiveness. If the remaining 10 – 20% of hairs on your face continue to bother you at that point, electrolysis may be another option.