Editorial note: this post was updated on June 26, 2020.
Laser hair removal for men is nothing new nowadays. However, it doesn’t cease to amaze those who undergo it. No more messy shaves, sprouting stubble, razor bumps, folliculitis, cuts and all the other hassles that come with male hair maintenance.
We’re not just talking about facial hair, either. With men, the needs and desired effects of laser hair removal can be different than what women look for. Body hair, for instance, can certainly be a nuisance for some men, like it is for women. But with men, retaining some of that hair may be preferred, for that ‘masculine’ look.
The good news is that nowadays, almost any face or body hair on men can be removed or thinned, with very few exceptions.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the pros and cautions that come with laser hair removal for men, specifically.
Laser hair removal on men doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ procedure; men can keep some hairs
When we say laser hair “removal,” it’s easy to think of that as meaning, well… going completely ‘baby-skin-bald’ on your body or face. Some people want that, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But some men simply have way too much hair for their liking, in any given spot. They don’t want to go hairless; they want to look masculine, without the excessive stubble or ‘animal hair coverage,’ if you know what we mean.
Not only that, some men grow hair in uncomfortable, or less-desirable spots. For example, hairs on the ears, nose, inner cheeks and those classic unibrows… they can all be removed. This can save on threading, picking, tweezing and trimming from time to time.
Back hair, stomach hair, butt hair and more can also be removed, while leaving the good ‘ol fuzzy patches on the chest, underarms and legs.
How can lasers offer these options to men?
Laser hair removal can only ‘attack’ the hairs that are actively growing. To grow, hairs must be attached to the root, at their bulb. Since your hair grows in cycles, not all of your hairs will be in the stage of active growth, called the anagen phase. There are ‘resting’ and ‘purging’ phases too.
In any given laser hair removal session, light beams can only kill about 10% – 20% of the hairs on your body (it depends on several factors). In 6 to 8 weeks, you’ll need to return for another treatment. That next treatment will aim to get rid of the next lot of hairs that have moved onto the anagen phase.
Hair shedding after these sessions will happen gradually. When you are happy with where you are at (hair-thickness-wise), you can stop treatments.
Laser hair removal may work faster on men
Since lasers are attracted to pigment, dark hairs on light skin are always the best candidates for removing hairs this way.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get laser hair removal if you have dark skin (though, great care should be taken, if you do). But it does mean that since ‘man hair’ is often darker and coarser than female hair, it can respond better to laser energy.
Of course, not all men have dark, coarse hair on the areas where they wish to get laser hair removal. The technology may still work in those cases, even if it takes a little longer to see results.
Lasers can’t target the ‘peach fuzz’ on any human body. Nor can they help with white, light or red hairs.
Learn more about how laser hair removal works, here.
Find out if you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal, here.
Maintenance may still be needed after the laser removes most of a man’s hair
This method of hair epilation is only meant to permanently reduce hair growth by about 80-90%. That goes even for coarser, darker hair on light skin, which may respond very well to lasers. The only way to get 100% of your hairs removed forever is via electrolysis.
So, when a man wants all of their hair removed, they can get most of the way there with laser treatments. Thereafter, some shaving, waxing or tweezing will still be needed. However, hair maintenance will likely be much faster and less painful, given that there are much fewer hairs left to pull out.
For men who want that 100% smooth, hairless face or body, a good way to do that is to start with laser hair removal. Then, for the remaining hairs, seek electrolysis, which can target individual hairs one-by-one. This is a time-consuming process, and will go much slower than with laser hair removal.
Excessive hair removal treatments can sometimes result in hair-regrowth, which would be counterintuitive. So, use this method with caution, and stop while you’re ahead!
Male laser hair removal doesn’t have to be painful anymore
If you know anyone who underwent laser hair removal when it was a new and upcoming procedure, you’ve probably heard stories about how painful it was. That was true for the time, but it is not so anymore.
Modern laser hair removal machines have improved the ‘pain problem’ significantly. These days, some people feel next to nothing with each pulse. Others feel a slight pinch, like an elastic snapping against their skin.
Man hair may absorb more heat, if it is thick and coarse. It’s the heat that creates the sharp, ‘stinging’ effect. But heat absorption is also what makes the treatment more effective on this type of hair.
A good provider will be sure to avoid skin burns if you do feel an unreasonable amount of heat, though. Always pick a knowledgeable, quality, safe clinic for this type of treatment!
Still, if your pain tolerance is low, aesthetic technicians can use methods to reduce pain, such as numbing cream and ice packs, which can cool the area quickly.
Men need to follow safety procedures to avoid side effects, and to get good results from laser hair removal
We’ve written about common side effects of laser hair removal, as well as how to get the most out of these types of medical aesthetic treatments. The ‘rules’ here apply to men and women alike.
We encourage you to have a read of the following articles on our site, which explain more on this topic:
- Common laser hair removal side effects and how to fix them
- Before and after care: what you can do to get the best results from laser hair removal
- Here is what to know about facial laser hair removal for both men and women
- What is the best laser for hair removal? Get the treatment that’s right for you
Laser hair thinning or laser hair removal? The choice is up to you!
As we’ve seen above, laser hair removal for men can be flexible. It can remove most hairs (up to 90%), leaving people with easy hair maintenance at home. Men with folliculitis or irritated razor rash will love it for this reason – it can eliminate the root cause of these issues.
The other option is to use laser hair removal to thin the hair. This is so that it is still present, but not as thick.
And, given that ‘man hair’ is often thicker and darker than hairs on women, treatments may work effectively and quickly, too.
Men don’t need to worry about pain during the procedure as much they used to. Modern technology on the latest lasers don’t create that sensation anymore. However, men, like women, should follow all the safety protocols that are true for any type of laser hair removal. They should prepare properly, perform aftercare routines and choose a quality, doctor-led clinic to have their hairs removed.