Laser Hair Removal at Home: Does It Actually Work? Experts Weigh In (2024)

If you're in the market for removing body hair, there are several options to consider: shaving, waxing, and laser are among the most common. And out of all of them, it's unsurprising that laser may sound the most appealing because of its efficacy and (semi) permanence. In fact, 1 million people underwent laser hair removal procedures in 2018, according to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But, there are a few caveats as well such as the hefty price tag that comes with it.

One session of laser hair removal can cost hundreds of dollars, and some people will need almost a dozen sessions to reduce their hair. Which leads us to the idea of at-home laser hair removal. A DIY device costs a fraction of the price of an in-office treatment and you can do it in the comfort of your own home. Sounds almost too good to be true. That's why we went to dermatologists Marisa Garshick and Blair Murphy-Rose. They shared everything you could ever want to know about this high-tech at-home hair-removal innovation.

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Marisa Garshickis a leading board-certified dermatologist. Dr. Garshick provides a wide variety of cosmetic and medical procedures and services including treatments for acne, eczema, hyperhidrosis, psoriasis, rosacea, signs of aging, skin cancer, vitiligo, and wrinkles.
  • Dr. Blair Murphy-Roseis a board-certified cosmetic, medical and surgical dermatologist who specializes in facial rejuvenation, advanced laser procedures, non-invasive body contouring and is an expert in treating medical conditions such as skin cancer, acne, and eczema.

What Is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal works as follows: A laser is aimed at your hair follicle and the pigment in your hair absorbs the light, which subsequently destroys it. At-home laser hair works in the same way. A futuristic-looking device emits a laser pulse that targets your hair follicle, heats it up, and prevents it from growing new hair.

"Laser hair removal can be a very effective treatment for not only hair removal but importantly preventing ingrowns and the bumps they cause," says Dr. Murphy-Rose.

Who Can Use an At-Home Device?

Technically anyone, but similarly to professional lasers, the best candidates are those with fair to medium skin tones with thicker, dark hairs. This is because the lasers target pigment, so darker hairs are more easily detectable. Additionally, there may be concern over someone with more melanated skin using a laser, which is why it's best to consult with a professional regarding the use of an at-home treatment. That being said, no matter who uses it, they will likely need to use it more than once or twice. "While laser hair removal can be long-lasting, it’s important to note that it isn’t permanent and maintenance may be needed," Dr. Garshick notes.

How Do You Use It?

It depends on the at-home laser treatment, but generally, you would point the device wherever you’d like to inhibit hair growth, allow it to target your hair follicle, and move to another area. Each area requires a certain number of zaps (or pulses, which sounds less intimidating). The Tria 4X comes with its own pulse counter, which helps you track the number of pulses per body part so you know when you’ve effectively treated the area.

And depending on your results, you'll likely need to complete several rounds of treatments. But, of course, when you have the device at your disposal, it's not as much of a hassle to fit in a zapping session every now and then.

Where Can You Use It?

Basically, anywhere you would get an in-office laser treatment—legs, arms, bikini area, underarms, upper lip, stomach, feet, hands…the list goes on. One thing to note: If you have a low pain tolerance, it might be best to stick to smaller areas like your underarms or bikini area, since the feeling of using a laser has been described as “a rubber band snapping against your skin.”

How Long Do Results Last?

According to Dr. Garshick, "The results can last anywhere from months to years." That being said, she adds, "Since the at-home devices are not as powerful as in-office treatments, they may require more treatments to see desired results and still may not be as effective as in-office treatments."

At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices

The Tria Hair Removal 4X($499) is the first FDA-cleared at-home hair-removal laser that uses a diode laser (the same brand, albeit a lower strength, that a dermatologist would use if you went in for an in-office treatment).

Other at-home laser kits like the RoseSkinCo IPL Laser Hair Removal Handset ($149) promise permanent hair reduction after three treatments and are great for both large and small areas of hair removal. Another at-home option, the Silk'nInfinity Hair Removal Device ($429), uses home pulsed light (aka HPL)technology, which the company says is superior to lasers and IPLbecause of its wide spectrum ofwavelengths, larger spot size, and lower pain levels.

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Laser Hair Removal at Home: Does It Actually Work? Experts Weigh In (2024)
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