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Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal & PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) creates hormone imbalances affecting many bodily functions. One of the most common complaints by people with PCOS is excessive hair growth. Fortunately, you have a number of options for dealing with this problem.

Many common hair removal methods, like waxing and shaving, don’t work very well for people with PCOS. They are time-consuming and can be quite irritating. The delicate skin of the face and neck may be especially affected. Any results you do get don’t last very long.

Laser hair removal for PCOS is an effective technique for managing excessive, dark hair on the face and body. Because it targets the hair root, results can be much more impactful. Here’s what you need to know about PCOS and laser hair removal.

Does Laser Hair Removal Work for PCOS?

Yes. It’s a myth that laser hair treatment doesn’t work for people with PCOS. In fact, for many, this is their best solution to unwanted body hair. 

However, PCOS can affect how many sessions you need to get results–usually requiring more than usual. After treatment, you could enjoy months or even a year-plus of smooth skin without needing to do any maintenance.

Can Laser Hair Removal Be Performed on All Body & Facial Hair?

Close up of a Black woman receiving laser hair removal on her upper lip.

Laser hair removal can remove unwanted hair from anywhere on the face or body. Many people have gotten tired of waxing or shaving and turn to this treatment to manage hair on their:

It is also a popular solution for excessive hair growth that may be triggered by PCOS. In this case, people often request treatments targeting coarse, dark hair on their:

  • Upper lip
  • Chin and throat
  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Underarms

During your consultation, you can plan out which treatment areas will be included in your plan. You may even opt for full-body laser hair removal.

Is Laser Hair Removal a Permanent Solution?

One common misconception about laser hair removal and PCOS is that it’s permanent. The fact is, most forms of hair removal aren’t 100% effective or 100% permanent.

The hair on your body is resilient. Conditions like PCOS can make hair especially stubborn. You’re likely to experience more regrowth over time. However, laser hair removal is very long-lasting compared to methods like depilatories. Some people find that results last for a year or more before the regrowth needs to be retouched.

Laser hair removal works by damaging the hair root. Any hair that returns tends to be finer and lighter in color, and grows back slower. This can make regrowth much less troublesome. Touch-up treatments can go faster as there is less hair to target this time around. 

Overall, laser hair removal is a very low-maintenance option for PCOS-related hair growth.

Image of woman laying on a treatment bed in a medical office while a woman in white uses a laser on her abdomen to remove hair.

What Are the Benefits?

Laser hair removal offers dramatically longer-lasting results than traditional hair removal options. Some people with PCOS have to shave visible hair daily. The laser, meanwhile, can leave your skin hair-free for months. It’s also low maintenance, with only occasional touch-ups needed.

Treatment sessions are shorter than other long-term options like electrolysis. The laser can target multiple hair follicles at once. This makes it significantly faster than other treatments like threading.

Laser hair removal safety is one of the key benefits over other treatments. Waxing can irritate large sections of skin. Electrolysis may be much more uncomfortable. The laser, meanwhile, neatly targets just the hair root. Any side effects tend to be very mild.

This is one of the more comfortable hair removal options on the market. One of the big differences between electrolysis vs. laser hair removal is the pain tolerance required. Most patients only experience mild discomfort–if any–during laser hair removal. This is true even for sensitive areas like the bikini line.

Graphic showing a downward arrow with text that reads, “Get rid of hair”, followed by an upward arrow with text that reads, “Boost confidence”, and another upward arrow that reads, “Minimize upkeep”.

Potential Drawbacks of Laser Hair Removal with PCOS

It’s important to remember that laser hair removal isn’t a quick fix. It takes a number of treatments before you see the final results. If you stop before the course of treatment is done, your hair could regrow sooner than expected, and results could be spotty. 

These sessions can also take some time–likely six or more sessions over the course of several months–especially if you’re targeting large areas like the full legs.

Laser hair removal is an investment. It’s more expensive than a cheap pack of razors from the drugstore. However, you’ll also get much longer-lasting results. If you think about the total cost over a lifetime, laser treatments are a competitively priced option.

This procedure isn’t right for every hair type. There’s no laser that can treat white, grey, light blonde, very light red, or peach fuzz hair. However, laser advancements have made this a much more effective option for a variety of hair colors and skin types.

During the treatment, you may experience short-lived discomfort. It can range from a mild itch to the feeling of a rubber band snapping against the skin. You may notice reddened skin or pigmentation changes after the session.

These side effects are generally mild and fade quickly. It’s worth noting that there are lasers that cool as they treat, so you can enjoy a painless treatment.

What to Expect with Laser Hair Removal for PCOS

You generally start the process with a consultation. This determines if you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal. During the consult, you may be asked about your medical history, including PCOS. Be sure to mention any medications you’re taking to manage it.

Before the treatments, it’s a good idea to stay out of the sun and avoid self-tanner products. If you’ve used them, you’ll need to remove the self-tanner before the session. You may also be advised to trim or shave the targeted area a day ahead of treatment.

During a session, a trained professional will administer the laser over the targeted area. It will emit flashes of intense light that convert to heat. The light energy is absorbed by the melanin pigments in your hair. It then heats up your hair and damages the hair root.

Illustration showing laser hair removal with text that reads, “Individuals with PCOS usually need 6+ treatments.”

Very small areas may only take a few minutes to treat. Larger areas like the legs could take an hour or more.

You’ll need to be patient during the laser hair removal stages. At any given time, only some of your hair follicles are actively growing. These are the ones that can be affected by the laser. This is why you’ll need multiple treatments that are spread out over weeks.

People with PCOS may need more treatments overall. However, even people with PCOS can achieve great results with a few extra sessions.

Is Laser Hair Removal the Best Option?

There aren’t many options on the market for long-term hair removal. Most of these target the follicle directly with electricity or heat. 

Electrolysis uses an electrical current passed through a fine needle. This slower, meticulous process affects one hair at a time. Meanwhile, IPL and laser hair removal use an intense light that heats the hair, damaging the root.

You can also get certain prescription creams. When applied twice a day over a long period of time, they can affect the enzymes that trigger hair growth. This option doesn’t require you to go regularly to a hair removal clinic. However, you will need to go to your doctor. The creams can also cause acne and skin irritation.

Of course, you can stick with waxing, shaving, or threading, but as mentioned, they require frequent maintenance, and hair regrows much quicker.

Graphic featuring text that reads, “Approximately 65–75% of people with PCOS have hirsutism. Source: National Library of Medicine”.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Hair Removal Method

There’s a lot to consider when deciding whether laser hair removal or another method is best for you, including:

  • Your hair color. Some methods are less effective on light hair or if your hair is a similar color to your skin.
  • Your budget. Consider the cost per session, how many sessions you need, and the price of future touch-ups.
  • Your timeline. Many long-term hair removal methods take months to be totally effective. If you have a big event coming up soon, you may not get the results you’re hoping for in time.
  • Your medical history. Some conditions or medications might make you photosensitive or interfere with prescription creams.
  • Your priorities. Your personal priorities are the biggest factor to consider. For example, are you more concerned with saving money right now, or do you want convenience?

If you’re considering laser hair removal or any other long-term treatment, it’s always important to get a consultation first to determine whether you’re a candidate and if it’s well-suited to your goals. An expert can evaluate you and give their professional opinion on which option would be the best fit.

Get Started with Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is one of the most effective methods of managing excess hair caused by PCOS. It can target unwanted hair growth all over the body, not just on the face. This method of hair removal may require light touch-ups over time. It’s still considered very low maintenance compared to other popular options.

However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. How do you choose the right hair removal strategy? You’ll need to consider your hair color, health conditions, and other factors like your budget.

At LivSmooth, PCOS laser hair removal treatments are administered by certified Nurse Practitioners. Our whole team specializes in just this procedure, so you’re in highly experienced hands. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation. We’d love to help you achieve smooth skin with minimal maintenance.


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