Updated November 23, 2020Have you ever cut yourself shaving or burned yourself with hot wax and thought how great would it be to never have to remove unwanted hair again? Most of us get sick of shaving at some point, but at the same time, most of us probably don’t want the excess hair, either.Thankfully, there is a more permanent solution: laser hair removal. The laser removal process uses pulses of laser light to heat up hair follicles and hair bulbs, irreparably damaging the follicle to prevent new hair growth. While never shaving again might sound like a dream come true, it does come at a cost. Below, we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of the procedure.Pros of Laser Hair RemovalNo More Razor BurnOf course, this is a bit of an oversimplification, but if you wax, shave, or use chemical hair removal treatments on a regular basis, permanently eliminating hair will also eliminate the painful and unsightly side effects that come along with these more temporary methods. Wherever you have hair removed, you’ll never have to worry about hair removal-related nicks, razor burn, bumps, ingrown hairs, or rashes in the area again.Even better, you won’t have to worry about the most serious side effect of shaving: infections. The most common infection from shaving is staph (staphylococcus aureus). If you’ve ever heard the refrain “staph is everywhere,” that’s not too far from the truth. Staph bacteria covers many surfaces, likely including your razor blade, bathtub, and counters. Many people have staph on their skin as well.If staph cannot penetrate your skin’s barrier, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But if you give yourself an ingrown hair or a nick from shaving, staph can get into the cut and cause infection. Most of the time this is nothing more than a painful bump that takes a round of antibiotics to get rid of. However, if staph pushes deeper into your body, it can cause serious medical complications.Once completed, laser hair removal will help protect you from staph and other skin infections by cutting down on the opportunities for you to get ingrown hairs or cut yourself.ConvenienceOnce you’ve finished all your laser sessions and removed those unwanted hairs, you won’t have to waste much time thinking about them again. For people who spend a lot of time on hair removal, this can be a huge relief, especially if they do major areas that normally require more frequent shaving. For many people, a handful of maintenance sessions a year beats shaving every day or waxing every month.CostIt goes without saying, but razors are expensive. Six or eight bucks for a couple of pieces of metal and plastic? It’s a little crazy when you think about it. If you replace your razor as often as you should (once or twice a month, depending on how often you shave), this can really add up over a few decades. If you spend an average of $8 to $15 a month on razors, shaving will cost you $5,700 to well over $10,000 during your lifetime.Waxing and other hair removal methods are often no cheaper. And the price of these methods also doesn’t factor in the cost of water and time you spend removing hair. When all is said and done, five figures on unwanted hair removal is a lot, even if it is over your whole life.Cons of Laser Hair RemovalSide EffectsLaser hair removal treatments might give you the results you wanted once they’re over, but the procedure itself comes with side effects, some of them fairly serious. Mild side effects include:Pain (usually pretty minor)Temporary changes in skin colorBlisters or swelling of the skinSkin rednessMore serious side effects are rare, but they can happen. Most of the time, laser energy won’t do serious damage to skin, but sometimes it may create irritation that can cause scarring. Damaged skin is also more vulnerable to infection, so if you have sensitive skin or a compromised immune system, these are things your clinician should know before the procedure. You might also consider discussing them with your dermatologist before heading to the laser clinic. If you experience signs of infection like fever, blistering, puss-filled wounds, or red streaks around damaged skin, call your regular physician right away.TimeAgain, once you’re on the other side of it, laser removal can save you a ton of time. However, during the process, it can be a real time suck. The average session takes around 60 minutes. When you factor in drive time to the clinic, time spent in the waiting room, at the checkout counter, etc., each session can easily take up to 2 hours. Even though sessions should be spaced 4 to 8 weeks apart, 60 to 120 minutes is still a lot of time, especially considering it takes five minutes to shave.CostIn the case of laser treatments, cost is a double whammy. Shaving might cost you ten grand over a lifetime, but laser hair removal will cost you several thousand dollars right now. The minimum cost of each session hovers around $250, and if you’re doing large areas of your body, this cost will quickly shoot up to $600 or more. Factor in the fact that you’re going to need multiple treatments to get rid of all the hair and maintenance treatments to keep follicles from coming back, and any money you’re going to be saving on razors can quickly evaporate.Another thing to consider is your hair type. If your hair is abnormally thick or grows fast, you can wind up needing more treatments than the average 4 to 6 session package. If this is the case, it can ramp up the cost of laser removal to far more than what you’d ever spend on razors or waxing.Also, since getting the entire body done isn’t realistic for most people, you’ll still have to keep razors around to remove other hairs. You might need the occasional razor for stray hairs that escaped treatment since tweezing hairs can impact the efficacy of future laser sessions.Ultimately, you’re going to have to determine for yourself how much you’re spending on razors, waxing, water, time, and energy. Whether this cost outweighs the cost of laser hair removal is often a personal calculation.FAQsDoes hair ever grow back after removal?Normally, yes. Most people see 90 percent permanent hair reduction, but follicles can heal over time. When the hair follicle is completely destroyed, hair can never come back. However, when follicles are only damaged, the hair will eventually regrow. Hormone changes can also cause hair to grow back, and the normal aging process may cause you to grow hair in new spots—necessitating further treatments.Does laser hair removal hurt?It can, but most people report mild pain at worst. You might experience burning, stinging, or heat-related discomfort. Most laser clinics will provide a numbing cream to help with pain. If you’re worried about discomfort, talk to your hair removal technician about anesthetic options.How many laser hair treatments will I need?Laser treatments aren’t a “one and done” deal. Since not all your hairs are in the same place in their growth cycle, everyone will need multiple treatments to get them all. Most of the time, treatments come in packages of a few sessions. If you have hair of average fineness, you’ll probably get away with a single package of treatments, but coarser or thicker hair may need more.No matter your hair type, you’ll need maintenance treatments to maintain hairlessness. Your need for maintenance treatments may fade over time, but you can expect at least a few of them if you want to remain hair-free.Can I have my whole body lasered?Technically yes, full-body laser hair removal is an option. To gain the appearance of hairlessness, most people choose to do a list of “problem areas” rather than doing the entire body.However, if peach fuzz really bothers you, you can laser it off. Peach fuzz, or vellus hair, covers just about all of your body except the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. Vellus hair is fine, short, and without pigment, making it barely visible. So most people choose to do only the areas with thicker, darker hair instead.How should I prepare for my laser hair removal sessions?Your clinic will give you personalized instructions for preparation. But ironically enough, everyone has to shave the treatment area before lasering it. This is to keep the laser’s energy from going into an already grown hair rather than directly into the hair follicle itself. Make sure to shave the night before or the morning of your treatment to see the best results.Bottom LineIf you’re tired of shaving or feel it’s sucking up an inordinate amount of your life, laser hair removal can be a lifesaver. However, there are a lot of things to consider before you jump into the clinic chair. If you’ve got razor burn all the time or hate having to let your hair grow back between waxings, laser removal might be your best option.But if you aren’t ready to invest in laser hair removal or you don’t want to stick to a maintenance regimen that’s frequent enough to keep you hair-free, you might consider just hanging on to your razor.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.