Laser Hair Removal During Pregnancy – Is it Safe?

Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body, including the growth of unwanted hair in places where it never appeared before. Many women are tempted to wax or shave their new “peach fuzz”, but this is not always a viable option.

Laser hair removal involves exposing the skin to concentrated light energy. The laser clings to the dark pigmentation of the hair and damages the follicle.

Consultation with Healthcare Provider

Many clinics refuse to perform laser hair removal during pregnancy because they are concerned about the safety of the unborn baby. The reason for this is that the hormones of pregnancy can cause a change in the skin’s pigmentation and there is the possibility of permanent damage.

Additionally, the numbing creams used in laser treatment can enter into the breast milk. As a result, it is best to avoid these treatments until after you have stopped breastfeeding.

Pregnancy can also cause hair growth in places that never grew before, especially during the third trimester due to higher levels of estrogen and androgen hormones. This can make shaving a real chore, and it’s not always safe to use depilatory creams or waxing because of the chemicals they contain.

The safest way to deal with unwanted hair growth during pregnancy is to simply shave. There are other alternatives for getting rid of unwanted hair during pregnancy, including threading, plucking and waxing, but the most effective solution is a good old fashioned razor.

Hormonal Changes and Hair Growth

Many women experience increased hair growth during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. This is due to the higher levels of estrogen and androgen hormones. Some of this hair will go away once hormones return to normal after delivery, but some may remain permanent. This is another reason why we recommend waiting until after delivery to get laser hair removal.

Hair removal methods like shaving, waxing, and depilatory creams are safe for most pregnant women as long as they use a sensitive razor with gentle ingredients. However, these creams contain chemicals that could potentially be absorbed through the skin and reach the fetus. There are no studies that have been conducted on this issue, but it is best to wait until after delivery to use these products.

Another type of hair removal is electrolysis. This procedure involves inserting a small wire into the hair follicle and applying an electric current that destroys the follicle. It is not recommended for pregnant women, since the amniotic fluid can act as an electrical conductor.

Safety of Laser Exposure

The jury is still out on whether exposing a fetus to a laser beam could have unhealthy effects, but doctors typically err on the side of caution. During the pregnancy, the skin becomes more sensitive and can burn easily, which is a concern given that laser treatments often require multiple sessions. Hormonal changes can also increase the likelihood of skin darkening, or hyperpigmentation, and lasers are unable to distinguish between hair and pigmented skin, explains Westbay.

Additionally, some women find that they have issues with hair re-growth after pregnancy due to hormones stimulating dormant hair follicles or shortening the growth cycle. Lastly, it’s important to note that topical anesthetics used during a laser hair removal treatment are not considered safe for pregnant women. For all these reasons, it’s best to postpone laser treatments until after the baby is born. Luckily, there are many other effective ways to remove unwanted hair, including shaving, waxing and plucking.

Sensitivity and Discomfort

As your body goes through hormonal changes, some areas of the body tend to grow more hair. This is called telogen effluvium and generally returns to normal after delivery. Shaving, waxing or other hair removal methods may not be as effective in these areas because they are hard to reach when you are pregnant.

Having the extra hair growth in these areas can also be uncomfortable. Plus, the extra weight you gain can make your skin more sensitive to the slight pinch and heat that laser zapping usually involves.

It is not uncommon for women to feel achy or uncomfortable during their laser sessions. This is because the treatment targets the blood vessels and capillaries in the targeted area, which can cause some discomfort. You also have a compromised immune system when you are pregnant, which means any burns from laser treatments might take longer to heal and could lead to long-term scarring.

Postpone Until After Pregnancy

There are no long-term studies that demonstrate if laser hair removal is safe during pregnancy, so most doctors err on the side of caution and recommend waiting until after you have given birth. This is also true for other methods of hair removal like waxing and depilatory creams as well.

Women often experience an increase in hair growth on the belly, chin, face and breasts (especially around the nipples) during pregnancy due to erratic hormonal changes. While some of this unwanted hair growth will go away once hormone levels return to normal, other new hairs may stay.

Chemical-free methods of hair removal are a great option during pregnancy, including shaving, tweezing and waxing. However, many reputable laser hair removal clinics will refuse to treat expecting mothers due to the risk of harming an unborn baby.