It’s no secret that pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in a woman’s body – and one of those changes can be an increase in unwanted hair growth.
While there are many hair removal options available, you may be wondering if laser hair removal is safe during pregnancy.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the topic of laser hair removal during pregnancy and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
Laser hair removal is a popular cosmetic procedure that uses targeted light energy from a laser to destroy hair follicles.
The energy is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair follicle, which then heats up and destroys the follicle. Over time, this results in reduced hair growth in the treated area.
The hair growth cycle
Before we address the safety concerns regarding laser hair removal and pregnancy, it’s important to understand the hair growth cycle.
Hair grows in three stages: anagen (growing), catagen (transitioning), and telogen (resting).
The anagen phase is known as the time of hair growth, when the hair follicle is largest, contains a lot of melanin, and is firmly attached to the root.
At this stage, the hair sticks out and becomes visible above the skin. The length of this phase depends on how long the hair eventually grows, usually at least 2-3 weeks.
In addition, the Anagen stage displays the hair’s darkest color, which helps in efficiently transferring heat energy from the laser to the hair follicle.
Laser hair removal targets hair during the anagen stage, where it is most vulnerable to destruction.
The transition stage of hair growth is commonly referred to as Catagen. During this brief period, the hair ceases to grow and the hair follicle reduces in size.
The follicle separates from the dermal papilla, which is responsible for providing it with nourishment. Subsequently, the dermal papilla undergoes regression.
Typically, this phase lasts only a few days.
In the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, laser hair removal proves to be entirely ineffective since the hair is not visible and has completely detached from the root.
The duration of this stage typically lasts 3 to 4 months and is followed by shedding of the hair shaft, before transitioning back to the anagen phase.
How Pregnancy Affects Hair Growth
During pregnancy, hormonal changes can have various effects on your body. Increased levels of estrogen and androgen can lead to the growth of hair in new places on your body, particularly during the third trimester.
You may suddenly notice hair appearing on your belly, face, neck, breasts, and arms…
Don’t be worried.
This is a common occurrence during pregnancy, and in most cases, the excess hair will naturally disappear after you give birth.
Pregnancy hormones not only influence where hair grows and how much of it you have to deal with, but they also alter the growth cycle of your hair.
Both the hair on your head and your body go through the anagen phase. Once the hair has fully grown, it enters the telogen phase, after which it falls out.
However, pregnancy hormones can delay the ‘falling out’ stage, which may explain why you notice thicker and fuller hair. Your body simply retains more hair than usual.
Around three to six months after giving birth, when your hormones return to normal, the excess hair will start to fall out. This sudden hair loss is known as telogen effluvium.
Considering the increased hair growth caused by estrogen and the challenges of reaching certain areas of your body as your belly grows, you might be wondering if laser hair removal is a viable option instead of shaving, waxing, or using depilatory creams.
Is Laser Hair Removal Safe for Pregnant Women?
While there is no definitive evidence suggesting that laser hair removal is unsafe during pregnancy, the medical community generally advise against it.
The primary reason for this is the lack of safety studies conducted on pregnant women and their fetus.
Additionally, laser hair removal can be uncomfortable, and pain management options that would ordinarily be available may not be safe for use during pregnancy.
Can laser Hair Removal Cause Infertility in Women?
Laser hair removal poses no risk of infertility because it solely targets the surface of the skin and hair follicles, without penetrating deeper into the body.
Therefore, concerns about the lasers reaching organs or ovaries are unproven.
Certain women may have concerns about lasers reaching their ovaries during bikini line treatments, but rest assured, this is an unfounded worry.
Even if such a scenario were possible, which it is not, it is important to note that lasers solely target pigment and have no impact on fertility.
However, it is crucial to receive laser hair removal from a qualified provider to minimize any potential risks to you and your unborn child.
(Book a free laser hair removal consultation at our medical aesthetic clinic near Ottawa)
Dr. Lian is certified by Cynosure – manufacturer of the Elite iQ laser – to provide advanced laser treatments, and offer medical-grade laser hair removal in Ottawa and the nearby municipalities of Embrun, Russell, and Casselman, Ontario.
Is It Safe to Get Laser Hair Removal While Breastfeeding?
Laser hair removal is usually considered okay during breastfeeding, but it’s important to be cautious, especially around the areola or breast tissue.
While there’s no clear evidence proving it’s unsafe, there’s also uncertainty about its safety. The procedure might cause some discomfort, often requiring numbing agents.
Since these agents can enter the bloodstream and might end up in breast milk, it’s better to avoid topical numbing all together.
For the best results, it’s recommended to delay laser treatments until 6 months after delivery to allow hormone levels to adjust back to their baseline, and allow for the natural shedding of hair to occur.
Hair Removal Alternatives for Pregnant Women
Fortunately, there are numerous hair removal alternatives deemed safe for use during pregnancy.
Waxing, plucking, and shaving all stand out as safe and effective choices for getting rid of unwanted hair.
Even though these methods might demand a bit more effort compared to laser hair removal, they are generally acknowledged as a safer option during pregnancy.
How Soon After Delivery Can You Schedule Laser Hair Removal?
You can book a laser hair removal session after having a baby. But, it’s important to let your body rest a bit after giving birth.
Also, your hormones need time to get back to normal. So, it’s a good idea to wait 4-6 months after having your baby before getting laser treatment.
Laser Hair Removal is Safe Except During Pregnancy
Overall, laser hair removal is a safe and effective cosmetic procedure for most people.
While laser hair removal can be a very effective treatment to remove unwanted hairs, pregnant women should err on the side of caution and opt for non-laser hair removal methods such as waxing, plucking, or shaving.
If you are interested in laser hair removal in Ottawa, Embrun, or neighboring cities, make sure to wait until after delivery and consult with your healthcare provider.
Feel free to contact our laser hair clinic near Ottawa today at 613-714-9899. Alternatively, schedule a free consultation session
Dr. Lian Peter, MD, MPH, CCFP, is a Family physician with a passion for aesthetics. In her aesthetic clinic, she provides a wide range of minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures, constantly honing her skills to deliver exceptional care and help patients attain their desired appearance.