Is Laser Hair Removal Safe During Pregnancy?

September 27, 2010 in Hair Removal 101,Laser hair removal

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With the influx of new hair and the difficulty of removing it, it is no wonder that pregnant women are among those who consider laser hair removal. Pregnancy hormones can cause more hair growth, and with a big belly it can be hard to reach certain areas of the body, such as the legs, and a decrease in balance can make it even harder to shave or wax as usual.

While laser hair removal is a safe procedure for healthy people, and can achieve excellent results in permanent hair reduction, pregnant women are among those who preferably should not undergo laser hair removal. Though there are no laws that prevent a pregnant woman from getting laser hair removal, the vast majority of practitioners will not agree to treat one, because there are no studies that evaluate the safety of laser hair removal during pregnancy. Even though experts are unsure if and how the laser would affect the fetus, they still recommend avoiding laser hair removal during pregnancy because of the lack of information. And this lack of information is the main reason practitioners are not willing to take any risks.

A laser is not likely to reach the fetus, as it does not work as an x-ray. A laser is believed to mainly target the hair, and any damage is done to the skin, as the laser does not penetrate deeper than a few millimeters. Still, most practitioners will not treat pregnant women. There is no evidence that laser hair removal is harmful to an unborn child but there also is no proof that it isn’t. There are no studies about how laser hair removal during pregnancy might affect the fetus, and this leaves many obstetricians with no option but to not recommend laser hair removal for their patients.

Many laser hair removal clinics also would not use numbing cream on a pregnant woman, because of the absorption factor, and this could make laser hair removal a less tolerable treatment. A pregnant woman is also likely to have more sensitive skin, which is just another reason laser hair removal may not be a comfortable treatment.

In rare cases, a laser hair removal practitioner might agree to treat a pregnant client if there is a written authorization from the clients OBGYN or other health care professional; however, since the affect of the laser on the fetus is unknown, it is simply best to wait. Those few who agree to treat a pregnant woman should stay clear of the stomach and breast area, just to be safe.

Overall, most practitioners will not treat a pregnant woman and will simply suggest that she comes back for laser hair removal after she has delivered. Good thing is that the extra hair is likely to decrease once the baby is born. And as always, a pregnant woman should discuss any treatments she considers with her OBGYN in order to ensure the complete safety of her unborn child.

Photo via Doede Boomsma

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