Can I Use Laser to Reduce Hair Instead of Removing Completely?

I have really dense facial hair that looks more like black paint on my face. Can I use laser hair removal to reduce the number of hair or thin them down to make it less dense, maybe with fewer sessions. I've heard hair grows in cycles - maybe if some hair are in the right one cycle only those will be removed. If this is plausible will the reduction be uniform or will it be patchy? Can I see the session by session photos of a male beard removal so I can see the reduction progress for myself?

Doctor Answers 6

Partial laser hair removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A permanent and significant reduction of hair can occur with approximately 6 laser hair removal treatments using a medical-grade laser. At the same time, if not wanting an almost complete removal, you can reduce hair or thin out hair by doing 2-3 treatments at lower settings.

Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Hair Laser Can Be Used for Hair Removal or Hair Reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hair lasers are used for permanent reduction of unwanted hair. Many men do not want complete removal but just an even reduction in the density of hair - for example, in the beard region or on the back. This is possible to achieve with a series of laser treatments. You should discuss your objectives with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon before starting treatment. 

Hema Sundaram, MD
Fairfax Dermatologic Surgeon

Laser hair removal may reduce density without complete remo al

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Laser hair removal requires a series of treatment because only those hairs in a growing phase are effected. Some hairs are partially inhibited and grow back as finer hairs. If the initial response is patchy only the more dense areas of persistent growth can be targeted. If a low treatment setting is used there is the potential of stimulating hair growth instead of inhibiting so lower settings must be used with caution​

Richard Fitzpatrick, MD (in memoriam)
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

Can Laser Hair Removal Just Thin the hair?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi Emarr.  We have been asked this many times and our answer is always that it will look patchy.  When done correctly, laser hair removal is going to remove a very high % of hair in the area treated even after 1 or 2 visits.  We see our patients coming back and looking patchy after 1 visit and this is what is desired in most cases.  We would not recommend it unless you want to tell the practice to purposefully turn down the energy to achieve less result.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Beard Laser Hair Removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for this question. Yes, this is a very common request. The hair will slowly be reduced with serial laser hair removal. Make sure not to shave before you come in for treatments, antisipate a slight irritation to the skin after treatment for just a few days and please no tanning or tanning sprays before your treatments. Best,


Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon

Laser Hair Reduction vs Removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question. Laser hair removal can give  permanent hair reduction up to 80-90%.  It may take more than 6 treatments every 4-6wks to see maximum reduction.  During the laser hair removal process, you may notice patchiness.  I would recommend being treated under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon for safest and best treatment option. I hope this helps.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.