Why You Shouldn’t Do At-Home Laser Hair Removal

Why You Shouldn’t Do At-Home Laser Hair Removal

Do you know what bathroom surgery is?

Bathroom surgery are the terms used when people often try to remove splinters, moles, ingrown toenails, ingrown hair, sebaceous cysts and skin tags in the bathroom. With the exception of shaving, home removal methods of removing hair is equivalent to bathroom surgery.

People use needles, scissors or sometimes knives for bathroom surgery. It is unsterile. Many times, they make it worse. Infections, scarring, and leaving part of the problem behind often result from these attempts.

You’ve probably heard of people trying to perform abortions on themselves in a bathroom, which usually are a total disaster. Performing laser surgery on yourself is not any better, in my opinion.

Think this over before you buy that home laser machine. You will be operating on yourself.

You cannot be the laser surgeon and be the patient. It’s a paradox. A paradox is a self-contradictory statement.

It’s like when a stripper calls herself Chastity.

You cannot be both the patient and the doctor and expect satisfactory laser hair removal results. It’s not like cutting hair or your nails. In the wrong hands, a laser can cause some serious damage.

Consider the following before you invest in a home laser hair removal machine.

You have:

  1. No experience
  2. No training
  3. No knowledge of the risks
  4. You are going to be your first case if you try it…

Would you want a medical intern who never did an operation in their life operating on you?

Of course not.

Why would you put yourself in that situation as both the inexperienced intern and the guinea pig?

There is no good data discussing the case volume that is required to become competent or an expert at performing laser hair removal at home.

Would you fix your own … Toothache? Broken bone? Blood clot?

How about some straight talk?

The main reason that you are considering doing laser or some type of hair removal at home is to save money.


The real question is –

Are you really going to save money using At-Home Laser Hair Removal?

Consider some things that you may not have considered.

  • The cost of the equipment is many hundreds of dollars.
  • Chances are very good that you will not use it more than a few times.
  • You may hurt yourself.
  • It won’t work.

Do-It-Yourself Is a Bad Idea When Medical Treatment Like Laser Is Involved

I strongly recommend that any cosmetic procedure should be researched carefully. That includes checking reviews of the business, the laser device and always speaking to your doctor first. Your doctor can tell you whether it would be safe to use considering your medical history and the medications that you are currently taking.

Some medications such as tetracyclines, sulfonamides, chloroquine, some cancer fighting drugs, heart drugs like nifedipine and amiodorone cannot be used when you are having laser hair removal.

Diuretics such as Lasix and thiazides, as well as acne medications like Accutane and antidepressant medications are just a few. Diabetics must not take Diabenaese, Micronase, Diabeta, or Glynase before laser hair removal.  Here is a short-list of some of the most common medications that you should not take while having laser treatments to remove hair.

How To Avoid a Financial Laser Hair Removal Minefield

You must realize at the get go that the companies who make these home lasers for hair removal and other home hair removal gizmos must turn the energy down to make them safe. Lower energy means less effective.

The chances are very good that you will waste your money and your time attempting something that should be done by professionals.

These home laser hair removal machines are not cheap. In general, they run between $500 to $1000 dollars. The most popular is called the Tria. It is a diode laser. Lasers were designed to be used by medical professionals for good reason.

The reason is that the laser is a medical instrument. It works by burning the hair follicle. The medical term for that is photothermolysis.

The laser is not a magic wand. Is it possible that you aren’t taking this whole thing seriously enough?

Because it is very hot and burns the hair follicle, it hurts. A lot. The chances are good that you will eventually abandon this if you try do-it -yourself home laser hair removal.

From reading reviews on Amazon, be aware that there are complaints about the return policies of these home lasers. These policies can be confusing. There is a short window of time for returns. Depending on the company from whom you purchase these lasers, the return policy and the guarantees vary widely.

To keep from being burned twice, be careful of the return policy and read it carefully at the time of purchase. If not, you will have wasted many hundreds of dollars.

Why Do Home Laser Hair Removal Machines Hurt So Much?

Lasers in medical offices use a cooling cryogen gas sprayed microseconds before the laser fires. Cryogen momentarily freezes the area making the laser heat more manageable in the professional office setting.

The companies that make these home lasers purposely turn the energy down so that you will have a smaller chance of hurting yourself. That’s what they hope. People still are burned.

However, turning the energy down also makes it much less effective compared to professional laser hair removal done in the safety of a doctor’s office.

Most people still say that these home lasers hurt like the Dickens.

Please Pay close attention to the next point about laser hair removal numbing cream.

If you attempt to use numbing creams over large areas of your body, you can die. There have been numerous reports of people dying from using too much numbing cream on the way to having laser hair removal performed.

Why Are Home Lasers So Slow?

Home lasers have a very small head or tip that delivers the laser energy.

You have to spend a lot of time to cover even a small area. You have to repeat these treatments many times. It’s not permanent hair removal after one or two treatments.

What if you are tan?

That’s a big contraindication. You are not experienced to know when your skin is too dark for a laser treatment. Even though we tell people not to come for a laser treatment when they are tan, they still do. You are not knowledgeable enough to know what the cut-off is for a safe treatment that won’t result in a burn.

What if you are Indian? Some people of Indian descent are too dark for laser hair removal to work with the home diode lasers.

What if you are Asian? You must be very, very careful. Asians have more pigment than Caucasians! The chance for a burn or a scar is higher when your skin contains more pigment.

Men can try home laser but instructions warn them to be very careful. That is because men’s hair is usually coarser than women’s hair. Coarse hair is more resistant to the laser and requires more treatments and more laser energy.

Because laser hair removal at home is so slow and painful, it is impractical to use them on any anything but a small area. Because of the burning and scarring risk, be especially careful when using these home lasers on your face.

Five Tips To Save You Money:

  1. Don’t use Groupon.   Learn more about Groupon for professional laser hair removal.
  2. Don’t try to do it yourself.  DYI is good for some things but not medical procedures like laser hair removal.
  3. Go to an experienced professional.  You will save money in the end when laser hair removal is done in a medical office.
  4. Don’t cheap out. You’ll just end up shooting yourself in the foot.
  5. Don’t have it done in a strip mall, in a random med spa, by a chiropractor or anyone outside of a true medical environment.

I get it.

You’re trying to save money. The sad fact is you will just learn the hard way that you will just be wasting your hard-earned money if you try to use a laser at home that isn’t strong enough to do the job.

More Do-It-Yourself Hair Removal Methods

1. Depilatory Creams 

As a medical doctor, I cannot endorse or support the use of any of the depilatory creams.  These creams are very caustic to the skin. There is nothing natural or organic about them. They contain harmful and powerful chemicals.

Some patients come to see us after they have tried these depilatories unsuccessfully. In many cases, their skin is damaged. This prevents or delays future laser hair removal.

2. Home waxing

Here are words to consider if you are thinking about waxing at home.

  • Hot
  • Messy
  • Painful
  • Infection

Even waxing at a salon is like torture. Especially since the hair grows right back.

Why would anyone even consider a waxing membership? Seriously.

3. Home Machines That Burn Hair or Use Intense Pulsed Light

Intense pulsed light is very similar to laser. The only difference is that the light is not as focused as laser light.

Intense pulsed light has even a tougher learning curve. Doctors have switched from intense pulsed light because it took much longer to master as compared to laser.

I can tell you as an experienced doctor who has used intense pulsed light for over fifteen years that the learning curve is tougher than with laser. There is a very thin line between effectiveness and complications with intense pulsed light.

I am very experienced using intense pulsed light and it is much trickier to use IPL as compared to laser.

How do you even know if you are a candidate? What if you spend $700 to $1000 and find out your hair is too light or your skin is too dark for this expensive machine to work? What is their return policy? Is there a guarantee?

What about pubic hair, arm hair, leg hair or back hair? The advice from some people who have used these home hair removal gizmos is to turn down the energy. That’s ridiculous. That will be even more ineffective. Large areas will literally take hours to treat each time. You will need many more treatments.

4. Other Home Laser Machines That Burn the Hair Off

NO NO is the most well known home hair removal machine that doesn’t use a laser. You may have seen their ads on TV.

It just burns the hair off. How about that? The No No that burns the hair off your face. Guess what else can be burned?

That’s right, your skin.

To top it off people say that it is really quite painful.

Their name says it all if you are considering purchasing their product. NO NO!

It always leaves a stubble. Thousands of consumer complaints state that it is very slow and annoying. The burnt hair smell is hard to take. The hair grows right back like after you shave. At least after you shave, there’s no stubble.

Oh, by the way, there is no “Off” button. That doesn’t sound very safe.

People have said it is tedious to use. You are directed to move it a quarter inch per zap. It takes forever to do a patch of hair. Again, dark skin is a contraindication. How dark is too dark? You don’t know.

Make sure you have a high pain tolerance or are a stoic if you buy No No.


People who try these do-it-yourself gizmos end up frustrated and disappointed that the lost money on these crappy “investments”.

These home laser machines are not as powerful as professional lasers. If they were, you would need a license and training to operate it.

Make that sure you have a high pain tolerance if you decide to try laser hair removal at home.

Read the return policy carefully since they vary depending on where you purchase them.

My advice is just save yourself a lot of money, time and aggravation. Go to a medical office to have your laser hair removal performed by an experienced professional.

That is what why we suggest that you consider having your laser hair removal treatment with us. Pay less and have your laser hair removal performed in the doctor’s office that has the most experience in the city!

Call us at 724-969-0600 or contact us here.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

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