Teen Laser Hair Removal: Is it Safe?

Teen Laser Hair Removal: Is it Safe?

When to start removing hair is one of the most precarious times in a young person’s life. Of course, there’s no written rule that you have to do anything with your underarm or leg hair. But let’s face it, kids can be cruel. Plenty of us have memories of being bullied for hairy legs in middle school, and the chances are, teens and tweens these days are facing even more social pressure. And these days, they want more permanent solutions. That’s left dermatologists seeing a rise in requests for tween and teen laser hair removal.

How old were you the first time you picked up a razor?

I was only 12 the first time I tried hair removal. My method of choice was Nair, and after coating my legs in a layer of noxious cream and washing my hands, I promptly got a chemical burn. In the end, I still had most of my leg hair and opted for razors from then on out, a lifetime of razor bumps and ingrown hairs ahead of me.

Compared to that experience, it’s hard to imagine that laser hair removal or even electrolysis could be worse. But plenty of parents are concerned by the growing trend and curious to know if it’s really as safe as it seems.

Featured Experts

  • Doris Day, MD is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York
  • Carolyn I. Jacob, MD is a board-certified dermatologist based in Chicago

Teen Laser Hair Removal

If your teen or preteen has skin like mine, shaving and hair removal creams aren’t really an option. Cuts, bumps and ingrown hairs are a common issue with shaving that for some can effect the entire shaved area no matter how hard you try. And chemical burns are absolutely no joke.

Waxing, while effective, requires the hair to be grown out first which a kid affected by peer pressure probably doesn’t want to do. That leaves laser hair removal.

“We treat teens and pre teens,” explains New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD. “The lasers are safe. As long as the area can be shaved and there’s no suntan, and they are willing to have the treatment, we’re fine doing it.”

The Ethics of Treating Teens and Tweens

While some parents are concerned about setting their kids on the path to aesthetic treatment early, Dr. Day points out that the toll of body hair can be especially difficult to deal with.

“Having excess hair can impact self esteem, especially at that age, since they can get teased by their peers,” Dr. Day explains.

If you know that you want to pursue laser hair removal treatments for the teen in your life, it’s important to know that not all practitioners are created equal.

“Because of its popularity, laser hair removal might seem like a procedure that anyone can do, but in the wrong hands, it can cause serious skin damage,” says Chicago dermatologist Carolyn I. Jacob, MD. “Since it’s not without risks, it’s important for people seeking laser hair removal to make sure that the person treating them is a physician. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the procedure, as a lot of misconceptions exist about what laser hair removal is and what it can and can’t do.”

Additionally, you may need to offer a bit of supervision to make sure that your teen ends up with the best results.

“Teens are not always the most responsible when it comes to skin care, so parents need to supervise their after-care regimen,” says Dermacare of Hampton Roads CEO Leon Garber. “Otherwise, your teen may experience side effects.”

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