Nausea, weight gain, ankle swelling – these are some of the common discomforts expectant mothers experience during their pregnancy. Hormonal changes in their body lead to unwanted hair growth in places they have never noticed before. By the third trimester when bending down to shave or wax becomes impossible, most women become desperate and start considering solutions like laser hair removal pregnancy. It is easier, more efficient, more permanent but is it a good idea?
Can you get laser hair removal while pregnant and is it safe for your baby? Let’s find out.
The Stages of Hair Growth
Before we dive into the effect of laser hair removal on pregnancy, it’s a good idea to go over some of the main stages of hair growth. It will help you understand how pregnancy could impact the hair removal process.
You most likely have noticed already that hair does not grow all at once. Each follicle goes through its own cycle. That is why you see new hairs pop up just a few days after you have waxed. That is not wax failing at its job and not pulling out the hair – it is simply hair that was not fully mature at the time of your waxing treatment.
There are three growth stages that your hair goes through:
Anagen is the stage of active growth. The cells are quickly dividing in the follicle to create new hair and make it grow longer.
Catagen is the intermediate phase during which the hair stops growing but does not fall out just yet.
Finally, during the telogen phase, the hair in the follicle dies out while a new hair starts to form underneath it, slowly entering into its own anagen stage.
However, things change slightly when you are expecting, which could impact the efficiency of getting laser hair removal while pregnant.
Laser Hair Removal and Pregnancy
As mentioned, most women experience seemingly increased hair growth during pregnancy. With all the hormonal changes happening during those nine months, it is not surprising that your hair and nails are different.
Your body will increase its estrogen and androgen production, which are the main culprits behind increased hair growth. These hormones impact the typical hair growth stages, prolonging the anagen (aka growth) phase and delaying the telogen (aka fall out) phase. Your body holds on to the hair longer than it should, leading to your hair appearing thicker.
Rest assured – it’s only temporary! While you might have some unwanted hair on your chin, belly and even breast, it should all go back to normal a few months after delivery.
In any case, it’s these changes to the anagen and telogen stages that can make laser hair removal pregnancy more complicated.
Laser Hair Removal Explained
At first glance, laser hair removal seems like a straightforward process – the laser burns off the hair and you are left with silky smooth skin. However, it is a bit more complicated than that.
Laser hair removal machines use a concentrated beam of light that doesn’t just singe off the visible hair. The energy from the light travels into your skin and down to the follicle, where it disrupts the anagen phase of hair growth.
Since darker colors attract light, the laser can easily target the melatonin in your hair and damage only the hair follicle, leaving your skin largely intact (especially when you have lighter skin and darker hair). Whether you’re using laser or IPL hair removal devices, the process is largely the same and it is only effective during the anagen stage.
Since pregnancy alters the typical stages of hair growth, laser hair removal pregnancy can often leave significantly poorer results. So, can you get laser hair removal while pregnant?
Laser Hair Removal Pregnancy
Although laser hair removal is generally considered to be a completely safe procedure, it is best not to do it while pregnant. While there is no reason to believe that laser hair removal while pregnant is unsafe, there is also no reason to believe it is.
Many pregnant women go through an array of laser procedures without complications – like removing kidney stones or genital warts. Unfortunately, though, no relevant studies have been done on the topic of laser hair removal pregnancy, so it is always best to err on the side of caution and avoid doing it.
Additionally, even if studies prove that laser hair removal is safe during pregnancy, it might not be your best option. The changes to the typical hair growth phases might make lasers ineffective at eliminating unwanted hair. You could end up spending a lot of money on a procedure that might not deliver the results you are looking for.
It might be uncomfortable to live with excess hair for several months, but it is in your and your baby’s best interest. Either get laser hair removal before pregnancy (if possible) or wait and do it after delivery.
Is IPL Safe While Pregnant?
Many at home laser hair removal devices use IPL technology instead of lasers, so you might be wondering if IPL is a safe alternative. Again, there is not enough data to provide you with a conclusion.
Even though IPL is less powerful, using broad spectrum light that produces different wavelengths, it is still relatively similar to laser hair removal and is therefore best avoided.
Safe Hair Removal During Pregnancy
Considering that lasers and IPL should be avoided, what is safe hair removal during pregnancy? Waxing or using epilators pose the same problems as laser hair removal in pregnancy – they eliminate hair during the anagen phase only. Since the anagen phase is prolonged, the results will be short lived.
Therefore, your best options would be to shave or go au naturel.
Handling increased hair growth during pregnancy can be a nightmare. Our advice to you would be to steer clear of laser hair removal pregnancy. To enjoy safe hair removal during pregnancy, rely on your trusty old razor or let nature take its course. You can always schedule your laser hair removal after your baby is born.