Is Laser Hair Removal Treatment During Pregnancy Safe?

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Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy may lead to excess hair growth around your breasts, belly, and face (1). While various temporary hair removal procedures are available, many women may consider laser hair removal treatment during pregnancy.

Laser hair removal is a technique for permanent hair removal. It may help you save time since you do not have to remove hair repeatedly. However, certain safety concerns may be associated with its use, especially during pregnancy.

This post will provide you with crucial information on laser hair removal while pregnant, as well as the dos and don’ts that come with it.

Is It Safe To Undergo Laser Hair Removal When Pregnant?

Generally, laser hair removal is not done on pregnant women. The effects of laser procedures were studied in pregnant rats, and the results showed some adverse effects. These studies were published in Lasers In Gynecology by Gunther Bastert and Diethelm Wallwiener.

The US FDA approved laser hair removal and skin treatments in the 1990s (2). Since then, there are no research studies showing or concluding if the treatments have adverse effects on pregnant or non-pregnant women.

In the absence of research and due to the non-availability of information on the negative consequences of this procedure on a pregnant woman and her growing baby, most doctors and clinicians suggest postponing laser hair removal procedures until after the delivery. It is better to be safe when you are pregnant and avoid these methods.

Some reputable clinics use laser procedures on pregnant women but avoid the breast, abdominal, and bikini areas.

Doctor’s Speak

1. How can laser hair removal affect pregnancy?

Since we do not have enough evidence and clinical studies on laser treatment during pregnancy, we cannot be sure about the effects of laser on pregnancy. One ought to have minimum interventions and medicines during pregnancy to ensure optimum care of the mother and fetus. Studies are underway and a conclusive statement on the safety profile can be given only in the near future.

2. Can we get laser hair removal done at the bikini area while pregnant?

As mentioned above, laser treatment during pregnancy is not recommended due to its unknown effects on developing fetus and mother. It works by causing thermal damage to hair follicles and hence there is always a probable risk to the woman and her child theoretically, especially in sensitive zones like bikini area. Hence, it is best to avoid during pregnancy.

Answered by: Dr Srishti Tripathi

Consultant Dermatologist
Paras Bliss, Panchkula

How Do Laser Hair Removal Treatments Work?

Laser treatments involve the use of non-ionizing radiation that sends concentrated light rays into your unwanted hair follicles. These powerful light rays might destroy your hair follicles, thereby removing the excess hair (3). Light waves penetrate a few millimeters into the skin without causing any cell mutation. Though this is known to remove excess hair from your body, there is no clear evidence on how it affects the pregnant woman and fetus.

What Are The Possible Concerns Of Laser Hair Removal Treatments?

  • Laser hair removal treatment uses non-ionizing radiation. This technique produces intense heat to remove the unwanted hair from its roots. It does not cause any cell mutation. The laser light beams could penetrate your skin for only a few millimeters. However, the non-iodizing radiation may be absorbed by the surrounding tissue in the area. Doctors are not sure about how this may affect your unborn baby.
  • For some pregnant women, laser hair treatment might cause mild pain, so medical professionals use numbing creams. This cream is not recommended during pregnancy as your body could absorb anything applied to the skin.
  • Your skin is likely to get sensitive when you are pregnant. The laser hair removal treatment may cause pain, redness, or irritation, leading to further skin problems.
  • The length and number of treatment sessions depend on your hair growth cycle. But the change in hormonal levels during pregnancy may sometimes shorten the hair growth cycle or stimulate dormant hair follicles. Therefore, some women might experience quick hair re-growth while they are pregnant.
  • Hormonal changes may cause changes to melanin production, causing the treatments to be more painful and less effective.
  • Laser zapping may cause cramps, especially when done on lower abdomen and thighs.
  • The treatment is uncomfortable when performed on sensitive breasts and bikini area in the later stages of pregnancy.
  • You should consider the length of the treatment, which could take six to 12 months. This also means that you may need to continue the treatment until the later part of your pregnancy. Your skin and various parts of the body might get more sensitive in the later stages. This could make the process extremely uncomfortable. Also, lying down or sitting for these procedures might be difficult during the advanced stages of your pregnancy.

Should You Postpone Laser Hair Removal Procedure If You Become Pregnant?

If you are already in the middle of laser hair treatment when you conceive, it is good to postpone the procedure until after delivery. You could always opt for alternative hair removal methods. Even if you keep the procedure on hold, it may not hinder the progress achieved in the initial sessions.

Your doctor could help decide whether to continue or postpone the treatment during pregnancy. You should also talk to them about the safety of alternative hair removal methods such as electrolysis, waxing, and shaving.

Are Other Hair Removal Methods Safe During Pregnancy?


It is a painful method of hair removal, and there are no studies that prove its safety during pregnancy. Galvanic electrolysis uses a minute electrical current to destroy the hair follicles (4). The amniotic fluid protecting your fetus may be affected as it is a good conductor of electricity. Therefore, most doctors suggest avoiding this treatment until your baby is born.


You could go for waxing but with caution during pregnancy. As your skin is likely to be sensitive, waxing may lead to bruises. However, some women find this more efficient and easier than other treatments. This may not have any potential adverse effect on the unborn baby.

Creams and depilatories

They contain ingredients like calcium thioglycolic acid and barium sulfide powder that might destroy the hair (4). There is no clear evidence to vouch for their safety or harmfulness. However, the strong odor of the chemicals may cause a problem during pregnancy if you are quite sensitive to smells. The creams might also irritate the skin.


Shaving is the convenient and cheapest option of hair removal during pregnancy. There is no need for lasers, current, or harsh chemicals. Still, you must be careful while shaving. You could seek your partner’s help as it would be difficult for you to reach lower areas to shave. Make sure that you use shaving equipment (razors, clippers) with caution if you have varicose veins.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is IPL (intense pulsed light system) safe during pregnancy?

IPL is one of the latest technologies to help remove unwanted hair completely. It is likely to be less effective than laser since the energy is produced by a small light bulb which might produce a variety of less powerful and more diffusing light waves. It is limited to use only on fairer skin.

There is no evidence about the safety of IPL on pregnant women. Therefore, it is better to wait until your delivery to get an IPL treatment. The hormonal changes during pregnancy might alter skin pigmentation, and they are unpredictable.

2. Can a woman get laser hair removal when breastfeeding?

Laser hair removal is not recommended while you are breastfeeding as well. Though there is no scientific evidence showing a link between the treatment and the harm they may have on your baby, it is better not to undergo any radiation treatments during this phase. Also, some medical specialists may not allow you to go for laser hair removal procedures while breastfeeding because the nursing mother might still have a body full of hormones, which could cause side effects.

Also, the laser treatment while breastfeeding might alter the melanin production in the body, and it may lead to hyper or hypo pigmentation. The numbing creams like topical anesthetics applied to soothe the pain after laser procedure could enter the milk through your bloodstream. So, it might be preferable to postpone laser skin treatments until after you have stopped breastfeeding due to a lack of research on the safety of laser use amongst nursing mothers.

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to notice changes in their hair growth due to hormonal changes. Pregnant women may consider getting laser hair removal done to eliminate the hassle of removing the excess hair on their bodies repeatedly. However, further research is required to establish the safety of laser treatment for hair removal during pregnancy. Therefore, it is best to avoid laser treatment while pregnant. If you are trying to conceive, you can get laser hair removal done before getting pregnant.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Rita V. Vora et al.; Pregnancy and Skin; J Family Med Prim Care (2014)
2. Guidance on the Content and Organization of a Premarket Notification for a Medical Laser; U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2018)
3. Removing Hair Safely; U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2018)
4. Donald W. Shenenberger And Lynn M; Removal of Unwanted Facial Hair; American Academy of Family Physicians (2002)
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Dr Sachchidananda Maiti

Dr Sachchidananda Maiti is a practising Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician in Manchester, UK both in the National Health Service (NHS) and in private care at Pall Mall Medical. He has had decades of clinical experience in the UK and abroad. He specializes in managing high risk early pregnancy complications and a variety of gynaecological conditions using ultrasound scan, colposcopy, laparoscope... more

Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She has been into health and wellness writing since 2010. She received her graduate degree in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig... more