Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Expert FAQ: Dealing With Excess Body Hair

Body Hair Can Sometimes Be Unsightly, Sometimes Unhealthy

How can I get rid of excess body hair? continued...

And since each hair follicle must be treated repeatedly, it can result in an exaggerated pore size or dilated pores that are permanent.

  • Laser hair removal devices for at-home use: These devices can be expensive and have a number of limitations. They are only approved for use on limited areas of the body and cannot be used for facial hair.

They can require a lot of treatment time, so they work best for smaller areas such as the underarms. If used improperly, the device can burn or blister the skin, or even cause blindness. If you have dark skin tones, they can cause your skin to become either darker or lighter.

  • Over-the-counter hair removal creams: These are the most tedious and least effective of the temporary hair removal options. They can irritate and burn the skin, and results only last about a week or two on average.
  • Bleaching: This technique requires upkeep every one to two weeks to keep coarse, dark hair faint and less noticeable.
  • Plucking/waxing: These remove hair for an average of one to three weeks, but can cause side effects. Plucking can cause ingrown hair or folliculitis (acne-like bumps). Waxing can cause temporary burns or skin irritation and should be done professionally.
  • Shaving: This requires daily upkeep and in some cases may be needed twice a day, if you experience a “5 o’clock shadow” effect with hair growing back by the evening hours.

How do the costs of the various procedures compare?

Though no formal studies have been conducted, laser hair removal would likely overall be less expensive. It offers permanent reduction, while temporary treatments will carry a continued cost over time. And it requires fewer treatments overall compared with electrolysis, the only other method of permanent hair removal.

For laser hair removal, the average cost to treat a small region (upper lip, chin) is $150 to $250 per treatment; a medium region (underarms, bikini) between $300 and $450 per treatment; and large regions (back, legs) approximately $1,000 per treatment.

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site HONcode Seal AdChoices