Laser Hair Removal while breastfeeding
It is common for pregnant women to experience excess hair growth in unwanted areas, and understandably want it removed.
It’s been four months since the birth of your baby. You’re doing well, and so is he! You’re getting into a rhythm, and life is starting to feel a bit normal. You even have time for some self-care – maybe some visits to the gym, maybe an occasional massage, maybe a shower! But you’re wondering if it’s okay to have laser hair removal while breastfeeding.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal sessions uses selective photothermolysis. This concept requires a specific wavelength to match a set pulse duration meant to achieve a desired result. Here, we are looking at hair growth reduction from damaging the hair follicle.
Indeed, the light energy produced by the laser will target the hair pigment. Then, it will travel all the way down the hair to the follicle, where this energy will become thermal energy. The heat will cauterize the blood vessel feeding the follicle, damaging it and making it improper for any more hair production.
Laser hair removal treatments only works when the hair growth is in the anagen phase of growth. Indeed, it is the only time hair and follicle connect, allowing the energy to travel from the former to the later. Unfortunately, only 20% of your hair is in the anagen phase of growth at any point in time. Thus, one session will treat up to 20%. The other sessions will treat the remaining hair.
As of right now and according to the FDA, laser hair removal does not qualify as a permanent hair removal method. It is described as a long-term hair growth reduction method. However, a lot of our patients at Infinity Laser Spa do experience permanent hair removal.
It is common for pregnant women to experience excess hair growth in unwanted areas, and understandably want it removed. Although the pain of waxing might not be something you'd jump at while enduring some of the other aches and pains associated with pregnancy. In addition, pregnancy disrupts your normal hair growth cycle. For laser hair removal to be effective, you could need as many as six treatments. Ideally, these treatments would take place during the active growth phase of the cycle.
When hair grows it is in an active phase called anagen. When the hair is fully grown it enters a resting stage called telogen, pregnancy hormones delay this stage so hair appears thicker. After birth this hair will shed as it enters the catagen stage. It can take up to 6 months or even longer for hormone levels to rebalance
Is Laser Hair Removal Treatment Safe If I Am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
During pregnancy and breastfeeding hair growth and skin changes are common. Increased amounts of hormones are the culprit for the annoying skin and hair problems. Because of these changes, women often desire laser hair removal or skin treatments during these times.
Laser for hair removal and skin treatments have been approved by the FDA since the late 1990's. Since this time no studies have proven that laser hair or skin procedures are unsafe for pregnant or non pregnant women.
Will Laser hair Removal Affect My Baby? While there is no link connecting Laser Hair Removal to negative effects on pregnant or lactating women, there is likewise no evidence to guarantee it is a safe treatment method during this time.
Are there any studies about laser hair removal and breastfeeding?
There have been studies on pregnant rats that have shown negative effects, but incidental human exposure to laser procedures during pregnancy has not proven harmful. However, because there are no long-term studies and due to the delicate nature of pregnancy it has been recommended by most professionals that laser hair removal be postponed until after the birth of the baby. As a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) I would have to agree with this recommendation. It is best to err on the side of caution
There are no studies about laser hair removal and breastfeeding infants. Why would there be? There are no studies on the effects of a mother’s trip to a sunny beach on her breastfeeding infant, or – to think of another close-encounter of the mother’s skin with light – on blowing out the candles on a birthday cake! Yet two experiences/events are just as likely to cause harm to the breastfeeding baby as the laser treatment!
Laser hair removal treatments are perfectly safe while you are breastfeeding. Lasers create a beam of highly concentrated light that delivers a controlled amount of therapeutic heat to the hair follicles. This light energy is absorbed by the pigment located in the hair follicles. The laser pulses for a fraction of a second, just long enough to destroy numerous follicles at a time and leaves the surrounding skin unaffected. These treatments will have no effect on your breast milk.
Women ask if laser hair removal affects breast milk or the baby. They know that breastfeeding is very important for the baby's health and want to keep doing it. However, there is nothing to worry about. Laser hair removal and breastfeeding are perfectly compatible.
So what is the hype?, There are no studies showing a risk of having laser hair removal while breastfeeding. The hype is more about the possible risks, or the waste of time and money. Want to get this done, anyway? Talk with your doctor.