Why Is Laser Hair Removal Not Working? Reasons and Solutions! - Ulike (2024)

Laser hair removal is a go-to procedure for those seeking a long-lasting solution to unwanted hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the outcome of a laser lasts for months to years [1]. With this in mind, everyone has similar expectations from laser hair removal.

However, individual variations can occur as everyone has different skin types, hair types, skin and hair color, and body conditions. This leads to the high efficiency of the method in some people while others do not see any results.

Are you also wondering about Why is laser hair removal is not working for you? Let’s know the reason and solutions to this.

Table of Contents:

  • Part 1: Signs Laser Hair Removal is Not Working
  • Part 2: Why Laser Hair Removal May Not Be Working
  • Part 3: What to Do If Laser Hair Removal is Not Working?
  • Part 4: Patience and Realistic Expectations

Part 1: Signs Laser Hair Removal is Not Working

Lack of Hair Reduction

Laser hair removal provides a long-term solution [2] to unwanted continuously growing hair on your body. The heat produced by laser on entering your body leads to damage of hair follicles and thus hair removal.

However, if you do not notice any results even after multiple sessions, this means laser hair removal might not be working for you.

Hair Regrowth

Why Is Laser Hair Removal Not Working? Reasons and Solutions! - Ulike (1)Laser hair removal is most effective when hair is targeted in anagen phase. However, every hair follicle has its hair growth cycle thus all the hairs are not in the same phase at the same time. So, the laser requires multiple sessions to target all hair in the anagen phase.

With every session, you will notice a 10-20% reduction in hair. But, if you see significant regrowth in the treated area then this means the laser is not working for you.

Patchy Results

While some of your hair is in anagen phase at a time, others might be in transition or resting phases simultaneously. Laser hair removal is more effective in the anagen phase so you might notice patchy areas during your sessions.

However, if there are uneven hair removal results or the hair reduction in certain treated areas is less than expected, it indicates the ineffectiveness of treatment for you.

Part 2: Why Laser Hair Removal May Not Be Working

Why Is Laser Hair Removal Not Working? Reasons and Solutions! - Ulike (2)When you see any signs of laser hair removal not working, your mind will try to think of a reason.

Short Treatment Time

Each body area requires a set time for laser hair removal. Bigger areas take more time to treat while smaller areas can be treated more quickly. For instance, the face takes less than 30 minutes while the legs take up to an hour.

If this proper time is not given during the treatment, and it is rushed the effectiveness of laser hair removal will be less. This is because the laser energy does not get absorbed in all areas equally resulting in uneven hair removal results.

Hormonal Imbalance

The hair growth in both males and females is associated with the level of hormones in the body. One of the hormones responsible for this hair growth is testosterone. Males have a higher level so the number of hair in them is more as compared to females.

In certain conditions like PCOS or menopause, the level of testosterone in females increases than the normal limit leading to excessive hair growth. Consequently, the laser shows poor effects in conditions like PCOS [3], menopause, Cushing’s disease, and other hormonal issues.

Incorrect Laser Hair Removal Practice

Why Is Laser Hair Removal Not Working? Reasons and Solutions! - Ulike (3)Laser hair removal depends upon your practitioner to a great extent. If he is an experienced worker, the process will go smoothly but if there are any wrong practices, these can interfere with results.

For instance, different lasers are used for different hair and skin types. Nd: YAG laser works best for dark skin types and Diode is best for coarse hair. But if the practitioner has chosen the wrong laser, it is going to be ineffective, or harmful.

Other wrong practices include:

  • Starting the treatment without ruling out any medical conditions or contraindicated medications
  • Doing the procedure at the wrong intensity for a particular area
  • Using a single-treatment approach for everyone

Improper Pre-Laser Preparation

It cannot only be the practitioner’s fault but your negligence as well. So, if you are going for laser hair removal without proper preparation, the results will be variable.

For example, removing hair before laser hair removal is appreciated but only by shaving. Moreover, going for laser hair removal with tanned skin, no exfoliation, and not complying with your hair removal plan can also be the reasons for minimal to no results.

Part 3: What to Do If Laser Hair Removal is Not Working?

Now, let’s see how you can solve the matter.

Communicate with the Provider

Why Is Laser Hair Removal Not Working? Reasons and Solutions! - Ulike (4)The very first thing you can do to solve the matter is to communicate with your provider. This includes a detailed consultation with the clinic before the session and then discussing the outcomes and expectations during your sessions.

A consultation before your actual appointment can help the practitioner understand your skin and hair better and then do his work accordingly. Moreover, discussing the problems during your sessions will help him know if any alterations are required in the plan.

Adjusting Treatment Parameters

The settings at which laser hair removal is performed depend upon your skin and hair type. These settings vary from person to person. So, if laser hair removal is not working for you in certain settings, you can discuss this with your practitioner.

With a mutual discussion, the practitioner can consider modifying the laser settings according to your requirements and expectations.

Considering Alternating Hair Removal Methods

Why Is Laser Hair Removal Not Working? Reasons and Solutions! - Ulike (5)Another option is changing the hair removal method. It is right that waxing, epilation, tweezing, etc. cannot give results as good as laser hair removal but something is always better than nothing.

Furthermore, if you are looking for a method that is as long-lasting as laser hair removal then you can try either IPL or electrolysis. IPL works similarly to laser hair removal and it can be more convenient and cost effective than laser with Ulike Sapphire Air 3. It is safe to use at home and shows significant results [4]. With 1 million flashes, it can work for years.

Electrolysis, on the other hand, shows permanent results. Although the procedure is a bit painful, every skin type and hair color can benefit from this method.

Seeking A Second Opinion

There are times when you are following all the steps in your treatment plan thoroughly but still cannot get anywhere with the results. Talking to your specialist is helpful but you can also consider taking a second opinion. Most people avoid doing it because it can be confusing.

However, consulting another professional can help you understand things from a different perspective. Also, there are chances that another specialist might understand your skin and its requirements better.

Addressing Underlying Medical Conditions

Lastly, it is essential to understand that laser hair removal or any other methods only go according to your expectations when your body is healthy and fit for a procedure.

Due to medical conditions like disorders of the pituitary gland, hormonal imbalance, and tumors in ovaries, the results will not be as productive as you expect. So, seek medical advice to address your hormonal issues and other medical disorders.

Working on your body’s condition will help improve the results of laser hair removal.

Part 4: Patience and Realistic Expectations

Everything aside, those who are thinking of trying the laser hair removal treatment or have started their journey should be patient and have realistic expectations. As mentioned earlier, laser hair removal is not a one-sitting procedure. It needs multiple sessions to target all the hair in its growth phase, which can take a while.

There is a hair reduction but the hair growth does not completely stop in just one session. Therefore, do not panic if you see any regrowth as long as it is not worse than before, and wait patiently till your last session.

In addition, know that the procedure is long-term but not permanent. So, have realistic expectations regarding the results. This mindset helps you go through the procedure without any disappointments.


If you notice any hair regrowth, patchy or uneven hair growth, and lack of hair reduction after undergoing laser hair removal, it means the method is not working for you. This is possibly due to wrong hair removal practice, hormonal imbalance, or incomplete pre-hair removal preparation from your side.

To fix this, communicate with your provider first and discuss your observations and expectations regarding the results. You can also consult another professional or consider treating your medical conditions that might be interfering with the results.


[1] Laser Hair Removal: FAQs: American Academy of Dermatology


[2] Gan SD, Graber EM. Laser hair removal: a review. Dermatol Surg. 2013 Jun;39(6):823-38. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12116. Epub 2013 Jan 17. PMID: 23332016.


[3] McGill DJ, Hutchison C, McKenzie E, McSherry E, Mackay IR. Laser hair removal in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2007;60(4):426-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2006.11.006. Epub 2007 Jan 16. PMID: 17349600.


[4] El Bedewi, Ahmed F. “Hair removal with intense pulsed light.” Lasers in medical science vol. 19,1 (2004): 48-51. doi:10.1007/s10103-004-0298-6


Why Is Laser Hair Removal Not Working? Reasons and Solutions! - Ulike (2024)


What causes laser hair removal not to work? ›

If you saw a less than stellar result on your last treatments it could have been due to not being in the hair growth stage in the cycle during time of procedure. Hormonal imbalance while undergoing laser treatments can stimulate increased hair regrowth.

Why is my laser hair removal machine not working? ›

You're Not Using IPL As Intended

If you're not seeing the results you want or your IPL device is not flashing, check your user manual to make sure you're using the device properly. Note that for safety purposes, most IPL devices will not flash or pulse unless they're placed flush against the skin.

What stops laser hair removal from working? ›

When laser hair removal doesn't work properly
  • The laser you're treated with may not be the safest and most effective option for your skin type. ...
  • Your treatments aren't regular enough. ...
  • Your hair may have blonde, red or grey pigment. ...
  • You may be suffering from underlaying medical conditions.

Why is my hair not going away with laser? ›

If you feel like your hair isn't shedding at all, this could be due to a few factors. In some cases, the hair may be too light, the treatment intensity too low, or the hair might be in the wrong growth stage. Our laser hair removal experts can assess your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment.

How can I make laser hair removal more effective? ›

Our top tips
  1. Lightly shave 24 hours before your session is due. ...
  2. Remove all excess hair above the skin. ...
  3. Don't apply any products to your skin. ...
  4. Remove all traces of fake tan. ...
  5. Wear loose cotton clothing if having body areas treated. ...
  6. 100% Cotton underwear only. ...
  7. Leave shorter timeframes for your face.
Mar 27, 2020

Why am I more hairy after laser? ›

No one actually knows why this happens with laser patients, but after treatment, the laser can do the opposite of what you're expecting and actually stimulate hair growth. And, if that wasn't enough, the hair can actually come back thicker and darker!

What to do if laser doesn t work? ›

In most cases, clients who may have hormonal issues need more sessions to achieve their desired result. Top-ups 2-4 times a year will be needed to maintain results. If laser hair removal is not working we would recommend seeing your GP for a blood test.

How do you know if your laser is not working? ›

When do you know if laser hair removal is not working? If you have had 5-6 sessions and you haven't seen any reduction in growth then that's something to consider.

Why am I not seeing results with IPL? ›

IPL generally requires a series of treatments (often 4-5). After the first treatment you may not notice a significant difference in your skin. If the person treating you has not treated you in the past, it's important to treat more conservatively and see how the skin reacts.

Can laser not work for some people? ›

It does not work well on dark skin

Laser hair removal works better on people with pale skin and dark hair. It's not as effective on tanned skin or hair that's been bleached by the sun. If you've got a tan you'll need to let it fade before having treatment.

What are missed spots on laser hair removal? ›

A missed patch is when the treated areas fall out after two weeks, the missed patch does not. This happens when a section has been skipped or the treatment area not so thoroughly covered. Missed patches will often look like a solid section of hair growth.

How can I tell if laser hair removal is working? ›

Laser treatment begins working immediately after the first appointment. You'll first see hair falling out of treated areas within a day or two. Soon after that, you'll notice smoother skin. Once your treatment plan is complete, the results will last typically longer than waxing and can last for years.

Why is my hair still growing after 4 laser sessions? ›

However, even though laser treatments damage hair follicles, they're not destroyed completely. Over time, the treated follicles may recover from the initial damage and grow hair again. It's a tall order to eliminate every hair follicle in a given area. Therefore, you may notice a tiny amount of hair regrowth.

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