Laser hair removal and Pregnancy
Glowing skin, stronger nails and thicker hair – these are the lovely little perks of pregnancy.
A new, dark mustache does not make that list.
However, the same pregnancy hormones that boost your looks can also trigger the appearance of unwanted hair on your face and body.
Whether you need to get rid of new excess hair or keep up your regular stay-smooth routine, here’s what you need to know about safe hair removal while you’re expecting.
Do Laser Treatments and Pregnancy Go Together?
Laser hair removal is one of the most popular beautifying procedures in the United States.
It works by aiming tightly focused light into the hair follicle. Pigment in the follicle absorbs the light.
That destroys the hair at its root. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved lasers for hair removal since the late 1990s.
Since that time, there haven’t been any studies demonstrating that laser hair removal is unsafe during pregnancy.
However, studies done on pregnant rats did show some adverse effects from prolonged exposure to the lasers.
Scientists have not been able to conduct similar studies in humans.
Nonetheless, the general recommendation is for pregnant women to avoid laser hair removal until after they give birth.
While the chances are that no harm will come to mother or baby during a laser hair removal procedure, it makes sense not to take any chances.
If you were already in the middle of a series of laser treatments when you found out you were expecting, you should discontinue your sessions.
If you received treatment while pregnant, there is no cause for alarm.
The recommendation to stop treatment is in the spirit of taking every possible safety precaution.
The day may come when doctors can recommend laser hair removal during pregnancy, but they’ll need to see the results of long-term studies first.
Are Other Hair Removal Methods Safe During Pregnancy?
- Electrolysis: Galvanic electrolysis works by using a small electrical current to destroy the hair follicle.
The amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby can act as a conductor of electricity, so most health care providers recommend avoiding this type of treatment until after the baby is born.
Electrolysis is also one of the most painful methods of hair removal; it makes sense to avoid it during pregnancy when your skin is at its most sensitive.
- Waxing: Many women consider a bikini wax part of their regular grooming routine and plan to get waxed before childbirth.
Since more people than ever before are going to have a front-seat view down there, it may be hard to resist getting this done in the days leading up to your due date.
However, women should wax with caution when they’re pregnant.
Their skin may be more sensitive, and waxing at this time may cause bruising.
- Depilatories: Depilatory creams contain active ingredients such as thioglycolic acid that breaks down the hair.
While there’s no evidence that those chemicals are harmful during pregnancy, there have been no studies to prove they’re safe either.
Depilatories have a strong odor that may be a problem when you’re pregnant and your sense of smell is more sensitive. They can also be irritating to delicate skin.
Even if you’ve successfully used depilatories before, they can cause an unpleasant reaction now that you’re pregnant.
What About Shaving?
Out of all of the hair removal options available, shaving may be the best choice during pregnancy.
It doesn’t require harsh chemicals, electrical currents or concentrated lasers. However, even with shaving, you need to be careful.
You might be used to standing like a flamingo in the shower, balancing on one leg as you shave. Obviously, this isn’t the best way to go about it when you’re carrying a baby.
The safest way to shave is while sitting or lying in the tub or shower. If you and your partner are up for it, ask them to help you if it’s getting too difficult to reach around your tummy.
The excess hair that appears during pregnancy will typically go away on its own within six months after the baby is born.
In the meantime, shaving seems to be the hair removal option with the least amount of risk and side effects.
The best time to return to other methods of hair removal is after the baby is born. Many doctors recommend that you also wait until you're no longer nursing.