Full beard removal - what to expect?

As I’ve gotten older (I’m now 33), my beard has become more and more prickly, and it’s really hard to get it smooth, even right after shaving, especially around the chin. This keeps irritating my wife when we’re kissing and such, as well as scratching the kids. I’ve offered a trade - I’ll get a full beard removal for her, and she’ll get a full brazilian for me :wink: (she’s already a few treatments into a full laser course for everything else below the eyebrows, which is going well).

The goal would be complete removal for the entire beard area - no need to shave any more, and no poking, scratching, and abrading my family and sweetheart.

I’ve got quite pale skin and dark brown hair, which should make things easier, I gather.

I originally was just going to do my neck, where I’ve perennially had a lot of razor burn problems, and had my first treatment with a “Cool” something - CoolTouch?a few weeks ago.

It was quite uncomfortable but bearable, at a setting of 24 - I could go somewhat higher, I think, if needed. I didn’t do any anesthetic other than popping a couple Ibuprofen a few hours before. Got lots of those hair plug things, and a breakout of what looked like acne a week or so later. Since then, the area has felt quite a bit more sparse, but it’s really hard to tell.

I’m curious about what going for the full facial experience will be like. A few questions:

Roughly how many treatments should I expect for complete elimination? The center offers a flat fee for a three year guarantee, so that’s more a question of scheduling than cost.

Is full elimination a practical goal? Would there always be some spare hairs? New hairs coming in?

After a lasing, would I have to skip shaving for a few days because of the irritation?

How bad are the outbreaks likely to be after?

Would the pain be more intense in areas with denser hair than the neck, like around the chin.

Any thoughts about where to end the sideburns? Just pick a good average for the fashions of the last few decades - I’d be living with them for hopefully quite a few decades to come.

Anything I should know about this that I haven’t asked?

hi Ben
I had my beared done for the same reasons as you. But before you go down the laser road you must be prepared for possibly a long ride that may prove to be in vain.
I have had 12 treatment in around twelve months.It is 6 weeks since my last treatment and my face is still very patchy with new growth.I invisage at least another 8 treatments before I am anything like clear. In fact i will never be clear because alot of the hairs wich have been lasered have turned white and remain as course and thick as ever because they don’t respond to laser. So I will always have to shave.This is common with other people who have had their beared done.
As regards to shaving after treatments once the skin has healed you may shave but be warned that no matter how sharp your razor is you will not look clean shaven until your hairs have finished shedding.
The most painful areas are under the nose and around the lips, if you can stand this without to a tear comming to your eye the rest will be a breaze.
The areas were the hair is thickest is where you are likely to burn so applie ice before and after . I aways take 2 ice packs rapped in a damp towel and tell the opperative to stop so i can applie the ice when i feel excessive heat. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings and impose your will ,After all it will be you who has to walk around with a burnt face not them.
I have learn’t that it is best to have your treatments 4 weeks apart this gives time for the skin to heal and the hairs to shed.
I’m the same in skin and hair tone as you, and was originally told 6 treatments would give satisfactory results.what a joke. But once you start on this road you must carry on. Its not like having your legs done ,if you pack in the treatments you can,t just put on a pair of trousers while it all grows back!

If you decide to go for it good look but with what i know now i doubt if i would.


Thanks for the info - certainly not as optimistic as I’d hoped for, but if I’m going to do this, I want to do it knowing what’s going on.

First, how dense was your beard to begin with? Mine is actually pretty sparse - individual hairs are bristly (I’ve got curly hair), but there aren’t THAT many of them per mm^2.

I’m also surprised to hear that about hairs turning white - I’d not heard of that happening before. Any chance that is coincidental with the normal graying process?

I really hadn’t considering doing this until my first neck treatment was so successful - about 4 weeks on, it’s noticeably smoother and lighter than the rest of my beard, with numerous patches that seem completely bare. Of course, 4 weeks really isn’t that long to see how well this would work.

Do you find that your neck region behaves like the rest of your beard? I suppose I could just do a couple more neck treatments to see how well that goes, if that’ll indicate how well a full beard would go.

Hi Ben
my neck and throat are where I had my test patches wich came up very well due to the hair there been relitivly thin in comparison to the rest of my face.
My facial hair was very thick and dark brown through out.I assume it must be thicker than yours because I had to have my first treatment at 20 j.
There is a term to describe the lack of pigment in the hair after laser surgery but it currently illudes’s me. I new of this side affect prior to starting out it’s not a major thing but i thought you might need to know about it.
Its a good idea to have your neck done first,althought the area below the nose and around the chin will be harder to clear you will get a resonable idea if the laser is going to work on you. I would try it for six months or so and then see the results. Don,t forget it usually takes up to 12 weeks for lasered hairs to grow back ,so if an area stays clear for a couple of months it dose not mean your treatment has been a success.
I forgot to add that it is essential that you wear total sun block if you have your treatments through out the summer,but i assume your clinic should have informed you of that.

My hair density isn’t very thick at all. One of the reasons I’ve never really grown a full beard is I don’t really have that much density outside of the goatee area, and even then the mustache and beard parts wouldn’t really touch. While the individual hairs are pretty bristly, there aren’t THAT many of them. I can see each individual hair at maybe 12 inches away in a mirror. I wonder if that would add up to a different experience than yours - it certainly should be less painful.

Did you do any kind of topical or oral anesthetic for your treatments?

Apropos of nothing, I’m also considering having my neck done - I’ve got two triangular patches below the neckline that my wife normally has to shave every few weeks. I imagine that’d be a lot simpler than a face.

One complexity of this is I do a lot of trade shows and public presentations, so I cant’ look scabrous or unshaven for long periods. However, I do know when I need to look good significantly in advance.


I am planning on doing the same - full beard removal.

Just a few tips, consult a hair specialist first. Also, try to go to a place that has done many beards over several years (hopefully they’ll have records and can prove it).

My dermatologist studied laser hair removal at Harvard, and has even done his own son. I am consulting with him now about removing my entire beard.

One thing I learned from him: it’s possible, and he’s done a great job on his son’s front neck and cheeks. But, testosterone will regenerate male facial hair for pretty much the rest of your life. So indefinite touchups may be required.

I’m going in for a meeting with our local laser clinic who has been doing my wife for six months to discus this.

I am curious about this whole regeneration issue. How does testosterone grow new hairs? Heal the damaged follicles? Grow more somehow?

The hormones can cause hairs that previously did not grow…to grow. I guess it does this until a certain age, maybe forever. I am having trouble getting a definite answer.

Think of it this way, if you have a beard, you do not keep track of every single hair. If a couple appeared all over your face amidst the ones already present you’d never notice. Think of those hairs doing just that, but after the present ones are gone. Imagine that happening until the beard is full again. With as many inactive hairs as there are per square inch or so, I’ve heard that it’s possible.

I would love to hear from some guy who has had his beard lasered off, who after a good year or two is still hair free. That would be awesome! I just haven’t yet. And I’ve been asking for a while.

And what is with all this, “All my beard hairs are just turning white, but they’re still as thick?” That doesn’t seem right!

[ July 01, 2004, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: SickOfBeard ]

Interesting. Do you have any links or other resources about the density of these “dormant” hairs?

I’m wondering if mark1’s whitening issue might just be hairs that are growing gray - 40 is a pretty typical age to start getting some gray in the beard.

Oh, he’s 40? Yeah, see…I’m 21, so that kinda frightened me. Anyway, yeah…like all hairs on your body, news ones can just start to grow due to hormones. If you kill a hair, you kill a hair, But ones that weren’t even there to be killed can be triggered by hormones over time. I’d guess a man who is rendered forever bare after a couple treatments would be possible, but very very lucky.

Hey guys

I’m having my beard lasered and here are some things I have learned. First - laser will not turn your beard hair white,everyone has natural non pigmented hair and if you have a thick beard like mine you only notice them after your dark ones have shed.If you want to rid those just do an electrolysis session.For me I don’t really care its the “heavy shadow” I still have after I shave that I need to rid.In terms of regrowth,the hair grows back finer so its easy to shave and feels better to the touch.I don’t believe that hair follicles are destroyed forever on the male beard.You can knock it off line and get slower growing finer hairs back.Think of the follicles on your beardline as being a factory and testosterone as the fuel.Eventually they come back on line…the good news is my tech has told me that after the 3tx’s I have done,it may take me 10yrs to get such a heavy beard again.Not in terms of the amount of hairs but the thickness.I just want to look like I shaved when I shave so this reduction is ideal for me.I think you have to look at laser on the beard as setting your beard back in time.My hope is that it will become more mainstream and thus the price will come down.My tech said that this treatment on beard she predicts will become more popular in a few more yrs.any questions I will share what I have learned.If its the coarsness you hate, it is ideal plus if you don’t mind shaving once or twice a week,for me with a heavy beard it is dream to skip even a day shaving.

The dermatologist I am consulting with recently showed me photos of his son, who he treated. He performed roughly 6 treatments to his son’s front neck/throat and it is 100% clear.

hi guy’s
Sorry Bolts but there is a side afect that laser’s can kill the pigment in the hair,I found out about this prior to my starting out, and I was informed of this 5 years ago when i had my first test patch and I have read and spoke to people who have had a the same experience.It was also mentioned in the clinics litriture under possible side effects. There is a name for it and when i get the time i will search it out for you guys.
It was not a case of have a treatment and all that was left were white hairs, the number of white hairs inceased rapidly throughtout the period of my treatments.But please don’t think it is a problem when you shave them off you can look really clear.
I don’t use any pain releaf, I beleive this is your best warning to possible injury /burning.I do use ice during the treatment to reduce heat dammage to my skin.
Sickofbeared I wonder how long it was between the son having the treatment and the photographs you where shown. I am clear not long after my treatment but i still get growth quite soon after shedding. If i took a photo 10 days after my 6th treatment you would claim it to be a success but 6weeks later its a different story.
I recently read a post from a guy who was informmed that some clinics will not tackle male beards due to poor success rates ,At the end of the day it’s how badly you want to remove the hair that makes you beleive the sales hype or peoples experieces.
Good look!

[ July 06, 2004, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: mark1 ]

Hi boys,

Can you please find out what kind of laser your dermatologist is using? Sometimes different types of lasers work better with different people.
Keep us posted! Thanks.

The photo was just a random family photo. He said that his son received the treatments when he was 23, he is now 25. He admitted that he has to do a touchup once a year or so. But his son gets them all for free. Lucky SOB…

I am aiming for the once a year touch up stage but it is taking a lot of treatments to get there,makes me wish i was in his son’s shoe’s, like you say “Lucky SOB”