LHR on Obese Woman - Advice Please


I’m a long-time lurker to this website and want to first thank all the contributors for the valuable information provided here - much appreciated!

A bit about me… I’m a 37 year old female from Livonia, Michigan, with pale skin and dark brown/black hair. I have been wanting to start laser hair removal for years now (chin area, underarms, bikini, legs), but I keep hesitating due to my fear of the pain and the fact that I am obese (5’2", approx. 200 pounds). I also can’t decide between Lightsheer and Gentlelase (Lightsheer is more prevalent in my immediate area) - but perhaps I should save that for another post. :grin:

I understand that there are various ways to try and minimize the pain involved, but my greater concern is my current weight. I have read that obesity is linked to hair growth (I have no other hormonal issues that I know of), and I am wondering if laser hair removal is less effective for overweight people - is the experience different in any other way (more/less risk, pain, etc.)? I recently began a diet/exercise program and am not sure if I could start laser hair removal now or if I should wait until I have lost more weight before beginning treatments.

Thanks for your time - any advice/insight would be appreciated.


If it’s hormonal, then that could cause future hair growth. But you seem to be sure it’s not, in which case you should be fine.

There is no extra health risk or additional pain due to being overweight that I’ve ever heard (in fact many areas that are more “fatty” and not against bone hurt way less for me). But if you are trying to lose weight anyway, then saving your laser hair removal as a “reward” once you reach your goal (or a mini goal) can be very motivating. But if you think being hair free will motivate you more now, then by all means go ahead and start laser! I recommend GentleLASE very, very, very highly based on the info you provided, and my personal experience.

I wouldn’t be concerned with obesity. The one thing I would look into is if your obesity is a result of a hormonal issue. If it is, then hair growth is related to that. Are there other hormonal areas that bother you besides the chin? How much hair is on your chin and is it dense and coarse?

There is no reason not to start LHR now.

LHR is over quickly, so pain doesn’t last long. There is no pain afterwards, just during the actual burst from the beam to the skin. However, you can drink plenty of water and take a painkiller. Icing also helps a lot. Of course, there is numbing cream too for the most dense coarse areas if you want it.

Thank you for the responses, information, and encouragement!

I decided to post because I am wanting to start LHR soon (well, as soon as I research more LHR places and officially stop plucking my chin hair). Unfortunately, there aren’t many locations near to me that use Gentlelase, but I’m broadening my search (fingers crossed). I have always been a “When I lose weight, I’ll do such and such” type of person, so I’m hoping that starting LHR while on my weight loss journey will be an additional motivator.

As far as my obesity, hair growth, and potential hormonal issues… Sadly, I’m overweight from overeating and leading a sedentary lifestyle. The only hormonal issue I have had is Graves’ Disease (overactive thyroid) about 5 years ago - it’s not related to abnormal hair growth as far as I know. I have no other symptoms of PCOS aside from the obesity. At my last physical, I asked my doctor to check my hormone levels as I was interested in starting LHR, and I was told my levels were normal. Should I do any other type of testing before beginning LHR?

I think the chin hair is the main “abnormal” area that I have hair (though, there are some very sparse, dark and coarse hairs along my lower stomach and a couple along the sides of my face). I also have some long-ish, dark and fine hair on other body areas (upper lip, small patch on lower back, upper stomach), but I always attributed that to heredity (Italian descent). Years ago, the chin hair was similar - long-ish, dark and much more fine. In my early 20s, I started electrolysis to get rid of it, but I had to stop after about a year (college costs at the time). After stopping electrolysis, I started plucking the hair to keep my chin area hair-free. Over the years, the hair grew back much darker and coarser to the point where I now have to pluck/shave the area daily (and there is always visible “stubble”). I would say that my chin hair is pretty dense now, particulary on the underside of my chin (two areas to the left and right, extending from jawline to neck - but not quite as dense as a male beard). How dense should the hair growth be before considering LHR in a certain area? I’m having some trouble understanding just how “dense” the hair growth should be for effective results.

Ack, this message got real long, real fast - sorry! :blush: Again, thanks for your time.

Thyroid usually is a problem. Another problem is that the hormonal level test is very broad, many times even though it will come out normal, the results will be less than optimal just due to that fact.

I don’t say don’t do it, but you need to understand that it may or may not affect your results with LHR.

It isn’t that likely that your chin hair is dense/coarse enough for laser, especially if you have relatively normal hormones. I wouldn’t risk it, since the face is the most common area for induced growth (in other words, laser can stimulate the hair and make it far, far, far worse). Even if a few of your hairs are dark/thick enough to be killed, all the surrounding follicles will NOT be killed (obviously) and will possibly suffer induced growth. Yikes.

Electrolysis has come a long way and is much faster now. I would just find a good electrologist and save the lasers for your body hair instead.

Yes, thyroid issues are often attributed to hair growth. If you want to know for sure, she an endocrinologist specialist, not a regular doctor. You need someone specialized.

I would stop plucking everywhere. Shaving is the better way to go which doesn’t increase growth over time.

Electrolysis is the only method for finer hair or sparse hair.

Besides GentleLASE, you can also look into Apogee alex lasers.