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.
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 when it comes to the health and welfare of mom and baby!
Some may think that the suspension of the hair removal process would cause a lessened effect on hair removal but this is not necessarily so. The hair follicles that have been killed as a result of laser treatment will never grow hair again. Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding do tend to increase hair growth but waiting until after the birth of the baby to begin or continue treatments will not effect the results. Laser hair removal during breast feeding is fine as long as it is not done on the areola or breast tissue.
As far as skin treatments are concerned the same is true during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Numbing agents are commonly used with laser skin treatments. These medications do travel through the skin to our blood supply and have been found in breast milk, so it is best to postpone laser skin treatments until after you have stopped breastfeeding. For optimum results postponing laser treatments until after pregnancy and breastfeeding is recommended especially with the edema and skin changes that are associated with this time.
A reputable laser centers will allow their clients to pick up where they left off after the birth of the baby or when breast feeding is finished. Most importantly, enjoy pregnancy and breastfeeding; you will have time after to think about laser treatments.