Home Beautygab Black Dots After Laser Hair Removal (Is Something Wrong?)

Black Dots After Laser Hair Removal (Is Something Wrong?)

by Gabbi
woman receiving laser hair removal epilation on leg

Laser Hair Removal is a popular cosmetic treatment for ridding the face and body of unwanted hair in a discrete and relatively pain-free way. By using a laser with light and heat to target the hair follicles, unwanted hair is prevented from future growth and the existing hair sheds away from the body following the treatment.

Although many treatments are required to deliver the best results of thin, minimal hair on the selected area, once the correct number of treatments is complete, you will be hair-free for the foreseeable future with minimal maintenance required.

Although the procedure itself may contain some general discomfort, the residual side effects should also be mild. Although the procedure requires little downtime to recover after the non-invasive treatment, you may notice black dots on the skin where the laser was used.

While the appearance of these spots may be surprising, it does not indicate that there was an issue with the procedure, and they should fade away naturally in the following weeks.

So, what are the black dots that can appear after a laser hair removal treatment? The black dots that can occasionally appear on the skin after a laser hair removal treatment are a side effect of the procedure. Through the laser procedure, the hair is targeted at the root, and the black dots are the hair that has not yet been pushed through the skin. They will shed on their own.

Below we discuss the process of laser hair removal, potential side effects, and how to rid your skin of any black dots post-appointment.

What Is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser Hair Removal is a cosmetic treatment that uses a specialized laser to remove unwanted hair from a specific area of the face or body.

The laser targets the hair at the base, allowing the hair to be removed from the root of the hair follicle, and penetrates the layers of the skin by sending a light beam to the targeted hair follicles, which then transforms into heat that actively damages the follicle.

This damage to the hair follicle is how future hair growth is prevented from occurring.

Over the course of time and treatments, hair growth will lessen and may only require a touch-up appointment once a year or two. Laser technology has advanced over the years as the treatment has become more popular, which allows the procedure to be easily performed on a wide range of skin tones.

Laser Hair Removal can be used in various places on the face and body — however, the most common areas for the treatment are the chin, underarms, legs, and bikini area.

The number of treatments needed for the desired results can vary based on the individual, but should be scheduled regularly following the first appointment.

As the treatment targets the hair during the active period of its growth cycle, anywhere from 6-8 appointments can be required to target the many hair follicles that experience the active hair growth period at different times.

The procedure itself is a non-invasive treatment that produces minimal pain in the specific area. The treatment requires little downtime to recover, and you are able to resume your usual daily activities.

While the process of Laser Hair Removal is relatively pain-free, it is not without discomfort. The laser uses light and heat to target the hair, while many also use a cooling sensation to lessen sensation or numb the area being treated.

For areas of the face, it is recommended that appointments are scheduled every 4-6 weeks, while areas on the body are recommended to be scheduled every 4-12 weeks until the final results have been achieved.

The results from Laser Hair Removal can start to be seen anywhere between 1-3 weeks following the initial appointment. Hair becomes thin and the growth becomes less over time.

Although follow-up appointments are needed for optimal results, with each appointment you will notice less and less hair growth in the targeted area.

The appearance of hair can be lessened up to 90% with Laser Hair Removal, which prevents you from needing to shave, wax, pluck, or tweeze any unwanted hair on the face or the body.

After you have completed the correct number of appointments for your specific needs, you may have to have a touch-up appointment over the following years. However, any regular maintenance such as tweezing, shaving, or waxing is generally lessened and may even be unnecessary.

What Are The Black Dots After Laser Hair Removal?

Because the treatment targets the hair during its active growth period, some hairs are already beginning to make their way to the surface of the skin.

After a Laser Hair Removal treatment, the hair will begin to shed as it is being pushed through and from the skin. It can appear like the hair is growing back, but it’s just dead hair making its way to the surface of the skin.

The shedding of the hair should begin to happen anywhere between 1-2 weeks after your treatment. After your appointment and the shedding, however, you may notice the appearance of black dots on the surface of the skin.

These black dots are also referred to as “pepper spots” and they can appear anytime in the weeks following your Laser Hair Removal treatment.

Essentially, pepper spots are burnt, dead hairs that remain under the skin and have been targeted by the treatment but have not yet pushed through the surface of the skin.

Unlike the rest of the targeted hair that has been able to shed away freely, pepper spots need extra time to push through the barrier of the skin before they are able to fall away.

Do Black Dots After Laser Hair Removal Mean Something Is Wrong?

If you are experiencing pepper spots after your Laser Hair Removal treatment, it does not mean that there is anything wrong with your skin post-procedure — these black dots are a common side effect that can be experienced over the course of the treatments.

Pepper spots can appear anywhere you have the treatment performed, whether it be on the face or the body; however, it is common to see the black dots appear after having the procedure done on the legs.

Although the black dots may be frustrating, it does not indicate any issue with how the treatment has affected your skin or the success of the hair removal treatment overall. You should still see the same hairless results after the black dots begin to naturally fade away.

How Long Does It Take The Black Dots To Fade?

As the black dots are dead hair that are trying to be pushed through the skin, they will eventually fade over time naturally. The hair will break through the surface of the skin and will be able to shed as the rest of the targeted hair has done.

Similar to regular hair growth and skin cycles, the black dots will take a few weeks to fade away completely.

In general, pepper spots can take anywhere up to two weeks to completely fade as the hair is removed and released from the skin. However, if you are waiting for the black dots to disappear, they should not cause any discomfort or irritation to the skin.

Can You Get Rid Of The Black Dots Yourself?

Although they should not be causing any irritation, the appearance of the pepper spots on the skin can be frustrating to experience while waiting for them to naturally fade away — especially if they are on obvious, visible parts of the body, like the face or legs.

The best way to begin to fade the dark spots after your hair removal treatment is through regular exfoliation. Exfoliating the skin is recommended to help with the natural hair shedding process that happens a few weeks after your procedure.

Using a scrub to exfoliate the skin helps fade the dark spots by ridding the skin of dead skin cells and encouraging the cell turnover process. It will also help the burnt hair that is making the pepper spots push through the skin more easily.

While you can start to resume shaving several days after your Laser Hair Removal treatment, exfoliating the skin is the best way to fade the appearance of the dark spots, as well as encourage the shedding of the rest of the hair.

Are There Any Other Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal?

As with any cosmetic treatment, there are other general side effects that may occur following your procedure. While other side effects may present themselves after a hair removal session, they should be short-term issues.

Although the treatment itself should be minimally painful with mild discomfort, a common side effect that can occur after your appointment is redness or itchiness of the treated area.

The redness and itchiness will fade in the hours following your appointment, and should not last more than one day. There is also the potential for some swelling or discomfort in the treated area as well.

As the lasers use heat to damage the hair follicle, the sensation on the skin afterward can feel reminiscent of the feeling of a sunburn.

Another potential side effect that can have longer-term effects is areas of hyper- or hypo-pigmentation of the treated area.

Hyperpigmentation is the uneven deposit of melanin in a specific part of the skin, resulting in the appearance of dark spots or uneven skin tone. Hypopigmentation is the opposite issue, causing light areas of the skin that are a result of not enough melanin in the specific area to match the skin surrounding it.

Areas of hyper- and hypo-pigmentation can occur in different skin tones and are due to the use of the laser.

While Laser Hair Removal has developed to be able to suit a wide range of skin tones, it is important to discuss with your Laser Hair Removal professional what the best available laser and treatment option is for your skin tone.

Because the laser incorporates a light that penetrates through the layers of the skin, if the incorrect laser is used on a skin tone, it could result in hyper- or hypo-pigmentation, which could have long-lasting effects on the skin’s appearance overall.

To help minimize the possibility of any side effects, it is important to limit any sun exposure to the treated area. It is best to avoid the harsh sun rays, as it can cause further irritation to the already sensitive skin.

If you are being exposed to the sun, it is especially important to use sun protection on the lasered areas and to minimize the exposure as much as possible to avoid any potential discoloration.

To receive the best results, it is also best to stop waxing and plucking your hair for at least three weeks before your appointment, although shaving is okay as it still leaves the root of the hair present in the skin.

After the treatment is complete, you can generally resume shaving any new or remaining hair within 3-4 days following the appointment. The dead, lasered hair will also be working to shed itself from the skin in the following weeks as well.


While seeing the appearance of the pepper spots may initially be concerning, they will generally begin to fade away within 1-2 weeks following the appointment. Just like the rest of the dead hair starts to shed away, once the pepper spots are able to break through the surface of the skin, they will also start to fall away.

As the Laser Hair Removal treatment targets the hair during its active growth cycle, some of the burnt or dead hair can get stuck beneath the surface of the skin, causing the appearance of black dots.

Much like helping shed the rest of the dead hair following the procedure, using a scrub or exfoliation will help rid the skin of the pepper spots that much faster.

Although they naturally fade on their own, exfoliation helps to rid the skin of any dead skin cells and encourages the trapped hair to push through the surface of the skin to shed away.

While they may be frustrating, the black dots that follow the Laser Hair Removal treatment are a common, mild side effect and should not cause any discomfort.

Although general redness and irritation may occur following the treatment, it should also be a mild side effect that begins to fade within the same day.

One of the most important factors in having a Laser Hair Removal treatment done is ensuring your technician is using the correct type of laser for your skin tone. If the incorrect laser is used, it could cause lasting irritation and damage to your skin, which can include areas of hyper- or hypo-pigmentation.

The general side effects of Laser Hair Removal should be mild and fade away quickly, like any redness or swelling. The black dots may take longer to fade away naturally, sometimes up to two weeks.

However, if you are noticing any discomfort with the pepper spots, or any side effects that are not fading away and causing more intense irritation, it is important to follow up with your doctor and Laser Hair Removal technician to ensure proper healing and a hair-free, recovery!

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