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Laser Hair Removal Side Effects and Risks

Laser Hair Removal Side Effects and Risks

Laser hair removal is one of the most effective ways of eliminating unwanted hair. It’s the closest option to permanent hair removal, and it can be incredibly powerful. In addition, the procedure is very effective and it can remove hair from a variety of locations, even in places that are more sensitive. However, you need to be careful with sun exposure, since it can lead to potential laser hair removal side effects.

How does it work? The laser device emits a light that gets absorbed by the hair’s melanin pigment. That light energy gets converted to heat, and in turn it will damage the hair follicles. Because of that, you will remove unwanted hair follicles quickly, while also delaying hair growth in the long run.

A Few Tips For Laser Hair Removal

The idea behind laser hair removal is that it can help people remove hair quickly and also not worry about weekly procedures. You perform a patch test, then use the laser hair removal machine as guided by your technician, and you will be free of hair in that region for at least a while. You shouldn’t attempt laser hair removal without medical consultation, though.

Working closely with a dermatologist is crucial because the last thing you want is to encounter any side effects. Laser hair removal can be dangerous for your skin when you have very little contrast between the skin color and hair color. That’s why you need the patch test, to see if the laser hair removal process is suitable for you and if it can assist with your specific needs.


Common Side Effects

Temporary Redness and Swelling

When you as asking is laser hair removal safe, one of the first things that come to mind is how the skin reacts to this procedure. What we noticed is that laser hair removal can lead to some temporary skin swelling and redness. These are temporary, thankfully. However, they will appear in most cases, because the skin is dealing with intense laser light and that will make it red.

Not only that, but swelling can be a part of the problem, mainly because the intense light generates heat. That will bring swelling since your body is not accustomed to such an intense heat, and it’s something you want to consider.

Skin Irritation

Skin irritation can appear due to direct exposure to laser light. For many skin types, including lighter skin colors, laser light can lead to discomfort. Just like redness, this is usually a temporary side effect. It appears when you use a hair removal machine like this. However, it’s not dangerous, and you don’t need to worry about the effect lasting for a very long time.

Changes in Skin Pigmentation

Pigment changes are also one of the laser hair removal risks. Depending on your skin color, laser hair removal might lighten or darken your skin. The changes are usually temporary, but it is possible they can become permanent. If you have a darker skin color, it is possible to see your skin become lighter in color. You can prevent this problem by avoiding sun exposure before/after the laser hair removal process.

Crusting and Blistering

Crusting or blistering is one of the rare laser hair removal side effects. It usually appears in situations when your skin is not accustomed to direct sunlight exposure for a long time or higher temperatures. Genetics can have an impact too, since very sensitive skin is more prone to crusting and potential blisters. A proper skincare regimen and talking with a dermatologist before the laser hair removal treatment will help prevent any side effects.  


Rare but Serious Risks


Generally, scarring is not a major side effect of laser hair removal. However, it can appear when the practitioner makes an error. That’s the reason you always want to go with a qualified practitioner. If they accidentally expose a very sensitive area of your skin to direct laser heat, that can generate scars. However, scars can also appear due to the lack of adequate post-treatment care. If you expose your skin to direct sunlight right after the procedure, that can lead to scars. Listen to the practitioner and their post-care regimen guidelines.


Just like any other cosmetic hair removal procedure, laser hair removal can also lead to infections, sometimes. However, the good thing is that such a side effect is very rare. So if you are wondering is laser hair removal safe, the truth is that it’s very safe. But infections can be a problem because damaging hair follicles often with a laser can lead to an infection down the line.

Some people don’t allow the skin to heal or they end up going outside in direct sunlight. Either that, or they don’t protect the area where they had laser hair removal. These issues can lead to bacteria accumulation and in the long run, potential infections.

Paradoxical Hair Growth

It’s not common, but there are some people that will end up with more hair due to laser hair removal. Usually this is caused by genetics, or the extreme heat enhancing hair growth rather than diminishing it. Some laser systems try to circumvent paradoxical hair growth like this. The way they do it is they have an in-built cooling device. You can also apply ice on the desired areas as a way to prevent extreme heat exposure.


Factors Influencing Side Effects and Risks

Skin Type and Hair Color

Does your skin or hair color influence laser hair removal effectiveness? Absolutely! Most of the time, skin damage or side effects will appear if there is very little contrast between the skin and hair color. If they are very close to each other, then skin damage is more prevalent. That’s also when hair regrowth happens the most, same with blistering or any other side effects.

Over the years, newer upgrades and advances in laser hair removal tech have lessened the risk. There are many types of laser treatment recommended based your skin colour and hair colour combination. Consult a dermatologist or experienced esthetician to find out the right LHR treatment for you.

Technician Expertise and Equipment Quality

The laser hair removal results and potential side effects will also depend on the equipment and who uses it. A certified, vetted technician will provide better results when compared to someone new to this. The same thing is valid when it comes to equipment. Newer equipment will give you a much better experience, and it lessens the appearance of risks like blistering or infection. That’s why you always want to go with a certified professional that has access to high equality equipment.

Pre-Treatment and Post-Treatment Care

The way you prepare for laser hair removal and also how you protect your skin after the treatment matters as well. When you prepare for laser hair removal, the most important thing is shave the area, and not apply sugar, tweeze or wax on the area. It’s also not allowed to tan before or after the laser hair removal process. Using skincare products on the area before the treatment is also not allowed. And yes, you shouldn’t use depilatory cream on the area either. Instead, you want to shave the area if possible, since it will make it easier to target the hair follicles.

When it comes to the post-treatment process, ideally you want to see what specific guidelines are offered by your doctor. In general, the area needs to be dry and clean for at least 2 days. In addition, wearing loose clothes to avoid any friction is highly recommended. It’s also ok to add an ice pack on the treated area. That will help remove and alleviate any discomfort. In addition, it’s fine to add some calming creams or even aloe vera gel for 2-3 days, just to prevent skin irritation or other side effects.


Who Should Avoid Laser Hair Removal?

Before wondering is laser hair removal dangerous, you have to think about certifications. Many of these machines are certified to deliver excellent results, with minimal side effects. But there will be people for which there are some side effects, and in some cases it’s better to avoid the procedure entirely.

Medical Conditions and Medications

Some medical conditions don’t allow laser hair removal. These are vitiligo, psoriasis, bleeding disorders, but also previous surgery. Another thing to note is that people with severe histamine reactions shouldn’t consider laser hair removal. A similar thing is valid when it comes to medication. If medication makes your skin photosensitive, then laser hair removal is not allowed. If you have open wounds, lesions, herpes, moles or cold sores, then laser hair removal is also not recommended.


There are still ongoing studies on this topic, but in general laser hair removal can be dangerous for your child. Hormonal changes can make you hairier, but those things disappear after breastfeeding. That’s why it’s important to avoid laser hair removal if you can, and that will help quite a bit.

Recent Sun Exposure or Tanning

Sun exposure increases melanin production and that prevents skin damage. The downside is that it will also make the skin color uneven, which is not ok for something like laser hair removal. The same thing is valid when it comes to tanning, it’s not even, and thus it can make laser hair removal dangerous. That’s why you want to wait for a while and ensure your doctor clears you for laser hair removal before attempting it.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are some laser hair removal side effects that can sometimes appear, but in general this is a safe procedure. Still, you need to make an informed decision and go through a medical consultation beforehand. Doctors will let you know if you are prone to side effects and if you might encounter any issues. The more you know about laser hair removal and the more due diligence you perform, the better. One thing is certain, laser hair removal can be a great, long term hair removal method, but you need to ensure that it fits your skin type and you won’t have to deal with any conditions due to your health!