Skin is the largest organ of your body, and its characteristics can vary tremendously from one person to another in (color, thickness, sensitivity, etc). Skin can be different on different parts of the body, too. With all that variation, it is no surprise that almost any skin rejuvenation product or procedure comes with at least some risk of side effects. That includes laser hair removal, since our hair grows from just beneath the skin.
It is always smart to know in advance what side effects are possible, so you can assess the risks and make a well-informed decision about any treatment or procedure you are considering. Keep in mind that complications or side effects are possibilities, not necessarily common or serious. In fact, some are quite rare. Here is an overview of side effects associated with laser hair removal.
Not long ago, we viewed lasers as futuristic; the stuff of sci-fi and fantasy fiction. The amazing reality is that lasers are a very real technology that uses Light Applied by Stimulated Radiation. Because laser devices use intense light (or heat) to literally irradiate the pigment in targeted hair follicles, they are inherently dangerous. Do not be alarmed. If you carefully select the clinic and provider that will perform your treatment, there is truly nothing to worry about.
Lasers are very safe and effective when used properly. To ensure your skin will tolerate the procedure well, we always do a small test before performing laser hair removal. We also provide all laser hair removal patients with protective eye wear to guard against the intense light.
Post-Procedure Side Effects
Minor Skin Irritation
Many patients experience redness, swelling or a slightly sunburned feeling in the treatment area immediately following laser treatment, but these effects are relatively minor and usually resolve within a matter of hours.
This is even less common, but will present as a hardening, then flaking of the skin at the treatment site.
Changes in Skin Pigmentation
Laser treatment can darken light skin or lighten dark skin, either temporarily or permanently. Risk of permanent changes is one reason laser hair removal may not be suitable for some patients with heavily tanned or naturally dark skin. Be sure to discuss this at your initial consultation.
The risk for infection is small, especially if you follow our post-treatment care instructions. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, and sensitivity of the treated area that does not subside within a few hours.
Burns, Blisters, or Scars
The risk for severe side effects like these directly relates to the training and experience of the person using the laser. At Raval Facial Aesthetics, each technician who performs work with lasers receives extensive training and must become certified. Recent sun exposure or exposure directly after treatment can also cause blistering.
Reduce Your Risk
There are steps you can take before and after treatment to minimize side effects from laser hair removal. For example:
- Avoid tanning beds for six weeks before treatment (or we may have to postpone your appointment).
- Avoid alternative hair removal methods, like plucking or waxing, for the four weeks leading up to your treatment.
- Protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF30) when going outdoors. It is even better to avoid direct sunlight altogether, before or between treatment sessions.
- Do shave or trim hair in the area to be treated the day before your appointment. This removes longer hair and makes the targeted follicle more accessible.
You will also receive detailed after-care instructions and tips to help minimize side effects. For example, you can use an ice pack to reduce swelling or an overly-warm feeling at the treatment site.
Go Pro for Peace of Mind
The best way to minimize risk of side effects and to ensure the best possible results is to choose a provider who is knowledgeable and experienced in using lasers. The team you choose should put patient safety above all else, which means employing highly trained professionals to perform laser hair removal procedures.
Laser hair removal is one of the most popular skin improvement options among both men and women. In the right hands, the benefits far outweigh the risks. If you are interested in learning more about this procedure, we encourage you to schedule a personal consultation and bring your list of questions. We always discuss risks and side effects with patients (and all your other questions, too) so you will feel confident and comfortable with the choice you make.