Laser hair removal treatments are proving to be very efficient and are therefore gaining a lot of ground. Its chief advantage is the fact that it destroys hair growth almost permanently and gives you soft skin forever. So, you stop your trips to the beauty parlor completely. When your hair follicles are exposed to a beam of laser light, it destroys the roots of the hair strands and reduces the hair re-growth drastically.
Laser hair removal technique has gained a lot of popularity among men and women in the recent years. It is painless, quick and effective in getting rid of unwanted hair. However, laser treatment is not suitable for everyone. There are some considerations and risks associated with it. There are precautions that must be followed before opting for laser treatment. Though it is considered to be safe, there are a few potential dangers of laser treatment.
Fortunately, laser hair removal risks are not a serious threat if it is done by a highly experienced professional expert or a skilled cosmetic surgeon. The common laser treatment side effects are swelling, pain, and redness after each treatment session. But you might also face the following symptoms that will go away in a 24 hour span.
Risks and Dangers of Laser Hair Removal
Laser uses highly concentrated light. Darkened skin absorbs more light and people with tanned skin who have light body hair would not be considered as suitable candidates for this treatment. The possible risks and dangers associated with laser hair removal are as follows:
- Itching, redness and swelling.
- Pain, numbness and tingling sensation.
- Temporary pigment change, purple coloring of the skin and skin burn.
Hyper pigmentation and hypo pigmentation is caused due to increased pigment deposition. This occurs due to excessive exposure to the laser rays.
- Redness of the skin is temporary and can be treated. The upper layer of the skin is affected if it is continuously exposed to laser rays.
- Blistering may occur in people with darker skin after the laser treatment.
- Cosmetic scarring.
- Post operative crusting.
Laser Treatment Side Effects
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers laser hair removal technique to be a form of acceptable hair reduction. Most of the side-effects occur due to inadequate screening before undergoing the treatment. Let us learn more about it.
- It may result in skin burning or discoloring or tanning of the skin. This more likely happens, when the doctor is not enough experienced. So make sure whether the doctor is well experienced or not.
- In some cases darkening of the skin (hyper pigmentation) occurs. This is usually a temporary condition, but in rare instances it is long lasting.
- You may observe some skin swelling and redness for some time after the treatment. It can be experienced from a few hours to a few days before the side effects disappear naturally. If not then the doctor suggests some drugs to soothe the problem.
- In some cases blistering and scarring occurs, but this is very rare.
- In some cases a scaling and crusting of the skin is also witnessed.
- Avoid crusting or scaling of the skin by using ample amount of moisturizer or Vaseline.
Post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation – darkening or discoloration of the skin around the laser treated area is very common. This is more prominent if you are dark-skinned. So, avoid the direct exposure of the sun after you undergo this treatment. Hypo-pigmentation – a condition where the skin around the part where laser treatment has been done becomes light is also common and temporary.
Before you go in for a laser hair treatment, allow your sun tan to fade completely or your skin will bear dark marks or pale patches, which will take months to fade. Besides this, laser hair treatment does not give good results on red hair, and those with dark hair and dark complexion since too much energy is absorbed by the skin which damages it.
If the skin is injured during the process you may risk the chance of developing bacterial skin infections. The doctor prescribes antibiotics or other treatment to cure the infection. Inform your doctor about all the possible allergies you suffer from so that the doctor treats you accordingly.
This happens rarely and only if you have had a superficial skin injury. To prevent scarring, your doctor should avoid dermal or epidermal damage.
- Crusting of the skin
- Bruising of the skin
- Purpura, a condition where the skin color changes to purple. This specially happens on tanned areas etc.
- Laser treatment is best suited for light colored skin tone. Discoloration of light color skin is not visible and will not be a reason for embarrassment.
- Laser treatment is not advised for people with darker skin shades. The side effect of laser therapy would discolor the brown, black, and other shades of skin and leave ugly patches of light color. White spots called hypo pigmentation, or hyper pigmentation (excessive brown or dark spots) are possible due to laser treatment.
- It is not recommended for people who have sensitive skin, and those who have been on certain prescribed drugs like accutane.
- In many cases the skin becomes red, itchy, irritated, and swollen. This can be treated effectively using ice packs, and regular anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Many experts suggest skin numbing creams in order to control the symptoms but liberal application of these creams can be dangerous and have negative effect on the skin.
- Each person’s skin responds differently to the laser beams used in this treatment and the desirable and undesirable results happen accordingly.
- Burning marks, blisters, scarring, patches, discoloration, flared acne problem, and infection are some of the most common risks associated with this therapy.
- Some can also develop allergic reaction to it.
Care to be Taken After the Treatment:
You should remember certain things after undergoing the treatment. In order to soothe the skin, reduce the side effects and to avoid the possible dangers, complications and risks follow some of the tips:
- Avoid rigorous physical exertion, exercise and work that results in sweat. Sweating increases skin irritation.
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight for a few weeks. Take proper care and measures like sun protection creams, wide rimmed hats, goggles, gloves etc.
- Do not touch, pick, or irritate the area that is newly treated.
- Use ice on the laser treated area to reduce some of the side effects. For more tips read Laser hair removal burns treatment.
As a matter of fact, laser hair removal has not been around long enough for there to be a comprehensive assessment of its long-term health impact. But from the data available, it can be safely said that laser hair removal is considered safe. And since it can change skin structures such as our sweat and oil glands, this form of treatment can bring about permanent or long lasting changes to our skin. You should also avoid laser treatment if you are particularly sensitive to light. Passing a beam of ray of single frequency of light may not generate the same reaction and can result in any or all of the above mentioned laser treatment side effects. It is always suggested to know the procedure, its risks, your skin type, sensitivity, and recommendation for the expert and all the follow ups and costs in detail before opting for the process.