Dangers of Laser Hair Removal:
Before considering laser hair removal treatments consider whether the potential risks outweigh the benefits for you. So, since Laser hair removal is quickly becoming the most popular cosmetic procedure and since it is also considered a medical procedure because it involves the use of a laser that penetrates the skin it’s important that everyone considering laser hair removal be aware of the potential risks. While laser hair removal is very safe, as with any medical procedure, there are some risks and some possible side effects.
Laser Hair Removal Short Term Side Effects:
Since the laser is actually burning the hair follicle using an infrared beam one side effect suffered from laser hair removal treatments that is fairly common, but not very serious, some mild pain during the procedure. Generally, this pain goes away very quickly and can be stopped with the use of any simple topical anesthetic that can be purchased at any drug store or pharmacy if your Med-spa doesn’t provide it for you. Some redness or swelling of the skin surrounding the area treated is also a possible, but inconsequential side effect.
Generally, these side effects will dissipate within a few days and are especially common in people who have darker skin or lighter hair. This is because the laser is designed to target the melanin within the hair follicle. The darker the hair, the more melanin it contains. However, the skin also contains melanin. People who have darker toned skin or who tan have more melanin in their skin that can affect the laser. Before beginning any laser hair removal procedures, consult with a qualified clinician if you feel your skin may be too dark or your hair may be too fair.
More Serious Risks:
Darker skinned people or those who tan prior to their treatments may even be susceptible to some moderate to severe skin burning. In order to reduce this risk, be sure you select a qualified technician to perform the hair removal treatment. Also ensure that you are a good candidate for laser hair removal. The darker your skin is, the chances are greater that your skin will absorb more of the laser. Avoid tanning and the use of self-tanning sprays or creams for 4 to 6 weeks before undergoing treatment in order to minimize risk. If you think your skin may be on the darker side, consult a qualified laser hair removal professional beforehand. Some people experience changes in their skin tone as a result of laser treatments. The laser can sometimes either increase or decrease melanin production and make the skin surrounding the treated area darker or lighter. A darker skin condition is known as “hyperpigmentation” and is typically reversible. When the skin is lightened, “hypopigmentation” is the result. Unfortunately, hypopigmentation may be permanent. Using an experienced, highly qualified laser hair removal technician can greatly reduce the chance of changes in skin tone.
In some patients, the medication they may be taking can cause some problems with laser hair removal. Some medicines, or cosmetics (like lotions, perfumes, deodorant, etc.) can interfere with the performance of the laser and either reduce its effectiveness or can react to the laser and cause a potentially serious allergic reaction. To prevent these complications, be sure your practitioner clearly understands all of the medications you take, including vitamins and herbal supplements. Also, be certain that the skin on the area to be treated is completely clean and free of any lotions, perfumes, sun blocks, deodorants, or any other type of product.
Probably the most significant danger to come from the laser hair removal procedure involves the use of anesthetic. Many technicians offer their patients topical anesthetics that they can apply to the area to be treated at home before the procedure begins. In other cases, a local anesthetic is injected into the skin if a larger area will be treated or the possibility of increase pain exists. Although it is rare, some people may experience severe allergic reactions to these types of anesthetics that can result in some serious consequences. If you have ever had any type of reaction to any type of anesthesia in the past, be sure your laser hair removal practitioner clearly understands what happened.
As with any medical procedure, laser hair removal can provide a significant benefit to patients with unwanted hair. However, also like any medical procedure, there are some risks involved. The best way to minimize your chances of suffering from side effects following treatment is to choose a qualified, experienced technician, carefully describe your medical history to them, and follow all of their instructions prior to receiving treatment.