Tweezers, wax, epilators, etc. are all soon becoming a thing of the past. Laser hair removal has taken over the monopoly in getting rid of unwanted and excessive hair on the face and body permanently. Compared to the other methods, laser hair removal is almost painless and offers long-lasting results. However, there are several concerns around the side effects of laser hair removal. How safe is this procedure? Let’s see in detail.
Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal
Be it facial laser hair removal or hair removal in other body parts or even full body laser hair reduction; a few side effects may crop up in a few people. These are discussed in detail below:
- Skin Irritation – After the laser hair removal session, skin irritation may appear at the site of the treatment. This resembles the rashes that you develop after other methods of hair removal like waxing and threading. This side effect is temporary with the skin returning to its normal state in a few hours at most
- Itching – A rather common laser hair removal side effect, itching occurs when the skin cells also get affected by the laser, apart from the stem cells beneath. It is a normal reaction of the body and subsides in a couple of hours.
- Swelling and Redness – The laser is technically damaging cells in your skin (hair follicles) and it is completely normal to experience some swelling and redness post the session. To recuperate from the damage, the body resorts to such measures every single day and the same reaction is seen after laser hair removal. Swelling and redness are transient side effects and go away by themselves in a couple of hours, just like the itching.
- Pain, Tingling and Numbness – These may be experienced in the treated area of the body but the sensations diminish by themselves after a few hours.
- Blisters – In rare occasions, a blister or two may develop as a side effect of laser hair removal. When the skin is too sensitive, even the safe laser light can cause damage leading to a blister-like eruption to form. This can be easily avoided by doing a patch test before commencing the treatment to understand the best parameters that would suit the skin.
- Scarring – This side effect is seen when the wrong settings are used on the laser equipment being used. Each skin type and body part requires the parameters to be adjusted accordingly. When this is not done, the laser light can be too intense for the skin to handle and lead to scar formation. Using the wrong type of laser machine can also lead to scarring.
- Crusting – A brown scab or crust can form on the skin as a side effect in very rare cases. This resembles the crusting seen after getting a permanent tattoo done. When the skin gets damaged, the body forms a crust to protect it. Similar to scarring, unfit machine and other parameters stated, can cause crusting. Also, improper technique while performing the procedure can also lead to this side effect.
- Slight Risk of Infection – The area of the body that is subjected to laser hair removal experiences stress due to the damaged hair cells. This makes the area susceptible to infections. Maintaining proper hygiene before the session, during the session and after it, is mandatory to avoid this.
- Skin Burns on Dark Skin – People with dark skin possess more melanin pigment. As the laser used for hair removal primarily targets this melanin, mild burns can occur because of the heat energy from the treatment. Severe burns are extremely rare! By using a machine that suits the darker skin type, this side effect can be easily avoided.
- Hyperpigmentation is easily reversible and in most cases, even the hypopigmentation can be reduced to a great extent.
- Pigmentation Changes – The skin may become darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) when compared to the original skin colour due to –
- When you go out during the day, the light from the sun instigates melanin production in the skin and causes your skin to become darker. A similar reaction occurs when the laser light is focused on the treatment area. Melanin production increases in response to the light exposure making that area of the skin darker than the surroundings. This is called as Hyperpigmentation.
- Hypopigmentation occurs when the laser light not only targets the melanin in the hair cells but also the melanin in the other skin cells. Destruction of melanin results in loss of colour from the skin leaving a patch of skin lighter than the rest.
Also Read: Safe And Effective Laser Hair Removal
Does Laser Hair Removal Cause Cancer?
No, laser hair removal does not cause cancer, rather in some cases it may even help treat certain precancerous lesions. Since the narrow beams of light are concentrated only on the unwanted hair follicles, there is no widening or spreading of the rays. Thus no chances of any cancerous growth
Can Laser Hair Removal Be Used In Pregnancy?
No, it is not recommended for pregnant woman. Since there are no studies suggesting the safety of laser hair removal procedure during pregnancy. Also the increased amount of hair during pregnancy are largely temporary and they mostly shed off post-delivery. A dermatologist would be able to diagnose and treat your unwanted hair condition, after your delivery and lactation period, to prevent any harm to the baby.
Can Laser Hair Removal Cause Infertility?
No, laser hair removal does not cause infertility. Rather this is a myth as only a concentrated and narrow beam of light targets the hair follicles and this also is controlled medically, which prevents any further spread to your internal organs.
Laser hair removal is a fast and convenient method to remove unwanted hair. Though it possesses a few side effects, in most cases, they do not even appear. Additionally, most of these (like itching and redness) are short-lived and fade away by themselves. The other side effects can be effortlessly avoided by getting the treatment done by a certified and experienced dermatologist at a reputed skin clinic.