Laser hair removal is a safe and effective treatment, but every treatment comes with potential risks and complications. Possible adverse effects can vary from transient to long lasting.
You should be aware of these potential risks and advised prior to your treatment. All side effects of laser hair removal are usually temporary and generally mild.
The laser hair treatment comes with a risk of changes in skin pigment. These changes are generally temporary. The affected skin surrounding the treated hairs may become lighter or darker.
Hypopigmentation (lighting of the skin) is caused by melanin depletion and hyperpigmentation (brown discoloration) is caused by an increase of melanin production. The more likely scenario is skin lighting on the patient with darker skin.
Darker skin types have more pigment in the skin so there is more possibility of pigmentation marks. The light cannot decipher between pigment in the hair and in the skin because laser light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair.
Because of the skin discoloration possibility, it’s not recommended that individuals have a suntan before or after the treatment. To avoid skin damaged skin with pigmentation marks, you must avoid sun exposure before and after the treatment.
When undergoing any kind of laser hair removal treatment there is the possibility of having a superficial reddening of the skin. It usually appears in patches on the treated area and subsides within 48-72 hours. Because the skin becomes heated during the laser treatment there is usually some signs of skin mild irritation. To minimize this effect the dermatologist use cooling systems or cold gel.
In some occasions sun exposure prior to the treatment increases a risk of skin damage. As a result, it’s possible to have blisters and crusting that can leave a temporary discoloration but also permanent discoloration marks. Tightening and some blistering of the skin may appear after 8 – 10 hours after the treatment. Picking at the scab or blister can leave scars or lead to an infection.
Peri follicular oedema means the appearance of red bumps in the treated area. This usually occurs on sensitive areas such as bikini zone where the hair is thick.
Skin texture changes
In some patients skin can change in skin texture after the treatment, it can become dry or scaly.
In the past, scarring was the one of the worst side effects to get. The main cause of the scarring is the laser itself, but also an infection after the treatment can cause the formation of scar tissue.
Although quite rare, burns are serious side effect. Burns can be treated with appropriate after care.
One of the most important things you need to be aware of is your eye safety. It’s important that everyone wears suitable protective eyewear that will prevent from direct laser contact.
As all treatment there is the possibility of getting an infection.
Alongside these common side effects, there are some rare side effects that must be taken into consideration such as: bruising on the treated area and purpura.
Purpura lasts around 3-5 days. This is a temporarily condition that is caused by damage of the blood vessel. It appears as red, almost purple rash on the skin.