Laser hair removal is an effective and popular treatment option for eliminating unwanted hair. The reasons for its popularity are many — Laser hair removal is simple, non-invasive, and is a Health Canada approved procedure. The actual treatments require very little time, need only monthly visits and have little to no recovery between sessions. That all said, consumers need to be aware of the possible side effects of laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal is safe
For the overwhelming majority of people who choose this treatment, laser hair removal works beautifully with virtually no adverse side effects. To date, there are no identified long-term health risks associated with the procedure. However, one’s body experience of the treatment may vary from one individual to the next. Certain individuals will experience minor side effects despite all precautions.
To be safe, it’s highly recommended to have your treatment provider or laser technician conduct a “spot test” on a small patch of skin. This to test for a reaction before deciding to pursue the full treatment. On top of this, make certain that your chosen clinician is fully qualified, insured and uses Health Canada approved technology to carry out the procedure.
Laser hair removal is relatively painless
Under the hands of a competent practitioner, laser hair removal is almost painless. For some individuals, there may be redness and tenderness of skin for at most a couple of days post treatment, similar in sensation to a sunburn. Note this this is normal in successful treatments and should subside before long.
If you have concerns, always reach out to your treatment provider.
Common Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
Even in successful cases, you may still experience some of the common side effects after treatment. Rest assured that these are minor and temporary. If your symptoms last more than a few days, you should consult their dermatologist.
- Minor Crusting – When treating hair in an area that also has pigmentation, residual tanning or freckles, minor skin crusting may materialize in the treated area. You can minimize any long-term issues from this effect by avoiding sun for 4-6 weeks prior to treatment. Ask your laser technician for advice regarding the types of sun screen pre-treatment and moisturizer(s) after treatment that will be the most effective.
- Redness and irritation – If you notice redness, tingling sensations, tenderness, or slight swelling of the affected areas, similar to the feeling of newly waxed or plucked skin, this is the body’s reaction to the laser, which targets the hair follicles under the skin.
To an extent, this is normal for all treatment cases, and the symptoms are usually short-lived, lasting at most a few hours after treatment. Your laser provider may use a topical cream to reduce this typical reaction. You can also use ice packs or a cool bath for relief.
- Skin discolouration – There can be those rare instances when the treated area can undergo a change in tone after hair removal treatment, growing either noticeably darker or lighter. Darkening is referred to as hyper-pigmentation and a loss of colour, hypo-pigmentation.
Darker-skinned people are susceptible to a change in colour, whether it be hyper or hypo pigmenation.
- Eye injury – Laser hair removal procedures involve powerful concentrated laser beams of light that burn hair follicles and inhibit hair growth. Therefore, there is always a risk of potentially serious damage to the eyes, especially if treatment is done in the facial area.
If your practitioner is competent, this should be no cause for concern, since both you and the practitioner should be wearing protective eye gear during the treatment.
- Skin infection – One should attend their laser treatments in good health, and with no open wounds or skin infections in the area to be treated. Post treatment, any visible sign of infection should be reported to your physician or treatment provider.
Rare Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
For some individuals, less common side effects following laser hair removal can include the following two:
- Burns and blisters – High-heat lasers in the hands of an unreliable practitioner can produce burns and blisters on the skin. This risk is greatly reduced by practicing due diligence when choosing a practitioner.
Reliable, qualified practitioners with up to date technology will use external cooling devices on the skin or, will have the cooling built into the laser platform.
- Scars – When done correctly, scarring is not typically a side effect of laser hair removal. However, if an unreliable practitioner commits an error, it can leave a permanent mark on the skin. Scars might also form if the skin isn’t properly cared for afterward. Be sure to discussion changes in your skin with a medical aesthetic provider.
To avoid further damage at this point, treat the affected skin as if it had been sunburned. This means keeping it moisturized, protected from light, and checked regularly for signs of infection.
These rare side effects can be avoided by employing well-trained trusted aestheticians or dermatologists.
How to Care for Skin After Laser Hair Removal Treatment
Practicing good skincare habits and routines after every session is a must for maintaining the desired effect and minimizing adverse results. Your aesthetician or dermatologist will give you specific guidelines for skincare following the procedure. It is critical that you follow these guidelines to avoid complications.
- Avoid prolonged un protected exposure to direct sunlight
- Use sunscreen when you go outside.
- Don’t exfoliate the treated area for a few days after the procedure
- Don’t pluck, thread, or wax any hair in the treated area.
- Don’t apply makeup or topical creams to the area
- Don’t laser over tattoo ink.
- Avoid hot showers, hot tubs, and saunas (your skin will be sensitive)
Is Laser Treatment for You?
With all of this in mind, you should be able to decide whether or not you should undergo laser hair removal treatment. As with any major skin-related treatments, do your homework and consult a dermatologist.
To get the best desired results, you will need to undergo a series of laser removal sessions, usually spread out between four to six weeks. It is best to have a laser professional determine the recommended schedule after evaluating your needs.
For effective laser hair removal using cutting-edge technology, turn to Clarity Medspa & Laser. You will receive personalized consultation and care in a trusted medical-grade facility. Book an appointment with us by calling (416) 960-2222.