Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal You Should Know About (2023)

The idea of permanent hair removal is quite tempting. Isn’t it? Well, laser hair removal may seem like a blessing to you, especially if you tend to get ingrown hair or uneven skin tone as a result of other hair removal methods.

While laser hair removal treatment is mostly considered to be safe, there might be side effects linked to it. So, before you decide to spend a fortune, know more about the possible downsides of this procedure too.

In this article, we bring out the truths and break the myths about laser hair removal and tell you what you should consider before going for it.

Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal You Should Know About (1)

Highlights:

  • Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
  • Possible Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal
  • How Long Does It Take For Hair To Grow Back After Laser Treatment?
  • Myths Associated With Laser Hair Removal
  • When To See A Doctor?

Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Even though laser treatment is termed as a ‘permanent’ hair removal procedure, that might not be the case. In laser treatment, a specialised beam of radiation is targeted to a particular area on your skin. The laser produces heat which either damages or destroys the hair follicles. A hair follicle is a sac-like structure from which the hair shaft grows out.

Usually after the first treatment, all the hair follicles are not destroyed. But because most of the hair follicles are damaged, you do not get any hair growth for a prolonged period of time. Also the new hair that grows out is usually finer and lighter in colour [1]. Some of you might require multiple laser treatment sessions to get satisfactory results. Your hair is likely to grow lighter and thinner with every treatment session.

Also, you might need maintenance sessions later to keep the desired area hair-free.

Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal You Should Know About (2)

(Video) Dr. Oz Investigates if Laser Hair Removal is Safe

Possible Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal

Laser treatment is generally considered to be a safe procedure if performed under the supervision of a dermatologist. This treatment is well tolerated by most people but some may experience adverse reactions post treatment. Consider getting a patch test done by your doctor before going for the full treatment.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association the most common side effects of laser treatment are:

1. Redness

2. Discomfort

3. Some amount of swelling [2]

These symptoms usually disappear by themselves within a short span of time. Your dermatologist will prescribe a topical ointment to apply on the treated area if deemed necessary.

Other less common adverse effects of laser treatment include:

1. Changes In Skin Colour Of The Treated Area

The treated area of your skin may become a shade darker or lighter than the rest of your body, but it is usually temporary. In very rare cases, the discoloration of the skin treated with laser may become permanent.

2. Crusting Or Scarring

In some people laser treatment may cause hardening of the treated area which may lead to a scab or a scar. Taking good care of the treated skin as per your doctor’s recommendations will speed up the healing process. A mild moisturiser can be used to relieve irritation.

3. Skin Infections

Since the hair follicles and its surrounding cells may be damaged during the laser treatment, the area of the skin is like a wound. Thus the laser treated area may get infection if proper care is not taken during the healing period [3]. If you see any signs of infection such as eruptions or fluid oozing from the treated area, consult your doctor immediately to avoid further complications.

4. Burns Or Blisters

Laser therapy involves usage of equipments that can produce considerable amounts of heat. Excessive heat can cause burns on your skin, if not handled properly. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you get the laser therapy done by a qualified medical professional only.

Also, avoid exposing your laser treated skin to direct sun until it is healed completely. This will help you avoid sun damage or blisters on the treated skin.

(Video) Laser hair removal: Be prepared with these 5 facts

4. Eye Injury

The strong laser beam used for hair removal is capable of causing injury to the eye, especially while being used on the face. Appropriate eye protection gear should be used to avoid any adverse effects of laser on the eye.

How Long Does It Take For Hair To Grow Back After Laser Treatment?

Hair regrowth after laser treatment may be seen anywhere between a few months to even a few years in certain cases. Initially hair regrowth may be seen in 4 to 6 weeks of the laser therapy. But after a consistent treatment of 4 to 6 sessions, you may need a touch up every 6 months or a year to remain stubble free.

Also, how fast your hair grows back depends on a number of factors such as the following:

1. Area of Hair Removal Treatment

Laser hair removal is more effective in certain areas of your body than others. Hair on your face such as the upper lip, chin, sideburns or neck grow back faster than your body hair such as those on your back, arms and legs. The rate of regrowth post treatment varies from person to person but the new hair is usually sparse and finier, making it less apparent.

In very rare cases, some people develop a condition called paradoxical hypertrichosis. Individuals with this condition tend to develop darker and thicker hair in areas surrounding the laser treated skin.

2. Skin And Hair Colour

Laser hair removal is typically most effective if you have a light skin tone with dark hair. The melanin in the hair absorbs the laser better and gives better results. If you have grey, white or blonde hair, laser hair removal will not be much effective for you. However, the current advances in laser technology has made it possible to make laser hair removal available for people of all skin and hair color.

3. Phase Of Hair Growth

The hair on your body are at different stages of growth at any given point of time:

  • Anagen- growing phase
  • Catagen- transitional phase
  • Telogen- resting phase
  • Exogen- shedding phase

Laser treatment can target only the hair in the anagen or growing phase which are present within the follicle under the surface of your skin. Therefore, you might require multiple sessions of the treatment spanned over an appropriate period of time to get rid of all the hair in a particular area.

Myths Associated With Laser Hair Removal

Myth 1: Laser Therapy Causes Infertility

Fact

The laser beam used for hair removal works only at the surface of your skin. It does not reach your internal organs. Thus, there are almost no chances of laser treatment affecting your fertility. However, the effects of laser treatment on pregnant and nursing mothers are unknown. Therefore it is best to avoid laser treatments during pregnancy or while you are planning to conceive.

Also, you experience some hormonal changes post birth which can affect your hair growth pattern. So it makes sense to plan laser hair removal after you have given birth and are done with breastfeeding.

Myth 2: Laser Hair Removal Can Cause Cancer

Fact

(Video) What are the side effects of Laser Hair Removal | Dr. Jaspreet Rajani

The type of laser radiation used for hair removal is usually completely safe and does not penetrate too deep into your skin surface. Laser beams used for hair removal do not contain the high energy UV radiations. The high energy radiations are the ones that can damage your DNA leading to cancer.

No direct association of laser hair removal treatments with cancers have been found. If done under proper medical supervision laser therapy for hair removal does not elevate the chances of cancer. [4]

Myth 3: Laser Hair Removal Is A Very Painful Procedure

Fact

The level of discomfort felt during laser therapy varies from person to person. Some people may feel a pin-prick like sensation or a little heat. But lasers today come with cooling fans which reduce the heat sensation. Your dermatologist may also use a cooling gel or an anesthetic ointment right before the procedure to minimise the discomfort.

Laser hair removal is definitely less painful than other methods like waxing. If done under a certified professional, it is safer and quicker without any risks of cuts or wounds. The first session may be a little painful for you, but it gets better with more sessions.

Myth 4: It Causes Hair To Grow More Dense And Frequent

Fact

The hair that grows back in the area treated with laser, is actually thinner and finer. Laser damages or destroys the hair follicles from which the hair grows. So an effective laser hair removal therapy can not result in a more dense regrowth in the treated area. Actually there should be a reduction of about 10 to 25% reduction in hair growth after each session of laser therapy.

Myth 5: You Will Get Permanent Hair Removal In A Single Session

Fact

Laser therapy can only destroy hair that’s in the growing phase, and not the ones lying dormant within the follicle. Within a few days of the therapy the dormant hair will start growing actively. So a minimum of 4 to 6 sessions, spaced over a few weeks, are required to destroy all the hair in the targeted area. However, the number of sessions required by you will depend on a number of factors like your hair type, rate of regrowth and so on.

When To See A Doctor?

Laser therapy involves the usage of advanced equipment for letting you achieve the desired results of hair removal. It is best to consult a doctor at all stages of this procedure.

Post therapy, you should immediately see your dermatologist in case you develop fever, rashes or other symptoms of a systemic infection which is very rare. Do not use antibiotic creams or ointments without consulting your doctor if you doubt a bacterial or fungal infection.

Wrapping Up

(Video) Side Effects Laser Hair Removal - TIPS & EDUCATION FROM AN AESTHETIC REGISTERED NURSE - Elina Y

Laser therapy may be one of the best ways to get rid of the unwanted hair on your body. But you should understand the pros and cons of this treatment and if it is suitable for you or can give you the desired results. Your dermatologist is the best person to decide the most effective laser treatment for you and also to design the treatment regime. Learn about the side effects of laser therapy well in advance to make an informed decision. Remember that your skin and hair is unique, so are its reactions and requirements.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

FAQs

Are there any negative side effects to laser hair removal? ›

Rarely, laser hair removal can cause blistering, crusting, scarring or other changes in skin texture. Other rare side effects include graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, particularly on darker skin.

What is the most serious hazard associated with laser hair removal? ›

The primary hazard associated with laser hair removal facilities stems from inadvertent exposure to laser emissions. Exposure to an individual may occur directly from the laser beam, or when the beam is reflected from a shiny surface such as a mirror, ring, glass picture frame, etc.

Is laser hair removal damaging? ›

Laser hair removal can be dangerous in inexperienced hands. Burns, permanent changes to your skin color, and scars can occur. You can greatly reduce the risk of possible side effects by having your treatment performed by a medical doctor who is extremely skilled in using lasers and has in-depth knowledge of the skin.

Who should not get laser hair removal? ›

You may need to avoid the procedure if you: Are pregnant. Are taking certain medications, such as acne treatments. Have genital herpes (HSV-2) or are prone to cold sores.

Does laser hair removal have long term side effects? ›

There do not appear to be any long-term health risks associated with the procedure. However, some people may experience minor side effects after laser hair removal. People should ask their dermatologist to test how a small patch of skin reacts to the treatment before having it done on a larger area of skin.

What happens if you don't shave before laser hair removal? ›

As we mentioned a little earlier, if you don't shave before your appointment, the laser will singe the hair resulting in a burn to your skin. In addition, if the hair hasn't been shaved properly, treatment will not be as effective, and it may result in small temporary grazes on the top layer of your skin.

Can laser hair removal affect heart? ›

Answer: Laser hair removal does not affect internal organs

Lasers create a beam of highly concentrated light that penetrates into the skin only where it delivers a controlled amount of therapeutic heat. This light energy is absorbed by the pigment located in the hair follicles.

Can laser hair removal cause clots? ›

Answer: Blood clots and laser treatments are fine

There is nothing in the medical literature regarding blood clots and surface laser treatments (like hair removal).

Can you get HPV from laser hair removal? ›

Therefore, long term occupational exposure to laser plumes may lead to HPV infection and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. There is significant morbidity associated with these lesions and their treatment.

Does laser cause infertility? ›

No, laser hair removal can not cause infertility. The only area affected by the laser is the surface of your skin, pigment and hair follicles. The laser will not be able to penetrate any further to your organs/ or ovaries.

How long after laser will hair fall out? ›

What happens right after the treatment? Do the hairs fall out right away? In many patients the skin is slightly pink for 1-2 days; in others (generally, fairer patients) there is no pinkness after laser hair removal. Hairs begin to fall out in 5-14 days and may continue to do so for weeks.

Should I shave before laser hair removal? ›

When you're getting ready for your laser hair removal procedure, make sure you shave the night before or the morning of your treatment. The reason for this precaution is simple – you want to remove as much hair as possible so that it doesn't absorb most of the laser's energy.

How many sessions does it take for laser hair removal to work? ›

As a general rule of thumb, the majority of patients need four to six sessions. Individuals rarely need more than eight. Most patients will see results after three to six visits. Additionally, treatments are spaced out about every six weeks since individual hairs grow in cycles.

How long does laser pubic hair removal last? ›

After you're finished receiving all of your sessions, laser hair removal will last for two to six years. However, maintenance sessions one to four times a year may be needed to keep the area hairless forever.

What should you not do before laser hair removal? ›

Do not wax or pluck. Shaving removes longer hairs while keeping the root intact. It's the root of the hair the laser targets, so the root must be present for your treatment to work best. Take a shower right before your appointment and clean the treatment area, making sure to remove dirt and oil from the skin.

Does laser hair removal cause wrinkles? ›

KEEPS YOU WRINKLE-FREE. There is a persistent myth that lasers for hair removal promote ageing. However, the opposite is true.

What happens after first laser hair removal session? ›

Redness or Itchiness

It's completely normal to experience some skin irritation right after each laser hair removal session. Depending on your skin's sensitivity, you may experience some residual itchiness, discomfort similar to razor burn, and skin redness that may persist for the next 24 hours.

Can laser hair removal affect veins? ›

These veins are best avoided during laser hair removal treatment. Intense pulses of light and energy are used during laser treatment. As varicose veins protrude out of the skin and are raised if they are subjected to large amounts of heat this could cause damage to the vein.

Can I shave 1 hour before laser? ›

It is important to shave before your laser hair removal appointment, 24 hours before is recommended. Shaving on the day of your session can be dangerous and should be avoided completely. This is because when you shave the razor may lift a layer of skin off as it passes over your skin.

What happens if you shave less than 24 hours before laser hair removal? ›

Therefore, if you shave less than 24 hours before your scheduled appointment then there won't be enough hair present to burn, and this can cause irritation to the treatment area.

How long does hair have to be for laser? ›

"Freshly shaved is the best for treatment." If you can't resist waxing, allow hair to grow in for at least one week before a laser appointment. And although it takes several months for full laser hair removal, you can also shave in between visits.

How long does it take for skin to heal after laser treatment? ›

In general, the areas heal in five to 21 days, depending on the nature of the condition that was treated and type of laser used. Once the areas have healed, makeup may be worn to camouflage the pink to red color that is generally seen after laser skin resurfacing.

Is Brazilian laser safe? ›

Brazilian Laser Hair Removal. Laser hair removal is a safe, fast and effective medical grade procedure for reducing unwanted hair permanently from almost all part of the body. It has been approved as “permanent hair reduction” in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1997.

Do vitamins affect laser hair removal? ›

Multivitamins should not interfere with receiving laser treatments. It is always best to check in with your technician prior to your appointment with any questions or concerns.

What should I do after laser hair removal? ›

Do apply an ice-pack on the treated area to reduce pain, discomfort or irritation. Do apply aloe vera gel or calming creams for 3 days after the treatment. Do wear loose clothes to avoid friction on the treated area for 48 hours. Do keep treated area clean and dry for 48 hours.

What does a laser hair removal Burn look like? ›

What it looks like. A burn after laser hair removal may be red, blistering, swollen, and in the shape of the tip of the laser applicator device. “Symptoms are often worse during the first few hours or days after the burn,” adds cosmetic dermatologist Dr.

Can you laser your vag? ›

Like a Brazilian wax session, a Brazilian laser removal treatment has the goal of removing excess, scratchy hairs from your bikini line, vulvar area, and around your vagina and anus. You decide just how much you want to (permanently) remove. You may opt for full removal, which will take away all of your unwanted hairs.

Can laser hair removal make you feel sick? ›

Laser hair removal should have not effect on nausea. It does not penetrate past the skin. It sounds like this is a coincidence or some kind of anxiety.

When can I shower after laser? ›

How long after laser hair removal can I shower? Ideally 24 hours, but if you must shower wait at least 6-8 hours after your session. Use tepid water and avoid using any harsh products, scrubs, exfoliating mitts, loofahs or sponges on your treatment area.

Can laser hair removal affect menstrual cycle? ›

Yes, laser hair removal can be more painful before your period is due. Some women will experience very severe PMS leading up to their period and this can cause them to become very sensitive to pain. Over 90 % of women will experience some form of PMT. This can start anywhere from 5-11 days before your period is due.

Does laser hair removal on vagina affect fertility? ›

The hair removal of the vagina through the laser technique does not affect fertility. Side effects such as vesicles and crusts are very rare with this generation of laser devices.

Can laser hair removal affect sperm? ›

Like any cosmetic treatment, precautions must be taken, but with genital hair removal, nothing suggests any effect on a man's sperm count. The fact is, laser hair removal targets the hair follicles – it does not penetrate deep into the skin and does not penetrate into the internal organs.

Why do I have more hair after laser? ›

Patients may notice more hair 1 – 3 weeks after laser hair removal sessions as follicles in the growing cycle begin to shed. During this process, exfoliating the skin, once swelling and redness have dissipated, can help hairs shed faster, leaving skin feeling smoother.

Why did my hair grow back after laser? ›

However, even though laser treatments damage hair follicles, they're not destroyed completely. Over time, the treated follicles may recover from the initial damage and grow hair again. It's a tall order to eliminate every hair follicle in a given area. Therefore, you may notice a tiny amount of hair regrowth.

Should you shave after laser? ›

Can You Shave After Laser Hair Removal? You can shave after you are receive a laser hair removal treatment. However, it is important that you do not shave right away. You'll be required by your medical professional to shave several days before your appointment to ensure the hair is the right length.

When is the best time to get laser hair removal? ›

It's best to begin laser hair removal at the end of summer, or even into the fall or winter. Laser hair removal requires multiple treatments which are staggered six apart.

Does Brazilian laser include crack? ›

A "Brazilian" laser session typically removes all of the hair in the pubic region, the vulva, the perineum, and around the anus. If there is significant hair growth in the butt crack, or on the buttocks themselves, your healthcare provider may offer this area to be treated as well.

Is 8 weeks too long between laser hair removal? ›

For most people, it's best to wait between four and eight weeks between each treatment, and we generally recommend six treatments for optimal results.

Does laser hair removal cause wrinkles? ›

KEEPS YOU WRINKLE-FREE. There is a persistent myth that lasers for hair removal promote ageing. However, the opposite is true.

Can you get HPV from laser hair removal? ›

Therefore, long term occupational exposure to laser plumes may lead to HPV infection and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. There is significant morbidity associated with these lesions and their treatment.

Is laser hair removal treatment safe for skin? ›

Laser facial hair removal comes with some risks and side effects. The disadvantages associated with laser treatment include, Possibility of side effects such as injuries, infection, skin rashes. Risk of skin lightening or darkening on face.

Is Brazilian laser hair removal safe? ›

Brazilian Laser Hair Removal. Laser hair removal is a safe, fast and effective medical grade procedure for reducing unwanted hair permanently from almost all part of the body. It has been approved as “permanent hair reduction” in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1997.

Does laser make you look younger? ›

As the hot laser touches the skin it almost immediately improves the skin elasticity and encourages new collagen production. As the damage is erased, a younger appearance is achieved.

Do pores close after laser hair removal? ›

That's a major bonus! The laser also stimulates our fibroblasts, which causes a sudden boost in skin cell turnover healing old scars from nicks and ingrown hairs. It shrinks the pores so the skin on your legs, bikini, underarms or anywhere on the body will look like the inside of your arms: smooth, even and pore-less.

Does laser hair removal make you look younger? ›

Like we stated above, laser hair removal can help stimulate tissue growth and increase collagen production. This is huge. Stimulating these functions helps bring nutrients to the skin in the affected areas, increase volume (which can tighten the skin around it), and make the skin look supple, youthful and full of life!

Can you laser your vag? ›

Like a Brazilian wax session, a Brazilian laser removal treatment has the goal of removing excess, scratchy hairs from your bikini line, vulvar area, and around your vagina and anus. You decide just how much you want to (permanently) remove. You may opt for full removal, which will take away all of your unwanted hairs.

Can laser hair removal make you feel sick? ›

Laser hair removal should have not effect on nausea. It does not penetrate past the skin. It sounds like this is a coincidence or some kind of anxiety.

When can I shower after laser? ›

How long after laser hair removal can I shower? Ideally 24 hours, but if you must shower wait at least 6-8 hours after your session. Use tepid water and avoid using any harsh products, scrubs, exfoliating mitts, loofahs or sponges on your treatment area.

How long after laser will hair fall out? ›

What happens right after the treatment? Do the hairs fall out right away? In many patients the skin is slightly pink for 1-2 days; in others (generally, fairer patients) there is no pinkness after laser hair removal. Hairs begin to fall out in 5-14 days and may continue to do so for weeks.

How many sessions does it take for laser hair removal to work? ›

As a general rule of thumb, the majority of patients need four to six sessions. Individuals rarely need more than eight. Most patients will see results after three to six visits. Additionally, treatments are spaced out about every six weeks since individual hairs grow in cycles.

What should you not do before laser hair removal? ›

Do not wax or pluck. Shaving removes longer hairs while keeping the root intact. It's the root of the hair the laser targets, so the root must be present for your treatment to work best. Take a shower right before your appointment and clean the treatment area, making sure to remove dirt and oil from the skin.

Do people regret getting laser hair removal? ›

But, as with any treatment that ends with more or less permanent results, not everyone is pleased with their decision. While some feel freedom after banishing all the hair on their bodies for good, others express deep regret — especially given how the conversation around body hair has shifted in recent years.

Videos

1. What are side effects from laser hair removal? | wikiHow Asks a Dermatologist
(wikiHow)
2. Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent, Safe, Worth It? Dark Skin, Side Effects, Cancer, Home Lasers, Burns
(Dr Simi Adedeji)
3. Facial Hair Removal Using Laser | Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal of Face | Do's and Donts
(DermaOne Clinic - Best Hair Transplant Clinic in Delhi)
4. Laser hair removal | Is it safe? What are the side-effects? | Explains Dr. Cuterus
(SheThePeople TV)
5. Laser Hair Removal: Dermatologist Answers Common Questions! | Dr. Sam Ellis
(Dr. Sam Ellis)
6. Laser hair removal side effects #laserhairremoval #Skincaretips #beautytips
(Saraswat Hospital)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jamar Nader

Last Updated: 03/12/2023

Views: 6461

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jamar Nader

Birthday: 1995-02-28

Address: Apt. 536 6162 Reichel Greens, Port Zackaryside, CT 22682-9804

Phone: +9958384818317

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Scrapbooking, Hiking, Hunting, Kite flying, Blacksmithing, Video gaming, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Jamar Nader, I am a fine, shiny, colorful, bright, nice, perfect, curious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.