Is laser hair removal safe? Understanding potential risks and side effects

laser hair removal

When it comes to laser hair removal versus conventional methods, the use of lasers offers a longer-lasting alternative that’s usually well worth the cost for most people. If you’re tired of plucking, waxing, and shaving, then you’ve probably considered having this type of hair removal done. However, there’s always a concern for the risks and side effects associated with the use of lasers on the skin, and many individuals lack a complete understanding of what could happen during or after treatment.

Overall, the process of laser hair removal is widely considered safe and has very few or mild side effects. While the procedure doesn’t result in permanent hair removal, the lasers work is by significantly inhibiting the hair follicle from growing new hair, minimizing its occurrence and appearance. Assuming the proper type laser technology is being administered, any negative reactions or side effects are few and far between. However, despite this option being a safe way to get rid of unwanted hair, there are some potential risks that should be better known.

Side effects of laser hair removal

Pain or Tenderness

This is probably the best known side effect seen with laser hair removal. It’s usually warned about before you have the procedure done and isn’t even considered to be a side effect in many cases. The affected skin may become red and tender for a few days after having laser hair removal. 

Most people describe it as being similar to a sunburn. It’s more common to experience this sensation when you have laser hair removal done where you also have sensitive skin. People tend to notice less tenderness with their legs but may have more when it’s done on their face. The good news is that the symptoms are short-lived and should subside on their own after a few days. You may want to avoid any products that could be irritating like exfoliants during this time.

Hyperpigmentation

According to the laser hair removal specialists, changes in skin tone are one of the most common side effects of treatment. While still very uncommon, some people with lighter skin tend to notice this more. The laser that is used to remove the hair follicle may slightly alter melanin production, causing a change in skin color as well. 

Usually, these changes will be noticeable to you but are not incredibly different than your normal skin color. Additionally, the changes will often fade away over time and you can expect your skin to return to normal.

Skin Infection

Although this is not a common side effect, some people may experience a skin infection in the hair removal area. The affected area should be treated like any other type of skin infection. Although not very common, you may want to see a dermatologist if you experience this as well.

Burns or Blisters

This is not a well-known side effect of laser hair removal. It tends to occur only when a person has the procedure done incorrectly. However, if you have extremely sensitive skin, it may happen to you. It’s always important to tell the practitioner who is doing the laser procedure if you have this sensitivity. They can apply a cooling device before using the laser which will help to prevent burns and blistering.

If you do encounter either of these problems, it may be a good idea to see a dermatologist and evaluate the area for the best treatment. However, applying aloe vera to the area and keeping it open to the air is a good way to help the area heal quickly. Avoid exposing any burns or blisters to direct sunlight as much as possible. If this happens to your face, then wear a hat when going out in the warmer months.

Eye Injury

Since laser hair removal involves using lasers, there is always a risk of a potential eye injury, especially if you are having hair removal done on your face. Because this can cause permanent damage, the key to preventing this from being a problem is to wear protective eye equipment while the procedure is being carried out. 

Due to serious risk in ocular injury, laser hair removal can not be performed on the eyebrow area. However, this risk can be largely avoided by getting treatment at a reputable clinic that specializes in laser hair removal.

Limiting Risk

Although laser hair removal is a safe procedure, this doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any side effects. The best way to avoid any of these problems is to follow the directions given by the practitioner. Always make sure to discuss any current sensitivities as it may be possible to prevent these side effects from happening. However, even with the potential for some negative side effects, they are fairly mild and short-lived as well. This means that you can choose laser hair removal without being concerned for severe health problems.