Although laser hair removal is incredibly safe, there are some potential side effects and risks. Understanding the dangers of laser hair removal treatment can help patients make informed decisions about their care.
Dangers and Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
Short-term side effects of laser hair removal may include swelling and redness, which typically subside in a few days. However, in rare circumstances, or if the procedure is performed incorrectly, patients face a number of dangers, such as burns and change in skin color. During your laser hair removal consultation, be sure to ask about the doctor’s credentials and training. The doctor should also be willing to thoroughly discuss the potential risks of laser hair removal with you to ensure that all your questions are answered.
Laser Hair Removal Burns
One of the most common dangers associated with improperly performed laser hair removal procedures are burns, which may occur if the skin, rather than the hair follicle, absorbs the laser energy. It is extremely important to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for laser hair removal before undergoing treatment in order to minimize the risk of burns as well as other possible side effects.
Though rare, laser hair removal burns occur more frequently on patients with darker skin, as skin with darker pigment absorbs the laser more readily. While most instances of laser hair removal burns are mild, there have been a number of severe burn cases.
The majority of burn cases are a result of diode laser hair removal performed by someone who is not qualified or experienced in the procedure. Receiving treatment from an inexperienced or unqualified technician can dramatically increase the risks of laser hair removal. As there are no existing standards for the licensing of qualified laser hair removal technicians, prospective patients must use discretion. Make sure the clinic you visit features the latest hair removal systems, and avoid doctors that advertise laser hair removal prices that seem too good to be true. Lower-than-average prices often indicate that treatments will be of lower-than-average quality.
Changes in Skin Tone
Two of the more noticeable, but less painful, side effects of laser hair removal are hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmentation refers to the darkening of skin that may occur after the laser hair removal treatment. The laser can oftentimes stimulate melanin production, creating a reaction that is similar to getting a suntan. Hypopigmentation, on the other hand, refers to the lightening of skin that can occur after a laser hair removal treatment. The absorption of laser light can, in some cases, inhibit melanin production, leading to a loss of pigment. Like hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation occurs more often in patients with darker skin. And, while hyperpigmentation is typically reversible, hypopigmentation is not.
When considering laser hair removal, it is important to realize that the most important is that experience and training are critical to the success of the treatment. Improperly executed programs introduce some risks and may cause serious side effects. To avoid the danger of laser hair removal, ask a professional to determine if you are a candidate for treatment and ensure that you thoroughly discuss any concerns you may have. Find a beauty dermatologist in your area to arrange a consultation.