If you’re considering laser hair removal, you may be wondering what side effects – if any – you’ll experience. The great news is that laser hair removal is perfectly safe as long as it’s performed properly. Don’t worry – we’ll cover all of the possible side effects, so you know what to expect.
Common Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
Most people don’t experience any side effects from laser hair removal treatments. For those that do, the side effects are usually mild and might include:
- Skin irritation: Skin irritation is a common side effect. You may experience some redness, discomfort and possibly some swelling in the treated area. In most cases, these symptoms disappear within a few hours.
- Changes in skin pigment: Some people may experience changes in their skin color after laser hair removal treatments. Any skin lightening or darkening that occurs is typically temporary. It’s more common for people with darker skin to experience skin lightening – especially if the wrong laser is used for the treatment.
For the first few days after treatment, your skin may feel like it’s sunburned. This is perfectly normal, but if the redness and tenderness continues, see your doctor. Moisturizers and cool compresses can help ease the redness and irritation.
While changes in skin pigment are not as common as skin irritation, they can and do occur. Be sure to wear sunscreen daily throughout the month to help prevent pigment changes.
As you may have noticed, we didn’t list pain as a common side effect. Why? Because some degree of pain should be expected. For most people, the degree of pain is minimal – like pricking yourself with a pin.
That being said, there are some people with lower pain thresholds, and laser hair removal can be quite painful for some individuals. The good news is that most clinics and salons offer numbing creams to minimize the pain.
Over-the-counter creams are available, too, for use with at-home systems. If you’re using an at-home laser system, be sure to consult with the product’s manual to make sure it’s safe to use numbing creams. As a side note: you want to be careful with numbing creams. Strong creams used over large areas of treated skin can cause serious injury or even death.
Rare Side Effects
In rare cases, laser hair removal can cause:
- Changes in skin texture
- Graying of hair
- Excessive hair growth
Although blisters are rare, they tend to be more common in people with have darker skin. Scarring, permanent skin color changes, texture changes and crusting are very rare.
Other uncommon side effects include graying of the hair and excessive hair growth. Some people may have an allergic reaction from the gel used with certain types of lasers, but this is very uncommon.
Rare side effects are typically only experienced if the wrong laser is used for the treatment, or the treatment wasn’t performed properly.
Laser hair removal is safe and effective. If instructions are followed carefully and the right laser is used, most people won’t experience any side effects at all aside from minor skin irritation. That being said, people with darker complexions should take precautions and are far more likely to experience negative side effects.