If you’re considering any type of cosmetic treatment it is important to have a good understanding of what it will involve, the results it can achieve, and the potential risks. Laser hair removal is generally safe and effective, but there are some potential side effects that you need to be aware of before you have this treatment.

Having Laser Hair Treatment

Laser hair removal uses a beam of light to destroy the hair follicles. Once the follicle has been eliminated, the hair won’t be able to grow back. It will usually take multiple treatment sessions to get rid of all the hair follicles in the treated area, but once these are complete you should see a long-term reduction in hair growth.

Risks of Laser Hair Removal

Some mild side effects are to be expected when you have laser hair removal, but they should go away by themselves within a few hours. However, other more serious side effects can also happen.

  • Skin irritation: you may notice some redness or swelling for a few hours after a laser treatment. More serious side effects such as blistering, crusting or even scarring can happen, but they are rare. You can reduce the chances of these kinds of problems by protecting your skin from the sun.
  • Sun sensitivity: your skin can be more susceptible to damage from UV light while you’re having laser treatment. You will need to limit sun exposure for the treated areas and use sun protection.
  • Changes in skin colour: the treated areas can sometimes become a little lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. This is more likely if you have dark skin or if the treated skin hasn’t been exposed to the sun very much. The change will only be temporary.
  • Change in hair growth: laser treatment can sometimes make hair turn grey or encourage more hair growth in the surrounding areas. However, these issues are rare, especially when the laser treatment is performed by an experienced doctor.

Other Hair Removal Methods

Although there are some potential side effects for laser hair removal, it is important to remember that other hair removal methods can also cause problems. Even waxing, shaving or using a hair removal cream can irritate your skin, cause minor cuts, or lead to ingrowing hairs. Other types of hair removal treatment can cause more serious side effects.

One method that is often confused with laser hair removal is IPL. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment uses a broader range of wavelengths to destroy hair follicles. Since IPL uses many wavelengths of light, it is more likely to cause problems such as burning and redness, especially on darker skin tones. Laser treatment has reduced these risks by selecting a limited range of wavelengths and tailoring them to the individual’s colouring.

If you have any concerns about the safety of laser hair removal, then you will be able to discuss them with your doctor during the initial consultation. You should also get in touch if you experience any issues during or after treatment.