Laser Hair Removal Side Effects - The Good and the Bad

For some sun-loving people, getting ready for summer involves hair removal. But are you willing to risk the for the sake of looking good? Here are some of the pros and cons to determine if laser hair removal is right for you.

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The Biggest Side Effects


  • It's time-consuming. A single session won't get rid of all the hair, since hair needs to be treated while it's in its mature phase. Several sessions are needed to get great results over one treated area. Treatment typically starts around 6 to 8 weeks to complete.

  • and requires multiple sessions to treat all of the unwanted hair. This obviously adds to the overall cost.

  • There are some risks associated with treatment. These are detailed below.


  • Results are long-lasting. For most people, the results of laser hair removal are semi-permanent with only occasional touch-up treatments for maintenance. Most people who are used to frequently shaving, and love the fact that they can go for months with smooth, silky skin... sometimes years!

  • Precision, speed and predictability. Of course, treatment in a clinic isn't as convenient as at-home treatments with hair removal laser devices like the laser... but the procedure in a clinic is quick and predictable.

Laser Hair Removal Risks

For most people, the risks are minimal with laser hair removal. The technician or doctor is trained to fine tune the to the unique characteristics of your skin and hair. But in the rare instance, there are some adverse side effects that everyone should be aware of.


  • Burns - When the laser is set too high, the energy that is supposed to be directed down the hair strand and into the hair follicle will instead, injure the skin surface. Second degree burns can result leading to blistering, sensitivity, swelling and even scarring. The technician should be immediately alerted if you feel any discomfort.

  • Change in skin color - Our skin changes colors throughout the year depending on the amount of sunlight we are exposed to. Similarly, when exposed to the energy of the laser light, the skin can darken or lighten. It is very important that the technician matches the intensity of the laser to your skin and hair type. Sometimes these pigment color changes can be permanent, resulting in white, brown, pink and even purple splotches.

    Don't undergo laser hair treatment if you've been tanning or recently got a sun burn. The damage may not be visible on the top layer of the skin but may remain subcutaneous, unseen with the eye. The added energy of the laser can easily contribute to the injury when usually it would not.

  • Damaged skin is susceptible to bacteria and viruses. When the skin is injuried by a laser, the wound can get infected resulting in redness and persistent pain. In some cases, a cold-sore can result if the herpes simplex virus enters the wound. It's very important to clean the tender skin after every treatment to avoid infection as the skin repairs itself. Avoid scratching. For people with , scabbing of the hair follicles may result a few days after treatment.

  • Eye injuries from laser hair removal treatment are very rare, but possible. Protective glasses should be used.

  • The laser can change the colors of tattoos. Just as colors fade in sunlight, the laser light can degrade and change the color of the ink that is deposited under the epidermis. For some people, the damage to their art work is devastating and embarrassing.

Laser hair removal is safe for the most part. The technology is mature and is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the US and Canada. But as millions of procedures occur, a few bad consequences are statistically possible.

While you don't have to be scared about the potential side effects of laser hair removal, it's always good to educate yourself about the pros and the cons of the procedure. You'll be able to ask the right questions when choosing a clinic or hair removal salon to deliver the results you'll hopefully be happy with. A dermatologist can help you with information specifically tailored to your individual circumstances.





About Help for Hair Removal:
This website offers tips on treatment options for both men and women. Learn about the various alternatives for removing unwanted body hair so that you can decide which option you might want to try.