Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?
The short Answer - YES, it is perfectly safe! Most people do not experience any kind of side effects. This blog post is about the safety of laser hair removal and the minor side effects some people experience.
Laser hair removal is an alternative to traditional hair removal methods, like shaving, epilating or plucking. It’s also seen as a long-term solution that minimize all hair worries among men and women.
Yet, it's high-tech, and often uses radiation and heat. For that reason, we have found that many people are skeptical and worried about the side effects of using a laser on their body parts.
Like with any cosmetic procedure, there are minor side-effects that usually disappears very quickly. As for major side-effects, this almost never happens.
Men and women have been using laser hair removal for over 40 years without experiencing any major side effects. But let’s focus on the minor side-effects. We mention them below. This should give you an idea of the safety levels of laser hair removal!
What Makes Laser Hair Removal A Safe Procedure?
The laser works by emitting light which targets the melanin in the hair. After detecting the hair pigment, the light gets converted into heat energy which then plays the role of damaging the hair follicle to delay or completely inhibit hair growth.
The fact that laser hair removal does not involve plucking or painful tagging to get the hairs off the skin makes it more of a safe hair removal method.
Also, to enhance safety when using the laser hair removal, it is advisable to seek a certified dermatologist to advise you on the best numbing cream to use for the target areas. The numbing cream works by taking away the stinging sensations that come with the laser pulses during hair removal.
However, to be on the safe side, go for an anesthetic cream if you are targeting to treat the bikini area, lip area, and underarms. However, steer clear of the back, chest, and legs when using the anesthetic cream.
The use of laser hair removal also allows you to tone down the shaving intensity should you experience discomfort. How user-friendly is that! If you were getting waxed it's definite that there is no dialing down the pain; you have to sit through the entire agonizing procedure. Thanks to laser hair removal, safety is in your hands as you get to control the gadget to fit your comfort.
Things To Do To Enhance the Safety of Laser Hair Removal
- Make sure you shave the area to be treated within 24 hours before laser treatment. Don’t be tempted to wax or tweeze the area to be treated. Also, avoid electric razors as they tend to leave patches of long hair. The goal is to ensure you don't leave long hair when shaving as it can cause irritation during laser procedure.
- Avoid applying makeup or lotions, sun-cream and deodorant before and after laser treatment.
- Avoid fake tanning 3-4 weeks before your laser treatment. Also, ensure all the tan residues are removed by thorough exfoliation before the procedure.
- Stay away from the gym for a day or two after your laser treatment. This is to avoid creating a warm environment that favors bacteria multiplication which can cause infections to the treated area.
Minor Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
Most cosmetic procedures are associated with minor side effects and these effects also vary in different individuals. Luckily, with laser hair removal treatment you don't have to worry about experiencing major side effects. The minor side effects associated with laser hair removal:
Slight Temporary Irritation
Some people report experiencing irritation and redness on the skin during and after the cosmetic procedure. This pain subsides in a few hours after treatment. However, should the irritation evolve into swelling, grab an ice pack and press on the affected area to alleviate the pain and reduce the swelling. If the symptoms persist to the second or third day, quickly see a dermatologist for a better remedy.
Swelling problems are not common, even with non-laser procedures (waxing for example).
Normally, your problems should subside a few hours after laser exposure. During that time,(if you experience swelling) we recommend using ice packs for pain and swelling. Also, if you feel that your symptoms are worsening, we recommend calling a doctor.
After using laser removal, you might notice changes in your skin contrast. Your skin may appear lighter or darker.
Laser treatment is reported to bring about changes in skin contrast to a group of individuals. Some people with lighter complexion notice darkening of the skin around the treated area while the vice versa occurs to individuals with darker complexion. This effect is also temporary and luckily, is also not experienced by everyone, so cross your fingers; you might be among the people who don't experience it at all.
Darker skinned individuals are more prone to light spots. And the opposite occurs to lighter skin individuals, who might receive darker pigmentations. Again, like redness problems, they're only temporary. And they should disappear within a few hours.
Basic side-effects should not be a cause of concern. 90% of men and women that receive IPL laser hair removal do not experience these kinds of side effects.
Serious but Rare Side Effects Associated With Laser Hair Removal Treatment
- Excess hair growth in the areas you have treated.
- Whole changes in skin texture (apply specifically to people who were recently tanned).
- Scars – occur to individuals with sensitive skin.
- Crusting and blistering – occur from sunlight exposure right after laser use.
If you’re worried about the previous side-effects, you can do a small test on your skin using the handset to see if your skin are prone to these side effects.
While they’re rare, some might apply to you. Ask your doctor to evaluate your skin health before starting a laser procedure!
Occurrence of blisters and crusts
This is bound to happen to some individuals if they happen to get exposed to the sun for a long duration after laser treatment.
Excessive growth of hair after treatment
Failure to repeat the treatment as recommended may cause increased hair growth to treated areas.
Scarring may occur in case an individual has very sensitive skin
To avoid extreme effects, which are very rare, do a small test and observe how your skin reacts to the treatment before embarking on a full body treatment.
What About Long-Term Side-Effects?
Most people approaching laser procedures inquire about cancer risks and infertility problems.
We’ll explore both below, giving you an answer on whether they’re possibilities!
(A) Cancer Risks
Laser procedures are not carcinogenic. Also, do note that laser procedures can sometimes cure specific types of pre-cancerous formations. The reason why this myth exists is due to UV worries. UV is a known carcinogenic. However, laser procedures use heat, and sometimes treat their side-effects!
Lasers also differ by type. Some are used for hair removal, which minimizes harmful radiation. Other forms are used for wrinkle removal, and for sun damage reduction. Basically, laser procedures aren’t cancerous.
That is another myth. Laser hair doesn’t target sexual organs. In fact, the lasers themselves do not penetrate the skin! However, this doesn’t mean you should use laser surgery during pregnancy. In fact, …
Avoid Laser Surgery When Pregnant.
It’s simply not recommended. The reason for this is, there are no safety studies on laser use during pregnancy.
So why take the risk?
However, you can use them to treat excessive hair growth “after” giving birth. Some women experience excessive hair growth after giving birth.
Myths Associated With Laser Cosmetic Treatment
Laser treatment causes cancer
This myth exists due to concerns about UV light. However, it is important to demystify this by pointing out that laser procedures are not in any way carcinogenic. On the contrary these same lasers can be used to cure some types of cancerous formations and side effects.
Laser treatment can cause infertility
There being no adequate safety studies about laser usage during pregnancy, it is not recommended for pregnant women. However, this doesn't mean that laser procedures affect the fertility of individuals. The treatment is external hence does reach the internal sexual organs responsible for reproduction.
After delivery, some women experience excessive hair growth and going for laser hair removal is totally safe during this period.
Facts About Hair Removal and Its Safety
It is safe and works for all skin tones
Before the introduction of effective gadgets like the Bareskin IPL, laser hair removal was not really recommended for individuals with darker complexions. This was due to the fact that laser energy targets the pigmentation in the hair, therefore the dark skin tones could easily attract the laser beam and risk burning the skin, however that has changed with modern innovations. Laser hair removal now requires the hair to be just dark enough to draw laser light and be converted to heat energy.
More hair growth can be experienced after treatment
It is true that some individuals experience increased rates of hair growth after laser hair removal treatment. Some even report to notice longer and thicker hair growth than before the treatment. So it is a fact that laser treatment does stimulate hair growth in some individuals.
It is not only safe but also fast
A full face appointment can take just 20 minutes of your time. Consultation and makeup removal time being included in the twenty minutes proves that the cosmetic procedure is indeed time efficient as compared to other hair removal methods like waxing and threading.
Sun exposure is bad for your skin before and after treatment
Dermatologists do advise that avoiding sun bathing before the treatment is essential for faster skin healing after treatment. Also, one is advised to wait one to two weeks before they can use fake tans and chemical peels on the skin to avoid harming the skin which is already susceptible to infections after treatment.
Why Laser Hair Removal Is Still Worth the Risk
The following are reasons why you should still consider using laser treatment for your hair removal routine.
- Laser hair removal drastically reduces hair growth to a point whereby regular shaving is no longer necessary. With regular treatment, your shaving problems are taken care of for up to 3 months and depending on your hormones, the period can be longer hence you get to enjoy smooth skin for a while.
- It is fast and covers large areas. Laser hair removal can be used on every part of the body; the face, arms, chest, back, legs and bikini area. The procedure is fast and does not require much of your energy as the gadget is light in weight.
- With considerably alleviated. Also, applying ice to the target area before and after the procedure helps numb the area and reduce the pain. With regular treatment, the hair becomes finer with time and the procedure gets progressively less painful.
- The side effects experienced after laser treatment are usually short lived. If you have a high pain tolerance then this is the best hair removal method for you.
Laser hair removal is safe. It's a low-risk procedure, and in very rare situations does it cause chronic problems. The effects of laser hair removal vary from one individual to another and usually subside within a few hours. Apart from giving your skin a smooth and hairless appearance, laser hair removal can also help in solving the problem of ingrown hairs that tend to aggravate the skin and result in hyper pigmentation.
It is advisable to avoid lotions, deodorants and exposure to too much sun before and after laser treatment. Failure to do so, you will be risking getting irritation and even infection on the treated areas. To avoid severe effects associated with this cosmetic treatment, it is wise to see a dermatologist to walk you through the details, precautions and perks associated with laser hair removal.
Symptoms are short-lived and disappear within a few hours. Regardless, if you have any concerns, be sure to visit a doctor beforehand!
Jennifer Taylor noted last year that laser hair removal perfectly safe. It's been used for over 40 years or more.
Please have a look at our guide on how to use it.