Can You Be on Antibiotics While Getting Laser Hair Removal?

Brian Lett
By Brian Lett
10 Min Read

Can You Be On Antibiotics While Getting Laser Hair Removal

Today, many of us take multiple medications, from antibiotics and mood stabilizers to acne medications and pain relievers.

Unfortunately, certain medications and supplements can make laser hair removal treatment unsafe. Below are a few drugs and supplements you should avoid prior to laser hair removal: Garlic is known for making skin more susceptible to light exposure during treatment, increasing your risk of burns afterward.


Antibiotics are powerful medicines that can treat many infections. But they’re not an absolute panacea, and taking antibiotics unnecessarily could make you ill; furthermore, overusing antibiotics has contributed to the rise of “superbugs” that are resistant to treatment.

Bacteria are microscopic microbes that inhabit your body and skin, as well as surrounding environments. Many types of bacteria do not present a threat, while some (like those in your digestive tract) actually help keep you healthy. But certain kinds of bacteria can cause infections that range from mildly unpleasant to serious infections – antimicrobial medications can kill these germs and help you feel better.

Your provider will select an antibiotic based on your symptoms, physical exam and blood or urine test results. Some antibiotics target specific strains of bacteria while others can target multiple forms.

Antibiotics can be administered in several different forms, from pills and creams to ointments and intravenously or intramuscularly injected directly into muscles.

When taking antibiotics, be sure to carefully follow your provider’s instructions. Take the full course as prescribed, reporting any side effects immediately. Don’t save or share leftover antibiotics; these steps can help minimize misuse and help avoid resistance.


Accutane can be lifesaving medication for people suffering from severe acne. The drug works by decreasing oil production in the skin. Unfortunately, however, this drug also makes the skin vulnerable to sun damage; thus it’s important to avoid tanning (both self-tanners and tanning beds) while taking Accutane and it would also be advisable to get regular liver enzyme panels (blood work) done in order to monitor how much of this drug is present within your system.

Dermatologists and laser technicians generally advise those taking Accutane to wait at least six months after discontinuing medication before beginning laser hair removal treatments, to allow their bodies to return to a more natural state and reduce the risk of permanent scarring as a result of treatments.

Some medications that contain photosensitive compounds can trigger an adverse reaction when exposed to laser treatment light, with responses ranging from mild to severe depending on both the medication itself and individual immune systems. Common reactions include patches of red and inflamed skin that may or may not itch while more serious cases may involve blistering.

Thermal energy from a laser target and destroy blood vessels feeding hair follicles on targeted areas. If they no longer receive their source of nourishment, hair follicles will die and stop producing hair; otherwise they could regenerate new cells to produce additional hair growth that temporarily reverses your results. To avoid this temporary reversal of results, we advise that areas to be treated do not be shaved at least four weeks before going in for laser hair removal treatment.


Your body requires various medications in order to operate optimally, such as antibiotics, cold and flu tablets, mood regulators, acne treatments and hormone replacement therapy for menopause – it is commonplace. Most drugs won’t have an adverse impact on laser hair removal treatments; however, there may be certain ones which cause photosensitivity reactions which must be avoided prior to treatments.

Drugs which cause photosensitivity include those containing chemical compounds with photoreactive agents that make the skin susceptible to light. Reactions may range from mild to severe and include rashes, red or itchy patches of skin, blistering and light burns – though most reactions are temporary, it should still be reported before laser hair removal to ensure no complications arise.

If you are taking medications that cause photosensitivity, it is highly advised that before booking your first treatments with laser hair removal treatments it is advisable to arrange a consultation with a qualified laser technician. At your consultation session they can assess any possible side effects that could arise from laser hair removal treatments and customize your treatments as necessary.

Other medications that can have more severe reactions with laser hair removal include retinols, anabolic steroids, anti-inflammatories, blood thinners and some herbal supplements. Women taking hormone replacement therapy (such as Climacteron or its equivalent pills or injections) should wait 6-10 weeks after finishing a course of treatments before scheduling laser sessions.

Blood Thinners

Antibiotics, cold and flu pills, mood stabilizers or acne medication are an increasingly prevalent part of modern life. But it’s important to be mindful that certain drugs and antibiotics may alter how your body reacts to light (including laser energy), making you more prone to skin damage during a laser hair removal treatment session.

Anticoagulant drugs that prevent blood clots may increase your risk of skin damage during laser hair removal by increasing the likelihood of bleeding and bruising post treatment. If you are currently on an anticoagulant, it is advised that you wait until its effects have worn off before beginning laser treatments.

Antihistamines, commonly used to relieve allergy symptoms, contain photosensitive compounds which could have an adverse reaction when exposed to laser treatment. To avoid such adverse interactions, it’s recommended that antihistamines should be discontinued two weeks prior to your laser treatment appointment.

Though it is rare, some patients have experienced a change in skin tone following laser treatment with Candela GentleYag for darker skin tones. If this side effect occurs after receiving laser therapy, it generally reverses itself after several days.

Color changes brought on by this therapy differ significantly from sunburns, making them hard for most people to detect. Only some individuals report being aware of it – often women’s faces, men’s shoulders and arms and when treating sparse single hairs and fine villus hairs on upper lips are most frequently affected by such changes.


Antibiotics, cold and flu tablets or mood regulators are not uncommon medications; therefore it is understandable that people taking them would want to know if laser hair removal treatments work while taking the same. Most prescription and over the counter drugs do not interfere with laser hair removal treatment; however some can increase photosensitivity which must be avoided prior to laser sessions.

Antihistamines are widely used to relieve allergy symptoms. They work by blocking histamine release – an allergen-triggered chemical responsible for many symptoms associated with allergies – from being released. Antihistamines may also be prescribed to alleviate nausea or motion sickness symptoms; over-the-counter options like Benadryl, Claritin and Periactin may provide temporary relief.

First generation antihistamines (also referred to as sedating antihistamines) typically act on histamine-1 receptors and tend to induce sleep at high dosage levels. Second-generation antihistamines, developed in the 1980s, do not cross the blood-brain barrier as easily and are less likely to produce side effects at standard dosages such as cetirizine and fexofenadine.

Some herbal medications contain photosensitive ingredients which could interact adversely with laser treatments, so it’s crucial to inform a licensed medical laser technician of all medications you are currently taking to ensure you receive safest and most effective care possible. Also, your healthcare professional can make recommendations both pre- and post-treatment to help ensure successful results of laser treatment, for instance avoiding tanning for several days prior to appointments as well as refraining from shaving the area in question in order to reduce irritation.

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