What Are the Negatives of Laser Hair Removal?

Brian Lett
By Brian Lett
11 Min Read

what are the negatives of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal can be an efficient and affordable way to rid yourself of unwanted hair without resorting to razors or costly wax treatments. The process takes just a few sessions, which may seem expensive up front but will save money over time.

Risks associated with laser treatment can include infection, but this should be minimal when performed by an experienced practitioner. People should treat the treated area like any wound and refrain from applying over-the-counter antibiotic creams on larger patches of skin.

Long-term side effects

Laser hair removal is typically safe for most individuals. However, some may experience side effects from this treatment such as reddening and swelling of their skin which should subside within hours – using an anesthetic cream beforehand can help minimise these side effects and provide any necessary comfort relief. Ice packs may help ease any discomfort experienced. For maximum effectiveness it is advised that people using topical anesthetic prior to beginning their procedure use it prior to any procedure.

Folliculitis, or small pimple-like bumps on the skin caused by irritation from laser hair removal treatments, can also occur if used on darker skin or by an untrained practitioner. Although rare, it’s essential that all potential side effects be considered prior to making any decisions regarding laser hair removal treatments.

Laser hair removal often causes redness and swelling around the treated area due to laser’s damage to hair follicles. While this usually subsides quickly after treatment has begun, if redness or swelling persists it should be reported immediately to your physician for review.

Other potential side effects include changes to skin color, such as hyper- or hypopigmentation. This occurs as laser light is attracted more to dark hairs than light skin, creating an imbalance that results in hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation on some parts of the body. Although temporary, this will fade as hairs return to their original hue.

Some individuals may notice their hair grows back thicker after laser treatment, a normal side effect even when done correctly. Hair growth depends on follicle count; as each session of laser treatment decreases this number.

Herpes simplex outbreak, blistering and scarring may occur more commonly with at-home laser kits or when performed by untrained providers. Finally, pregnant women are not advised to have laser treatment due to lack of research proving its safety; until your hormone levels return to their regular levels before scheduling laser therapy.

Short-term side effects

Laser hair removal is usually safe for most people when performed correctly, though multiple sessions may be needed to completely rid themselves of unwanted hair and permanent removal cannot be guaranteed. While minor side effects like redness and swelling may be treated at home, anyone experiencing symptoms indicative of skin infection should visit their physician immediately.

Laser hair removal uses non-ionising radiation that does not ionise cells such as x-rays or nuclear radiation to target hair follicles, unlike its ionising counterpart. Treatment time varies based on the size and location of your treatment area and could take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour; during treatment you might hear something like rubber band snapping against skin as hair is burned by heat from laser. A cooling gel prior to procedure may help minimise pain and discomfort.

After your procedure, your skin may appear red and swollen at first, but should return to its regular state within several hours. Your dermatologist might apply a topical anesthetic in order to minimize your reaction; additionally it’s advised that artificial sunlight be avoided as much as possible after your treatment and use sunscreen with an SPF rating higher than 30 for optimal results.

Some individuals may develop a crust over the affected area, which should gradually go away over time. It’s essential that this area stays hydrated to avoid any possible scarring from scabbing which could occur and keep moisturized to reduce scarring from scabbing.

Changes to skin colour are another side effect of laser hair removal, often leading to lighter or darker patches on the surface of the skin that should eventually fade over time. However, improper laser use could leave permanent burn marks.

Blistering is another possible side effect of laser hair removal, caused when melanin in the skin is heated by its light energy and heated up by laser energy. It is more common among those with darker complexions and can result in skin discolouration; those experiencing this side effect should apply wound healing cream immediately and not pick at their blisters to avoid scarring. Blistering itself should go away within several weeks on its own.


Laser hair removal is a safe and effective solution for eliminating unwanted body hair. Although there are few side effects from laser hair removal, individuals with sensitive skin may experience redness or irritation which often resolves itself without medical intervention. Should adverse reactions arise however, contact your practitioner immediately as well as refraining from shaving or waxing affected areas and applying soothing creams instead to promote healing and prevent infection.

Are You Thinking about Laser Hair Removal? Protect Yourself Until After! Those interested in laser hair removal should avoid direct sunlight for six weeks following their procedure and use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to reduce sun damage risk. If their skin becomes inflamed or they experience any other adverse reactions they should visit their physician who may prescribe corticosteroid cream depending on its severity to reduce any inflammation that might be incurred from treatment.

Prior to seeking laser hair removal, individuals considering it must undergo a comprehensive clinical history review that includes information regarding infections, medication intake and hormonal imbalances, medical evaluation to establish whether excessive hair growth is hormonally driven and counseling to manage expectations before treatment begins. Before treatment commences and before photographing results is conducted; photographs should also be taken documenting outcomes.

The type of laser used depends on the color, thickness and location of the hair to be removed. Prior to embarking on full sessions with any new laser device, its effectiveness must first be tested on a small patch of skin for evaluation purposes. Qualified practitioners should utilize photo monitoring systems in order to track results of treatment sessions.

Laser hair removal does carry some risks, although these should be rare when administered by a trained practitioner. Burns, blisters and skin discoloration may occur. Furthermore, people may develop scars if their aftercare procedures such as applying moisturizer and cooling compresses are inadequate.

Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to certain types of laser equipment or have an allergy to numbing cream or shaving cream used during a procedure, while still others could react badly to its heat generated. Such symptoms should not necessarily indicate a need to stop, but may indicate you should seek another provider.


Laser hair removal can be an excellent alternative for people who are tired of shaving, waxing, or using depilatory creams to control unwanted hair growth. Furthermore, its gentle approach makes it ideal for sensitive skin as well. Unfortunately, this costly procedure often requires multiple sessions before realizing desired results; permanent removal may or may not occur.

Laser treatments utilize light beams that penetrate hair follicles to convert their pigment to heat, damaging hair follicles and eventually stopping their growth. This procedure is relatively painless and poses no long-term damage to skin; in fact, it may even help prevent ingrown hairs while saving time spent shaving, waxing or using depilatory products. Unfortunately this procedure is not approved under Medicare nor can you use your health savings account or flexible spending account for payments; so pregnant women or those with sensitive skin should not consider having this procedure performed.

Before going in for laser hair removal, ensure the technician has undergone proper training and has all of the appropriate credentials. Your best choice would be a doctor, nurse or physician assistant experienced with treating your specific skin type; med spas and salons may employ nonmedical staff who perform the procedure so it’s important to verify their qualifications prior to receiving treatment.

Laser hair removal involves cleansing the skin before applying a numbing gel, followed by placing protective covering over it. Once everything is ready, a laser machine is positioned over the hair growth site and treatment begins; pulses from this device typically last only a fraction of a second; thus small areas can often be treated within minutes and larger ones up to an hour later.

Laser hair removal generally produces positive results; however, you should discuss any side effects with your physician prior to beginning therapy. Possible issues could include blisters and skin crusting after sun exposure too soon after treatment; although rare these side effects should be reported immediately to your physician.

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