Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal Side Effects

Laser hair removal is a popular and effective way to remove unwanted hair from the body. It uses laser technology to target and destroy hair follicles, resulting in permanent hair reduction. While it is generally safe and effective, you should be aware of some potential side effects and risks before undergoing the procedure. This article discusses the pros and cons of laser hair removal, standard laser hair removal side effects, alternative methods, and how to ensure a safe and successful treatment.

What Is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses laser technology to target and destroy hair follicles.

The laser emits a beam of light absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle, which then destroys the follicle and prevents it from producing new hairs. The procedure is typically done in several treatments over several weeks or months, depending on the treatment area. It can remove hair from almost any body part, including the face, legs, arms, underarms, bikini area, chest, and back.

Laser treatment could be an effective solution to eliminate unwanted hair. But be aware that there may be side effects related to laser treatments.

These injuries tend to be mild and temporary, such as redness, swelling, and changes in skin pigmentation. To get optimal results, you must visit a qualified practitioner.

What Happens During Treatment?

Laser treatments emit light that targets pigment and destroys hair follicles, stopping future hair growth by permanently eliminating these follicles. Your doctor will likely suggest multiple sessions spread out over a month or more; after completion, approximately 80% or more of unwanted hair should have been removed from your body.

Before beginning treatment, your doctor will cleanse and apply topical numbing cream to any sensitive areas, then put goggles over your eyes as protection. Your doctor then uses laser technology to target unwanted hairs; the process may only take minutes for smaller areas or up to an hour for larger ones; multiple sessions may be required as the laser only kills active-growing follicles.

Before your appointment, for several weeks before shaving or waxing in the treated area. While shaving is permitted, only that area should be shaved to allow the laser more easily find and target your follicles. Furthermore, avoid sun exposure as laser treatment cannot work on tanned skin; if exposed, use an SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen when necessary.

Once your session is over, you should be able to resume normal activities. Your skin may feel tender if a large area isis treated; in such instances, your doctor may suggest using steroid cream for any redness or swelling afterward. It's wise to wait until they assess your progress before scheduling additional procedures on that skin area.

Laser hair removal is generally safe for most people; however, improper implementation may result in side effects like skin pigment changes (darkening or lightening), scarring, blistering, and infections if performed incorrectly. While such problems are rare when handled by experienced medical practitioners, choosing one who understands your skin type and can customize treatment is critical for successful laser hair removal results.

What Happens After Treatment?

Unwanted hair can irritate, mainly if it grows where it shouldn't. Shaving, waxing, and plucking can all be time-consuming processes; laser hair removal offers an efficient and effortless solution that leaves silky-smooth skin in its wake with minimal upkeep required after completion of treatment.

Before beginning treatment, technicians will start cleansing the area to be treated. A topical anesthetic may then be applied to minimize discomfort during this step. Next, technicians will guide the laser over targeted areas on your body where you will experience something like rubber bands snapping against your skin - this process may take several minutes or up to an hour, depending on their size.

After your treatment, you must avoid direct sunlight to safeguard the treated area and use a moisturizer for two weeks post-shave. The laser targets hair follicles; shaving interferes with their ability to grow new hair.

Your initial laser hair removal session should successfully eliminate 10-25% of unwanted hair; however, multiple sessions may be required before seeing the full effects of this treatment. Most individuals require four or six sessions before reaching their desired outcomes.

Follow all pre and post-treatment instructions provided by your practitioner to lower the risk of complications during laser hair removal treatment, including color changes to skin, blistering, and crusting or scarring. These risks increase when you use home kits or seek treatment from someone not certified in laser hair removal.

If any of the side effects above occur, contact your practitioner or medical provider immediately. If necessary, visit an emergency room - but soaking a cloth in cool water or applying an ice pack could also help alleviate irritation or pain from laser hair removal treatments.

What Happens if I Have Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin is a condition in which your body's largest organ responds negatively when exposed to certain irritants such as foods, cosmetics, or environmental elements that trigger itchy, dry, or red skin reactions. Though common among all people, taking sensitive skin issues seriously should never be ignored.

Laser hair removal may cause minor side effects for those with sensitive skin due to the use of powerful lasers that could potentially burn the surface of their skin if too hot. Therefore, before treating an entire face or body area with a laser, a practitioner will conduct tests with small patches of skin to ensure everything is safe before proceeding further with their full-face or body treatment plan.

Irritation and redness are the most frequently reported laser hair removal side effects and should typically subside within an hour after treatment. If there is sudden reddening or itching in an area after undergoing hair removal treatment, it could indicate that your body is adapting to this change and should be addressed using cool compresses to alleviate symptoms.

After treatments, some individuals may notice changes to the color of their skin afterward, often with lighter or darker spots appearing where affected. While superficial burns tend to be harmless, it's wise to consult your dermatologist as soon as possible.

People with sensitive skin should stay out of direct sunlight as it may cause spots. Moisturizing can also help avoid irritation and discomfort in sensitive areas.

Sensitive skin may require additional sessions than without since laser hair removal doesn't permanently eliminate hair; instead, it simply slows its growth rate. Once initial sessions have concluded, maintenance sessions can help remove stray or regrown hairs; by this time, your hair should have become thinner and less dense than before.

What Happens if I'm Pregnant?

Pregnancy brings many hormonal shifts that often lead to unwanted hair growth. Women may notice body hair sprouting up unexpectedly in areas like their nipples due to pregnancy's natural surge of androgen and estrogen; though perfectly honest, it can be highly frustrating for women trying to maintain specific aesthetic standards during gestation. For this reason, many reputable laser clinics won't treat pregnant patients because it is best to avoid caution and reduce treatment risks during pregnancy.

If you begin laser treatments while pregnant, you must notify your clinic as soon as possible so they can postpone them until after delivery. Your obstetrician can best advise when your hormone levels have returned to normal and your skin can tolerate laser treatments again.

In the interim, there are other methods you can use to remove unwanted hair. Shaving, waxing, and plucking should all be safe options during pregnancy. You could also consider hair removal creams; before using any, speak to your physician first, as these may not be secure options for expectant mothers.

Although laser treatments remain unclear regarding whether they threaten an unborn baby, medical professionals recommend you put their use off until after delivery. Laser therapies have long been used safely worldwide to treat genital warts and kidney stones - but are less well-known for protecting fetuses.

Remember that pregnancy can bring many other complications, so rushing into something like laser hair removal just because it seems easy should not be your top priority. You can do other things to make pregnancy more comfortable without risking adverse side effects, like laser hair removal.

Pros & Cons of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is generally considered safe and effective for most people. It can provide a permanent reduction in unwanted hair growth with minimal discomfort.

However, you should be aware of some potential side effects and risks before undergoing the procedure. These include skin discoloration, itching, redness, tingling, irritation, darkening or lightening, ingrown hairs, keloid scars, and skin texture changes. In addition, laser hair removal may not be suitable for people with naturally tanned skin or recently tanned skin. Sun exposure can make the treatment less effective and increase the risk of side effects. It is essential to discuss any concerns with your doctor before undergoing the procedure.

Alternative Methods of Hair Removal

If you are not a good candidate for laser hair removal or looking for an alternative method of hair removal, several options are available.

Shaving is one of the most common methods of removing unwanted hair. It is quick and easy but does not provide permanent results. Waxing is another option that can provide longer-lasting results but can be painful and may cause skin irritation. Electrolysis is another option for permanent hair removal, but it can be time-consuming and expensive. Other methods, such as creams or ointments, may temporarily relieve unwanted hair but can cause skin irritation or discoloration.

Steroid creams may also reduce inflammation but should only be used under medical supervision.

How to Ensure a Safe & Effective Treatment

If you decide to undergo laser hair removal, it is essential to follow your doctor's instructions carefully to ensure a safe and effective treatment. Before your treatment, avoid sun exposure for at least two weeks before your appointment. This will help reduce the risk of side effects such as skin discoloration or hyper- or hypopigmentation. You should also avoid using products containing retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids, as these can make your skin more sensitive to the laser. Wearing protective eyewear to protect your eyes from the laser light is essential during your treatment.

You should also avoid touching or rubbing the treated area, which can cause irritation or infection. After your treatment, it is essential to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when going outdoors, as this will help protect your skin from sun damage.


Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to reduce unwanted hair growth with minimal discomfort permanently. Alternative methods, such as shaving or waxing, may provide temporary relief from unwanted hair but do not provide permanent results. Following your doctor's instructions carefully ensures a safe and successful treatment.