Over the past few years, laser hair removal has become extremely popular and a growing number of people are opting for the same, because they feel that this is a permanent solution for hair removal. Most people get tired of removing hair the traditional ways, such as by hair removal creams or waxing or shaving, because these lead to the eventual regrowth of hair. However, laser hair removal ensures your skin being hair free for a much longer time, if not permanently.
It is important to remember that laser hair removal devices are very specific and not all of them work well with all skin types. This is why it is imperative that you go to a reputed establishment to get the treatment done, because they will know what kind of device to use on what kind of skin.
Whether done properly or not, there are bound to be some side effects with laser hair removal and some of the most common ones include:
- Itching: While the light of the laser is meant to burn off the pigment cells in the hair, many a times, it can damage the very cells of the skin. If the level of stimulation is too high, it could lead to skin damage and that could cause itching.
- Swelling or redness: If your skin has been damaged by the light, it would cause the blood to rush to the area, which is why there would be redness or swelling.
While these two are the most common side effects, there are some more which are a tad bit more serious, but less common. These include:
- Burns: Technically, lasers are highly concentrated lights and if the same has not been applied correctly, it could lead to burns. While in most cases, the burns are only first degree, but these too should not be taken lightly.
- Infections: If your skin has already been damaged, it would quite possibly be more susceptible to infections. The infection could range from mild to serious and should be treated as soon as possible.
- Scabs: The appearance of scabs is actually a mechanism of the skin to protect itself and the light of the laser could often lead to damage, which would lead to formation of scabs.
- Acne flare up: When the light of the laser is directed to the skin, there can often be an increase in the production of sebum. This in turn could lead to an increase of pimples and acne.
- Hyperpigmentation: It is light that causes the production of more pigments, which is why in many cases, when there is laser treatment, there might be post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Hypopigmentation: The light of the laser device is meant to penetrate the skin and eventually burn away the pigment cells, present in the hair follicles. However, in many scenarios, the pigment cells of the skin also get burnt away, leading to patches of skin, which are lighter than the others.
- Purpura: This is scientific term for a condition, where the skin becomes purple due to extravasation of red blood cells from the vessels, as a result of the small blood vessels getting affected.
Yet another set of side effects, which can be caused due to improper laser hair removal include:
- If the eyes have not been protected properly, there is a chance of the eyes getting hurt or severely damaged.
- When hair is removed from sensitive parts of the body and when the eventual regrowth starts, there tends to be an immense amount of discomfort.
- In the days immediately after the procedure, your skin will feel extremely sensitive, which is why even the slightest itch or sting will feel much more exaggerated. In addition, certain creams or lotions could also cause irritation.
- Because your skin would already have been exposed to a lot of light, more light, especially in the form of sunlight, will cause much damage.
- In rare cases, people develop an allergy to the numbing cream that is used right before the laser hair removal procedure.
There are some precautions that can be taken, before and after the procedure, and these should help with the reduction of these above mentioned side effects. Here are the precautions you should take before you get the laser treatment:
- Avoid anything that could irritate your skin – so this means that you should avoid plucking, waxing, tweezing or even sun tanning for a few weeks.
- Make sure that you always apply sunscreen, when you step out. A sunburn could complicate things, which is why you need to take every step to avoid the same.
- In case you have herpes or a history of the same, it would be wise to undergo an anti-viral treatment.
- There are certain medications that you will have to avoid in the days before the procedure, especially photosensitive ones.
- Ideally, you will be asked not to shave for a few weeks because the stubble will help the doctor see the hair growth.
Then there are the precautions that you need to take once the laser hair removal procedure has been completed:
- Having a little bit of redness, or swelling is completely natural and normally the same does not last for more than a few hours. Your doctor will prescribe a clear aloe gel, which should be applied religiously for the next few days.
- Because the skin has been treated with a strong light, there is bound to be some amount of residual heat under the skin. If the heat or warmth does not go away, you will have to ice the area.
- For a minimum of a week, you will have to avoid creams and cosmetics, sunbathing or any activities that will lead you to sweating.
- In addition, you need to remember not to scrub your skin while taking a bath.
- While it might be a good idea to avoid stepping out in the sun for a few days, if you do have to go out, making sure that you slather a thick layer of the best sunscreen lotion possible.