Risks and Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal

Victorian_LasersLaser hair removal uses light to selectively target the cells responsible for hair growth while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed. The light is absorbed by pigment in the hair; this light is then converted to heat. With enough heat (70 degrees) the hair can be destroyed. For many women and men, this method is preferred over waxing, shaving, plucking, and hair removal creams. Laser hair removal offers a permanent solution to almost all skin types to remove unwanted hair from almost all areas of the body without the pain, irritation, nasty ingrown hairs and constant weekly, or for some even daily maintenance that other methods require. A course of treatments is required every 8 weeks for the body areas and every 4 weeks for the face as hair growth is quicker in this area.  Depending on the area being treated, treatment times may be as little as 5 minutes, for the face or 30 minutes for full legs. Fewer hairs return after each treatment and these hairs will usually be lighter and finer. Laser hair removal is the most effective method of hair removal, offering precision, speed and predictability, thus the reason it has become and continues to become the industry standard for permanent hair removal.

With all the benefits that laser hair removal offers over other methods, there is no doubt that for the right candidate it is the most effective and best option. Laser hair removal is a safe and effective treatment, however no treatment comes without risks and potential complications and these must be considered prior to treatment.

Risks & Side Effects 

Erythema: Redness, inflammation or a histamine reaction is normal, the area being treated will be red and bumpy after a treatment and should settle after 2 – 3 days. Any sort of trauma to the skin may react this way. Regular application of skinstitut laser aid will accelerate recovery.

Itchiness : A normal histamine reaction to the treatment and should settle 24 – 48 hours after treatment.

Pigmentation: Skin may become darker or lighter after a treatment. This is influenced by sun exposure, so make sure you avoid sun exposure to the area 6 weeks prior to your treatment. Even if you have had slight tan or have been sunburnt prior to your treatment it dramatically increases your chances of getting burnt.

Darker skin types are more susceptible to pigmentation as there is more pigment in the skin. Laser light is absorbed by pigment in the hair, however as the light cannot decipher between pigment in the hair and pigment in the skin, the skin can absorb the light also & may result in hyper or hypo pigmentation.

Crusting & Blistering – Sun exposure prior to your treatment increases your risk of being skin damage and being burnt, which can result in blisters and crusting, as the blisters and crusts heal you may be left with discolouration of the skin, the discolouration can heal on it’s own but may take quite a few months, in some cases however this discolouration may be permanent.

Steps you can take to prevent complications 


  • Avoid sun exposure, stay out of the sun for at least 6 weeks before your treatment & use sunblock with protection factor of at least 30+ every day throughout treatments.
  • Avoid any form of tanning throughout your treatment. Do not use fake tan moisturisiers, tanning sprays or solariums.
  • Do not wax, pluck or bleach the area for at least one month before and during your treatment.
  • Do not use Retin A for 2 weeks prior to treatment and do not use Roaccutane for at least 6 months prior to treatment. Always inform your therapist if you are taking these medications.

Inform your therapist if you are taking any medications or start taking any new medications during the course of your treatments.

Post Treatment

Apply a topical soothing gel after every treatment. This speeds up skin recovery after a treatment, reduces redness & inflammation.

Until redness has subsided avoid:

  • Use of hot or very cold water. Wash with tepid water.
  • Avoid swimming in pools and spas before and after treatments.
  • Avoid activities that apply heat to the body or cause the body to generate excessive heat or perspire excessively.
  • Do not use active products or exfoliators for at least 3 days after treatment, you can use a gentle face & body cleanser to avoid any irritation. 3 days post treatment you may start using active products again & exfoliating.

If you are ever concerned and unsure about the way your skin is responding to treatments, do not ignore it as its always best to contact your therapist who can assess the area to ensure that your skin response is normal.

The safety and effectiveness of your treatments is dependent upon your practitioner and equipment being used. A medical grade laser that has been certified by Candela ensures that your treatment is aiming for safe and permanent hair removal and treatments performed by a qualified, laser safety certified technicians mean your treatments are being conducted by a therapist who is able to treat you at a suitable wavelength to provide an effective and safe treatment for your skin type.

Contact us today for the safest, easiest and most permanent way to remove your hairs.