Let’s say you have some unwanted hair on your body and have heard that laser hair removal can provide the smooth skin you’re hoping for. But you also have some questions. Is laser hair removal safe? Is this kind of cosmetic dermatology bad for your skin? Find out what side effects you might experience on your skin after getting laser hair removal and the simple things you can do to prevent any kind of skin damage.
In laser hair removal, a practitioner at a dermatology cosmetic center will use a device that delivers a concentrated beam of light directed at the skin in order to damage the hair follicles underneath and slow the growth of new hair. Laser hair removal can be used on any part of the body except for the area around the eye because of the possibility of eye damage from the laser. Because laser hair removal works by the hair absorbing the light, it is more effective with contrasting hair and skin (like dark hair and light skin).
You will experience some mild symptoms of skin irritation following the laser treatment. Redness and swelling are common and can be relieved by application of ice packs. You might also see changes in the pigmentation of the treated area. If you’re light skinned, you may see darker spots, and if you’re darker skinned, your skin could have lighter spots. These spots usually disappear in a couple of days.
Almost any kind of serious skin damage can be avoided by using board-certified dermatologists and doctors only. Home kits, spas, and salons are not a safe choice for laser hair removal. At-home devices have not been studied or approved by the FDA and are not considered medical devices. It is much safer and more effective to go to a certified and trained doctor for your laser hair removal.
A rare side effect that you could experience from laser hair removal is scarring. However, this usually only happens if you already have a tendency to scar. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor so that he or she can recommend if laser hair removal is the best option for you. There are other hair removal procedures, like electrolysis, that might be better if you tend to scar easily. The dermatologist that you use should also have multiple types of lasers with a variety of settings to be able to effectively treat different types and colors of skin.
If you are not careful about your sun exposure before and after your laser hair removal, you might experience some sun damaged skin. One rare side effect is a change to your skin texture, which might occur if you’ve tanned recently. Mayo Clinic recommends staying out of the sun six weeks before undergoing the laser treatment, as well as using a broad spectrum sunscreen daily. You could also develop blisters and skin crusting after your laser procedure. This usually happens because of prolonged sun exposure after the laser treatment. It’s important that you continue to use sunscreen after your laser procedure and stay out of the sun as much as possible.
You can protect your skin by using proper hair removal techniques prior to your laser hair removal. The Mayo Clinic suggests that at least 4 weeks prior to laser treatment, you not use hair removal techniques like waxing or plucking. This can disturb the hair follicles and compromise the effectiveness of the laser procedure. Shaving and trimming one day before your treatment is recommended, as it removes the risk of burned hairs, which damage the surface of your skin.
You may have heard that laser hair removal can cause skin cancer or other types of cancer. This is a myth. Ionizing radiation that passes through the body can lead to the development of cancer because of how it can cause gene mutations. But, as the FDA states, laser hair removal uses non-ionizing radiation, only treating the surface of the skin and posing no risk of causing cancer.
When you are ready to use laser hair removal, get in touch with one of the locations of Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area. The experienced and certified dermatologists at Vanguard’s dermatology and cosmetic center can safely and effectively administer laser hair removal so that your skin remains healthy. We can help you with the safe elimination of your unwanted hair.