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What are the Most Common Laser Hair Reduction Side Effects?

By Lindsay Zortman
Updated May 17, 2024
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The possible laser hair reduction side effects can be both temporary and permanent. Temporary side effects of laser hair removal include pain, redness, blistering and swelling in the treated area. Permanent laser hair removal side effects, such as skin discoloration and scarring, are also a possibility. As with any medical treatment, it is necessary to weigh the risk of side effects from laser hair reduction treatments.

Short-term laser hair reduction side effects are more common that permanent side effects. Pain during the procedure or discomfort can be alleviated by an over-the-counter pain reliever. If pain persists for longer than a week, a doctor should be consulted.

Ice packs or cold washcloths can help reduce swelling and redness around the hair removal site. Blisters may be the most serious of the short-term laser hair reduction side effects. Infection can enter through a blister, so it is important to follow the doctor's guidelines for treatment with topical cream and cleaning of the blisters. A follow-up appointment with the medical provider who performed the laser hair removal is recommended by most offices.

Long-term or permanent laser hair reduction side effects are often the biggest concern for a patient. Scarring can occur after blisters heal or as a result of a reaction between your skin and the laser used to perform the hair removal. Reducing the appearance of scarring may be possible, but eliminating the scar completely is unlikely.

Laser hair removal doctors will explain all possible side effects, including skin discoloration. The procedure can change your skin to either a darker or lighter pigment. This is a result of your skin's allergic reaction to the laser. It is recommended that a person have a small area of laser hair reduction completed first to see how the skin will react to the laser before having larger body areas treated. Laser hair reduction side effects on the underarms are not as concerning as those on the face, so starting your procedures in a somewhat hidden area is good idea.

It is not possible to know if you will suffer from either short-term or long-term laser hair reduction side effects, so it is necessary to review all of the possibilities with your physician before the treatment begins. Obtaining your laser hair reduction from a licensed, reputable doctor with a track record for safety may help reduce your risk, but it will never eliminate the risk. That is why it is good to be informed of all such risks beforehand, so you can decide if the treatment is worth the potential damage.

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