Whilst laser hair removal is a safe process, people may experience some side effects of laser removal if a reputable clinic is not chosen or the proper pre and post treatment precautions are not followed.
Laser hair works using a process known as selective photothermolysis which means that pin point lasers target colour or melanin in the hair follicle. The energy from the laser converts into heat, causing the selective destruction of each hair bulb. As laser removal targets colour in the follicle, blonde, red and grey hairs are not suitable for treatment. The best results are achieved with dark hair on pale skin.
Laser removal is effective in permanent hair reduction for most people. After 6-8 sessions, six to eight weeks between treatments, many people will see very little hair, if any at all. Following the first treatment, some clients experience up to a 30 percent reduction in hair in problem areas.
The most common side effect of hair removal treatment is some slight discomfort in the form of some redness and swelling. This is a normal reaction and clients should not worry. Generally these side effects will only last up to 24 hours following treatment.
More serious side effects of hair removal are hypo or hyper pigmentation. Hypo pigmentation refers to the skin lightening in treated areas and hyper pigmentation refers to the skin darkening in treated areas.
Hyper or Hypo pigmentation can be caused by excessive sun exposure before, during or after laser treatment. Not using a reputable laser operator or being treated by an unskilled operator can also lead to side effects, improper use of the laser can be instrumental in causing post treatment pigmentation or burning.
To prevent pigmentation from hair removal clients should avoid going in the direct sun for at least four weeks prior to treatment and at least four weeks post treatment. Clients should also ensure they remove any fake tanner on the treatment area.
Other factors contributing to laser hair removal side effects include burning from the laser cooling device and misuse of the laser where the laser head is not perpendicular to the skin or properly cleaned and maintained. Incorrect laser setting or the incorrect laser for the skin type can also affect the final result. Darker skin types should be treated using a Nd Yag laser.
Finally, extreme laser hair removal side effects can be seen from clients who use medications like anti depressants, anti inflammatories or antibiotics. Clients must ensure they advise their therapist if they are taking any medications before undertaking laser treatment as not all medications effect the laser hair removal process.
A reputable laser clinic will ensure they provide an in-depth free of charge pre treatment consultation to gauge what medications the client is taking as well as their skin and hair type to determine the appropriate laser for them. A thorough consultation is your opportunity to ask as many questions as you need to ensure that you are comfortable with progressing with laser hair removal at the clinic of choice.
Often side effects occur in clinics that provide a range of services therefore do not specialise in removal and may not be as skilled as necessary. Usually these Clinics are more interested in client churning than offering a complete, tailored solution and a safe treatment. Some
Clinics will also provide treatments modified down to a price rather than providing the full treatment and allocating the appropriate time to ensure the treatment was effective.