If you’re anything like me, hair removal is the bane of your existence. Whether it’s threading, waxing, or shaving, hair removal is a royal pain that only offers the most fleeting satisfactions.
So if you’re sick of the pain and the redness, the time spent, and the ingrown hairs you’ve tried to get rid of, there’s a good chance that you’re contemplating getting laser hair removal. Or perhaps you’ve even booked your first session.
Congratulations! Laser hair removal is perhaps the best way to deal with unwanted body and facial hair. But are you aware of laser hair removal side effects?
We get so wrapped up in the benefits of the process, we often forget or ignore the fact that potential issues can arise that we need to know about in advance. Awareness is the first step and knowing what side effects can show up after your laser hair removal treatment can help you prevent or treat them easily.
And that’s why I’m going to tell you all about the possible side effects of laser hair removal. The good news? Most of the side effects are temporary and treatable while the more serious ones are super rare.
Either way, let’s check out the good and not-so-great effects of laser hair removal!
Laser Hair Removal Side Effects: The Good Stuff
You most probably already know why this kind of hair removal is so great. They are why you’ve signed up for it. But just in case you still haven’t done all your research yet, let me tell what makes the procedure so great:
Laser hair removal is perfectly safe and won’t damage the skin in the surrounding areas.
Laser hair removal is super precise and unlike waxing or shaving accidents, it won’t remove any hair that you want around. Also, the process is great for removing thick, coarse hairs that are stubborn and difficult to remove by threading, waxing, or plucking.
Do you hate being holed up in your bathroom for hours at a time, trying to make sure you don’t miss any spots? Well, laser hair removal will take your breath away. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can ‘treat’ multiple hairs in one go.
This means it can treat areas the size of a quarter in one second. This means it will take just an hour to treat larger areas like your legs. And if you just want smaller areas treated, like your upper lip, the whole thing will take under a minute!
This is what makes everyone love the laser procedure so much. Your despicable body hair won’t make an appearance for a very, very long time. For most patients, permanent hair loss occurs anywhere from three to seven sessions.
For most people, this removal is permanent. For others, there will be some hair growth after a couple of months. This growth is very slow and sparse, and the hairs will be thinner. The regrowth often depends on genetics, hair type, and the number of sessions in your treatment.
Laser Hair Removal Side Effects: The (Slightly) Scary Stuff
Now, moving on to the after-effects of laser hair removal, these are the things you need to be on the lookout for. Bear in mind that these side effects may or may not happen to you. In fact, there’s a good chance you will only experience mild effects if you follow all the instructions before and after your procedure.
Irritation is a pretty common side effect but will usually subside in a couple of hours. Temporary discomfort and redness are perfectly normal after a laser hair removal session and are nothing to be worried about.
Use ice packs, wear loose clothing, and avoid using fragranced products on the affected areas until your skin looks and feels normal again. This usually takes several hours.
This doesn’t happen as often as redness but some people do notice the areas they lasered to swell up. Treat it the way you’d treat irritation: with ice, by letting the area breathe, and giving it some time. The swelling will most probably go down in a few hours.
A few people have noticed that their skin becomes dry, flakey, and crusty after lasering it. While this isn’t serious, it’s a pretty big inconvenience and will make you feel gross.
The problem is that crusting can sometimes turn to scabbing, which in turn leads to scarring which is a more permanent issue. To avoid this, keep the area clean and moisturize it with a fragrance-free cream for sensitive skin.
This side effect generally happens to people with darker skin. Minor skin color changes aren’t a big deal so don’t be frightened your skin looks slightly lighter or darker than before. The discoloration will fade over time and your skin will return to normal.
If there is a large-scale and dramatic discoloration, contact your doctor or health care provider.
These rarely happen, but it is important to be aware of them. Laser hair removal involves the use of very powerful lasers. This can be pretty dangerous, especially if the area being lasered is close to your eyes. Make sure you are wearing eye protection throughout the procedure.
Potential Skin Infections:
Since lasering involves damaging the hair follicle, there is a slight chance of infection. To avoid this, keep the areas clean and dry and avoid touching it. Don’t apply makeup or perfume to the affected area and avoid aerobic exercise as well.
However, if it does become infected, contact your doctor immediately. Treat the affected area like an open wound and keep it clean and disinfected. Do not use over the counter antibiotic ointments without the advice of a healthcare professional.
This is one of the rarer side effects and usually happens because of an incorrectly done laser hair removal process. When performed by a skilled and experienced professional, blisters will not happen.
However, if you’re anxious about this, ask the practitioner to apply a cooling treatment (like ice) before and after the procedure. This will prevent blisters. If you do get blisters, do not touch them, as this can make them burst and get infected. Instead, keep that area clean and dry and let the blisters heal on their own.
Like blisters, the chances of getting burned by lasers are very slim if your practitioner is well-experienced. However, you might experience a burning sensation in the lasered areas if they are exposed to the sun. To avoid this, stay out of the sun and apply frequent ice packs to the areas.
Laser hair removal when done correctly doesn’t typically cause scarring. However, if you don’t follow up on your procedure with proper aftercare, complications can lead to itchy skin, scabs, and crusting; all of which can cause scarring.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, treat all the areas you lasered the way you’d treat a sunburn. Protect them from sunlight, wear light, breathable clothes, avoid situations where you’ll sweat, and keep the area dry, clean, and moisturized.
Although the list of side effects seems rather long, remember most of them are very mild and dissipate in hours. The more serious ones are rare and easily avoidable. Are laser hair removal side effects real with a good chance of happening? Yes, but these effects aren’t serious and are very easily treatable.
If you’ve been on the fence about laser hair removal, go for it! As long as you go to a skilled practitioner and follow all the aftercare rules, you’ll be just fine!
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