Possible Risks and Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
There are many factors to consider when choosing whether or not laser hair removal is the right decision for you. One of the most important aspects to think about is the risk of possible side effects associated with the procedure. No medical treatments are without potential hazards and laser hair removal is no exception. The side effects involved can be temporary or permanent and your chances of developing one many be heightened by certain skin characteristics you may have.
Temporary Side Effects
There are several temporary side effects that you have the potential for acquiring after a laser hair removal treatment. You are much more likely to develop a temporary side effect rather than a permanent one, however since it is temporary then it will eventually go away. Some can take days, weeks, or even months to completely resolve.
Pain - You can have pain both during and after the procedure. Discomfort during the process can often be alleviated by using a local anesthetic or other methods supplied by the office or clinic. Discomfort in the days after the procedure may be improved through the use of a prescribed pain relief medication. Ask your practitioner which options are available to you. Swelling - There is a potential risk of some sort of swelling at and around the area that was treated. Depending on what area you have chosen to treat, this side effect may be more or less of a problem. This may be relieved through use of topical treatments prescribed by your practitioner. You can consult your practitioner on possible solutions this potential side effect can be treated with. Redness - Redness, besides pain, is probably the least serious side effect of laser hair removal. However, it may be more of a problem if you have treated a well seen or noticeable area, such as directly above your lip. You may be able to resolve this by using a topical treatment prescribed by your physician, however you should ask him about such options before the procedure is started. Blistering - This may be the worst, most painful, noticeable, and embarrassing temporary side effect that comes with having laser hair removal performed. If you would be uncomfortable with people seeing you in that condition, then you may want to create some form of plan on what you can do to minimize your exposure to others if you should suffer this side effect. Hyperpigmentation - Hyperpigmentation is a side effect that involves temporary darkening of the skin on the treated area. There may not be any solution which can reduce this side effect until it resolves itself but, as long as the treated area is not on your face, it may not be very noticeable either.
Permanent Side Effects
There is also a very serious chance of possible long-term or permanent epidermal damage. If you are not prepared to accept these risks as an outcome of your procedure then you should think twice about considering this hair removal method. There may be other more temporary, more painful, or more expensive solutions to your unwanted hair problems that you should evaluate as well.
Skin discoloration - This is usually permanent lightening of the skin on the treated area. Because the laser is made to attack the pigmentation in darker colored hair it can sometimes affect darker colored skin as well. Although not a physically painful side effect, it could be sever and emotionally damaging. Scaring - Scaring mostly occurs when the area is treated by someone who is minimally trained or by an accidental over-treatment. However, even if you are having your procedure done by an experienced professional, you should still be prepared for any potential risks. Burns - Burns are also very rare and are usually the work of less qualified technicians. It can be painful and you should be prepared for this consequence as well, no matter what your practitioner or technician’s qualifications are.
What You Can Do
Although side effects are a possibility, there are measures you should take in the days and weeks leading up to your procedure to minimize these risks. This is not meant as a medical guide for you but rather an informational one. You should always consult and listen to your practitioner on what actions he prefers that you take before the treatment.
You need to let your practitioner know if you have any family or hormonal conditions or if you have any form of the herpes virus in the area you intend to treat.
You should avoid tanning or unprotected sun exposure for several weeks prior to your procedure. This is because results are maximized and side effects minimized if patients that are at their lightest skin tone when the treatment occurs. You practitioner may even prescribe a bleaching cream for you to apply.
You should avoid waxing or plucking the area for several weeks prior to the procedure for better results. Take any antibiotic or antiviral medications that may be prescribed to you.
Make sure the area is clean on the day of the procedure. For instance, if your having part of you face treated, then do not wear makeup.
Laser hair removal, like any other medical procedure, has its own set of risks and complications. However, these can be reduced by asking your practitioner what medications may be available and following any pre or post-procedure instructions he gives you. You can further minimize these risks by choosing a practitioner who is well qualified and has had no history of patients with sever or permanent side effects under his care.
This article was written by Julie Bonner.