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Laser hair removal pre op care, aftercare, dangers & side effects

Updated on December 9, 2015
Imagine these burns on your face
Imagine these burns on your face


Laser hair removal treatments are the FDA approved method for permanently reducing hair growth on areas of the body. The non surgical medical treatment can be a painful experience and can lead to scars, skin pigmentation, and a person in need of skin grafts.

Laser hair removal aftercare is so important to reduce the chances of getting scarred for life. Pre laser treatment care can help avoid unnecessary burning of the skin by the laser. Laser hair removal side effects can be disastrous on a persons life, whether they have black skin, white, skin, or tan colored skin.

Before continuing, please note that is illegal for anybody under the age of eighteen years to receive laser hair treatment without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Laws for laser hair removal treatments

There are no laws covering laser hair removal surgeons, surgeries, or practises. The dangers of laser hair removal treatments has been well documented in recent years. There are many lawsuits against laser hair removal surgeons because of the way the cosmetic industry runs this type of surgery. In simple terms, nobody needs a licence or any experience in order to open up a laser hair removal clinic or surgery.

Any person can put on a white lab coat and rent out a room and claim to be a professional laser hair removal technician without ever having picked up a laser in their life. This is because they do not prescribe medicines, although they can recommend certain creams and ointments; and the practise of removing hair with a laser is a non surgical medical treatment which does not require a licence.

Laser Hair Removal on Black Skin

Laser hair removal can be used on any color skin. But as lasers are beams of heated light, the darker the skin, the more risk of serious injury and burns. The intense lights of lasers are absorbed by the dark matter of the hair follicle, this damages the hair follicle and reduces hair growth. Black skin will absorb more the light as it passes through the skin causing potentially more skin burning than lighter skin.

For people with black or dark skin, it is advisable only to seek recommendations from similar skin colored people whom have received laser hair removal treatments. Ask to see photo, video, or written proof from the laser surgeon of patients whom he or she has personally treated. Do not forget, it is easy to download and copy photos from other sources and for a surgeon to claim that they have done the laser treatment themselves.

Risks of Laser Hair Removal

Pain Free Laser Hair Removal Treatments

This is mis-advertising. All patients undergoing any type of laser surgery will feel a certain amount of pain. The amount of pain that an intensely hot laser burning through the skin causes, depends on the threshold of pain in each person. Some patients indicate that the initial pain is like being hit with a stretched elastic band every second and the after pain is worse than whilst receiving the treatment. Others stop the laser treatment after only a few minutes unable to contend with the pain that they feel.

Burning Skin

Burning skin will initially happen to every patient undergoing laser hair removal treatments. The skin will turn white as the heat of the laser makes contact with the skin. This white skin disappears after only a few moments. Temporary burns are usual on all patients, it is a chemical reaction in the skin.

More permanent skin burns are usually the result of an inexperienced laser technician. The laser technician cause burns by using the wrong type of laser, using the laser to much in one area, or by simply holding the laser in one position for to long a period.

Scars & Scabs

Scars will occur if the laser technician prolongs then use of the laser in one are. Other scars may form if after care advice for laser hair removal treatments are not followed. At an initial meeting with the laser technician, it should be explained to the person receiving the laser hair removal treatments the possible side effects for their skin pigmentation. Scabs that form after the treatment should not be picked at. Picking at any scabs will cause small scars which will stay permanently.

Discoloring of Skin Pigmentation

During laser hair removal, there is a slight chance that the color of the patients skin will change, permanently. Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation are the two types of skin color change. If the skin which has received laser treatment darkens, then the laser technician will recommend bleaching agents to lighten the skin. This may take several months to a year until the skin is virtually back to normal.

If the skin lightens during the laser process, there is little that can be done. This disfigurement may well be with the patient for life. If at any stage during the laser treatment there appears to be any type of problem, no matter how insignificant, the technician should stop immediately.

Pre-op Care

Pre-op care before receiving laser hair removal treatments are very basic yet very important. A well balanced diet with plenty of water will assist the skin in healing quicker and better. The area to be treated should be shaved three days before the treatment commences. This is to allow the access to the skin for the laser without hair getting in the way. No perfumes, deodorants. or make up should be worn on the areas to be treated.

After Care

Do not expose the skin to direct sunlight for up to two weeks, this will prevent the skin from burning further and prolonging any pain. Do not rub or scratch the area, it will aggravate the skin. Wear loose and light clothing. Refrain from using aerosols and perfumed soap for up to two weeks.

Use a soothing anti-bacterial cream or aloe vera cream / oil, this will help with the skin healing and prevent it from drying up during the healing process. Usual mild pain killers can assist with any ongoing pain. But if worried about certain health conditions or problems, refer back to the laser technician or your own physician for additional information and help.

Home Laser Hair Removal

There are several types of home use laser hair removal machines. These are specifically designed with a lower intensity of heat and a different magnification of the light spectrum to produce an average laser for varied skin colors. Always read the instruction manual for use, failing to do so may result in skin abnormalities as listed above.


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      Anna 14 months ago

      Not true that the industry is unregulated. Local Authorities are *supposed* to require a Special Use Permit which should carry with it the requirement for a Laser Protection Advisor, specialised Risk Assessment etc. In practice this usually doesn't happen, but there are still international guidelines for best practice which are binding merely because they exist. These should provide some recourse in cases of egregious practice.

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      layan 6 years ago

      what happens if technicain does lazer without shaving after third session, i had a few hairs here and there and the technicain said no need to shave , is this correct ?

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      maria 6 years ago

      can not enough gel during treatment be the cause of burns? is it important touse the gel in a laser treatment?