Laser Hair Removal Side Effects:
Laser treatment is widely regarded as a risk-free cosmetic procedure in medical realms, but this is not to say there are no side effects to watch out for. To put this into perspective, the laser removal process involves excessive heat intended at burning the hair you want to be removed. So much so, that some burns are likely to occur mainly in patients with dark skin – darker pigments tend to absorb the laser heat more readily. In most cases, the burns are mild and nothing to fret about, but there are cases where severe burns have occurred in patients undergoing laser hair removal.
Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation:
Before undergoing laser hair removal, it is paramount to keep in mind that there is a chance your skin changes due to either one of two known conditions – hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. The former refers to the darkening of the skin caused by stimulation of melanin production in the body that leads to a reaction more or less similar to suntan.
On the flipside, hypopigmentation refers to the opposite of the condition above. It describes lightening of the skin caused by inhibition of melanin production leading to a loss of pigment. In short, the continuous absorption of excessive laser light and heat can interfere with how melanin is produced in your skin.
The skin aside, laser hair removal may also affect other parts of your body if not careful. For starters, it is vital to protect your eyes during the procedure so as to avoid visible injuries. Secondly, you can almost always expect some itching after laser hair removal. The procedure usually leaves the skin red with some swelling around the follicle, even though for a few days following treatment.
The most common side effect is numbness, pain and tingling sensations around the treated area. This results from the formation of scab and crusting in parts where hair was removed. Moreover, mild bruising may also occur in those with sensitive skin. However, all these symptoms only last a few days following the laser hair removal procedure and will likely disappear shortly afterward.
In rare instances, the skin might turn purple on tanned areas. Some cases of infection have also been reported, and it is of paramount importance to always keep the treated area clean following laser hair removal.
Facts about Laser Hair Removal:
In a nutshell, laser hair removal treatment involves three major steps – cleaning, shaving, and scanning of the treatment area. The scanning procedure involves laser energy being passed through the treatment area to remove unwanted hair.
Some factors are placed for consideration before laser hair removal. For instance, the hair growth cycle and hair density will ultimately determine just how many sittings you need. In most cases, six to eight visits are enough with each sitting permanently disabling about 20% of the hair follicle.
However, how successful your laser treatment procedure is will depend on two main factors – your skin type and hair color. While results may vary from patient to patient, the treatment will effectively get rid of 40 to 80% of hair. The chances of hair growing back can’t be ruled out, and your safest bet lays in multiple treatment sessions to lengthen the duration of hair growth.
The procedure is only effective on active hair follicles and for optimal results to be achieved; the treatments are spaced apart so as to allow the follicles to grow again. In most cases, laser hair removal procedures are spaced from three to eight weeks depending on factors such as the growth cycle and total area to be scanned. In most cases, the arms and legs require more laser treatments compared to other parts of the body such as the face or neck. It is only after the comprehensive treatment that the follicles will fall off.
Types of Laser Technology Adopted in Treatment:
- YAG Laser – this is a popular choice used mostly for patients with darker skin. It uses less laser heat in treatment.
- IPL Laser – this is the most popular laser technology currently. It works best on medium to pale skin types.
- Ruby Laser – this is the least used technology in the niche. It is useful for patients with very pale skin.
Continue on to part 2 of this everything you need to know about laser hair removal article by our friends at Pure Light Vancouver