Will Laser Hair Removal Cause Facial Scarring?
We understand your concern. After all, who’d want a laser in their face? But any laser-based hair removal procedure has the potential to cause some scarring. This oftentimes is included as a risk in the consent forms that need to be signed before laser treatment begins. The pigment changes that occur after laser hair removal procedures usually resolve themselves within a few weeks. That being said, the risk of scarring from laser hair removal treatment is rather small, and depends on a number of factors, including:
- the laser technician’s skill, experience, training, and knowledge
- your body’s ability to heal
- the amount of melanin pigment in your skin
- the type of laser used for the treatment
Many people experience some pigment changes following a laser treatment procedure. This may include darkening or lightening of the skin. While many people believe this is the same as scarring, most of the time it isn’t. The pigment changes that occur after laser hair removal procedures usually resolve themselves within a few weeks or months following treatment.
Experience and Skill Are Key
The truth is, scarring can occur in the laser hair removal process, but when a professional laser hair removal technician performs the procedure, the risk of scarring is greatly reduced, especially for patients who have been identified as suitable candidates for the procedure. This is because the number one cause of scarring resulting from laser hair removal is the incorrect use of the laser device. When an unskilled or inexperienced technician uses a laser improperly, they may penetrate too far into the skin, causing blistering or keloid scarring. Because different skin types require different lasers, it is important that a skilled and experienced technician performs the treatment. They will have the training and expertise to know which laser to use and how to use it appropriately to remove hair while leaving the skin unharmed.
Not sure how to spot a qualified laser hair removal technician? Here are some tips:
- Don’t let price be your top criteria. When you call different laser hair removal centers, you’ll likely see that they all have different price ranges. Don’t make the mistake of simply settling on the cheapest center. A center that is priced much lower than others in the area might not be offering exactly what you are looking for.
- Ask about your technician’s experience and training. While laser hair removal is generally safe and effective, there are a few potential problems that could arise, namely scarring and burning. A well-trained and experienced hair removal specialist will be able to talk to you about these risks, as well as the steps that he or she will take to reduce them.
- Check the laser treatment center’s cleanliness and disease prevention practices. Go by how you feel about how your treatment room, waiting areas and other common areas of the center make you feel. Rooms should be cleaned in-between clients, and every treatment area should be clean and neat. Ask your technician about how instruments are cleaned and sanitized in-between clients.
- Ask who will be supervising the procedure. Each state is responsible for regulating cosmetic treatments like laser hair removal. Some states do not require a licensed doctor to perform the procedure or even oversee the treatment. Look for a clinic where a doctor is responsible for the procedures that are performed, even if an experienced technician is the one who actually provides the treatment.
- Ask for before and after photos before scheduling your procedure. Many doctors that specialize in cosmetic treatments offer before and after photos of previous patients to prospective clients. This gives patients a realistic idea of the results they can expect and showcases the doctor or technician’s work in this area.
Some groups of people are at higher risk of scarring from a laser hair removal procedure than others. People who tan, people with both dark hair and a dark skin tone, and people with light hair and light skin tend to be more susceptible to scarring. To avoid this increased risk of scarring, it’s essential that your laser technician uses the appropriate laser for your skin type. The Nd:YAG laser is recommended for darker skin tones because it has a longer wavelength that is able to bypass the melanin in the skin, effectively and safely removing hair while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed.
If you have tanned skin, you should refrain from any laser hair removal procedures until your skin turns to its original color. You should also refrain from tanning while undergoing laser hair removal sessions to reduce the risk of scarring and color changes.
The Science Behind Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal uses laser light pulses to selectively destroy hair follicles by targeting the melanin in them. The follicle’s pigment absorbs the laser’s light pulse, damaging the follicle enough to significantly slow down hair regrowth. Since the lasers target melanin, coarse, dark hair and light skin combinations tend to respond best to treatment.
The length of a laser hair removal procedure depends on the size of the treatment area, meaning a session can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Before the actual laser hair removal session, you’ll be given protective eye gear and an elective topical anesthetic. Once the session begins, you’ll feel a stinging sensation, indicating that the laser has been activated. The actual session involves a series of laser pulses that results in a prickling and burning sensation. But don’t worry; the pain isn’t too bad. In fact, it’s similar to that of a rubber band snapping against your skin.
Don’t freak out if you notice any pinkness, redness or itchiness. The laser has done its job in disabling your hair follicles. It has also likely irritated your skin a little bit. Residual itchiness or pinkness might persist for up to 24 hours. Some people describe the sensation as feeling like razor burn. If it lasts longer than that, give your specialist a call; this very well may be normal, but it’s worth calling to ask.
Reduce the Risk
To reduce the risk of scarring and other complications after your laser hair removal procedure, follow these steps:
- Put on sunscreen. All the areas treated by laser hair removal must be covered with plenty of sunscreen because this skin may be sensitive to darkening, especially for those who have skin that is already sensitive or are dark skinned.
- Make sure that right after treatment you apply cream, ice or something to keep the area cool and numb in order to minimize discomfort.
- If you notice any strange changes to the treated area, like blistering, bleeding or scabbing, make sure to call your specialist immediately.
- Keep track of any medications taken. If you need to go on prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medications, talk to your healthcare provider about your laser hair removal treatments. Also, call your laser hair removal specialist to find out whether there is a contraindication.
If you make sure that you not only choose an experienced and qualified laser hair removal technician but also follow all aftercare advice given to you, you shouldn’t have any resulting scarring from the procedure.
Choose LaserAway for All Your Laser Hair Removal Needs
LaserAway is proud to offer the most medspa service options of any national skincare provider. We hire only the most highly trained staff experienced and certified in administering laser and other dermatological procedures. What’s more, we use only innovative techniques and cutting-edge laser technology. We aim to make your medical spa experience comfortable, enjoyable and satisfying. Want to learn more about laser hair removal? Then schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today by emailing LaserAway.net or calling the staff at LaserAway at (888) 965-2737. LaserAway looks forward to making sure you never have to shave or wax again.