Laser hair removal is a safe, FDA-approved method of removing unwanted hair. There are no long-term laser hair removal risks. All side effects of laser hair removal are temporary and generally mild.
Skin irritation may occur following laser hair removal treatment. Redness and scabbing are possible though they are usually temporary.
Hair can grow back following laser hair removal. It often takes multiple treatments to achieve full, permanent hair removal. When it does grow back, it is usually finer and lighter in pigment.
Changes in skin pigment are among laser hair removal risks but, again, these changes are generally temporary. The affected skin surrounding the treated hairs may become lighter or darker. Skin lightening of a patient with darker skin is more likely, especially if an incorrect setting is used. The potential for skin discoloration is one reason why it is not recommended that individuals have a suntan when they have laser hair removal performed.
In very rare cases, laser hair removal can cause blistering, scarring or other changes of the skin texture.
Laser hair removal risks can be minimized by taking some precautionary steps. As previously mentioned, clients should not have a suntan or an artificial tan during the laser treatments. The color of the skin can affect the performance of the laser and how the skin reacts to the laser.
The client should not pluck, wax or have electrolysis performed before having laser hair removal treatments. These methods of hair removal can disturb the hair follicles, making it harder for the laser to penetrate and destroy them. Shaving is acceptable because it does not alter the hair shaft or follicle; it simply cuts the hair at skin level.
Clients should not apply any sort of anesthetic before the procedure. The person administering the laser will apply a topical anesthetic if it is appropriate.
Following laser hair removal, risks of skin irritation can be mitigated by avoiding sun exposure. Direct sunlight should be avoided and protective clothing should be worn when the client is outdoors for several weeks.
The skin should be treated gently until it is no longer sensitive. The areas of the body treated with the laser should not be scrubbed, rubbed, plucked or shaved for a few weeks. The client can bathe gently with soap and water.
While there is some increase in skin sensitivity and irritation in some clients, these laser hair removal risks are uncommon and generally temporary.