Laser Hair Removal Side Effects


Presence of excessive growth of thick dark hair, in locations on the body where hair growth is generally minimal or absent, is defined as Hirsutism. This type of body hair growth generally occurs in androgen-stimulated parts of the body such as the face, hands, chest, etc. However, it is quite difficult to judge whether a person is hirsute as there is no consistent pattern to the growth in women and it varies across ethnic groups. Depending on the region from where the individual originates Hirsutism may be considered as typical in one culture in comparison to another. For instance Mediterranean and Indian women have more facial and body hair than women from East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Northern Europe. Hirsutism is not limited to women alone as dark haired, dark complexioned individuals of either sex are prone to be more hirsute than blond or fair skinned individuals. 

In most cases, Hirsutism occurs due to certain underlying disorders and genetic reasons. Hirsutism is only a cosmetic concern and when accompanied by masculinizing signs or symptoms in young girls / women, particularly when it arises well after puberty, it could be due to underlying disorders such as ovarian or adrenal neoplasm.

Several treatments abound such as age old remedial over the counter hair removal creams, shaving, waxing, electrolysis and lately laser hair removal treatments.

Permanent Hair Removal Treatments

Excessive facial hair in a woman can be embarrassing and hence most women seek a permanent solution to Hirsutism, especially when that facial hair is on the upper lip and chin. Now for the million dollar question as to whether there really is a permanent solution, sadly the answer to that is that there is no 100% permanent hair removal solution, as yet. Electrolysis, which is approved by the FDA is considered to be a permanent removal solution, but studies have shown that this has not given everyone the permanent results, as promised.

Alternatively, permanent hair reduction (with emphasis on reduction) machines have been approved by the FDA, which can help purge hair on the right individual for longer periods of time, after manifold sessions. Despite the several sittings, the possibility of hair growing back is there, whether at a reduced rate, a finer version or a combination of both. According to The Mayo Clinic, lasers can reduce hair counts 40% to 80%. 

Laser Hair Removal Treatment

Laser Hair Removal Treatment is a cosmetic procedure carried out by professionals trained to carry out this procedure and it is commonly done in North America. The intensely concentrated light of the laser penetrates the hair follicle; the pigment in the hair follicle absorbs the light which consequently destroys the hair.

Prior to undergoing Laser Hair Removal Treatment, the individual should restrict plucking, waxing, and electrolysis for six weeks before treatment, as these activities will remove the hair roots, which is necessary to be present for an effective laser hair removal treatment. The individual should also avoid sun exposure before and after the treatment because it makes the laser hair removal less effectual and could pave a way for complications to arise after the treatment.

Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal

The most common side effects of removal of hair by laser are:

Irritation of the Skin surface

On the surface of the skin where the treatment was provided, temporarily there could be a measure of discomfort, redness and swelling. However this will disappear after several hours.

Temporary Changes to Pigment

The possibility of the skin layer undergoing some darkening or lightening, temporarily, can occur. Lightening of the skin color can occur in those individuals with dark skin, especially if the laser beam used was set to a wrong intensity.
Blistering, crusting, scarring or other changes to the skin texture are cited to be rare.