Until recently, shaving, plucking, waxing, and electrolysis were the only methods of removing unwanted hair. In the early 1990’s, the first reports of using laser energy to selectively damage and disable actively growing hair follicles were published, and since the mid 1990’s, laser hair removal has become the “Gold Standard” for the management of unwanted hair.
People started to crave for the newly discovered laser hair removal, but as they undertook the treatment they found out there are several side effects. Luckily, the side effects are only temporary.
There are several laser hair removal systems available today, but they all work using the principal of selective photothermolysis, in which a carefully timed pulse of laser energy passes through the skin and is absorbed and converted to heat energy at the hair follicle.
Because longer wavelength laser light penetrates deepest, the most common lasers used are the Ruby, Alexandrite, Diode, and Nd:YAG lasers, all red or infrared lasers. The bottom line, all of these may be the cause for some side effects that a patient may experience.
Possible side effects may include:
• Redness- this is caused by the heat that transpires on the skin to the hair follicles.
• Swelling- can occur at the removal site after treatment.
• Itching- is commonly experienced by the patients during treatment sessions.
• Pain, tingling, or feeling of numbness – surgeons advise patients not to apply any cream prior to the treatment which can promote numbness.
• Crusting/scab formation (on ingrown hairs).
• Bruising- this is noted to be one of the rarest cases being brought up by the patients after the laser hair removal treatment.
• Purpura (Purple Coloring of the skin) on tanned areas- laser hair removal is not advisable for individuals who have tanned skin because often the skin can turn purple.
• Temporary pigment change- it could be classified as either hypo-pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation on the client”s skin.
Although there are some risks in laser hair removal treatment, there are still other clients who use the treatment and have described it as simply as having a feeling of being snapped by a rubber band. Most patients tolerate the procedure well, but some areas of the body are more sensitive than others. Immediate side effects if any are frequently minor and short lived. Most people return to their normal activities right away.
People should not be upset if there are some side effects brought by the laser hair removal because the lasers that are used at out-clinic are non-invasive and are designed to be gentle enough to treat an individual”s sensitive skin and effective enough to remove even a man”s beard or back hair. Each has an active cooling system to gently treat hair while protecting the appearance of the surrounding skin.
Even though there are a few side effects with laser hair removal we must bear in mind that these are unavoidable, and for most people the outcome still outweighs this annoyance.