At some point in our lives, all of us have dreamt of getting smooth, hairless skin. And there is no better way to achieve this except for laser hair removal. However, where some of us don’t consider this method due to cost, others have concerns about the laser hair removal side effects.
Before we get into whether laser hair removal has any possible side effects or not, let us get one thing clear for you. No, not all types of laser cause cancer, and that is nothing but a myth!
From professional salons to at-home devices, laser hair removal is everywhere these days, and why shouldn’t it be? In contrast to the dreadful pain of waxing and the time it takes to shave, laser methods like IPL have a clear edge. And the significant advantage that makes the process comparatively costly is that it is permanent.
We already know the benefits and all that info you need to know before investing in a laser hair removal device. But today, we are going to explore whether laser hair removal is entirely safe. Or, are there any side effects no one told you about? Let’s find out!
Why is laser hair removal so popular?
Besides the benefits we have gone through above, laser hair removal is one of the best options to get rid of unwanted hair permanently. At-home devices like the SkinGen IPL Laser Device have made the process much easier. You can do the entire thing yourself without seeking professional help.
The most common treatment areas are legs, arms, underarms, chin and facial hair. Yes, you read it right! You no longer have to get that spiky hair or redness on your face after waxing/shaving it.
You can get laser hair removal on nearly every body part except for the eyelids or the area around it. The laser must not come in contact with your eyes as that can pose a serious danger to your eyesight. Similarly, skin with tattoos is also not suitable for laser hair removal treatments.
Multiple factors determine whether your permanent hair removal treatment will be a hit or miss. Your hair and skin colour are some of the main factors that decide if the treatment is for you or not.
This is because, in most cases, laser hair removal treatments are not effective for dark skin colour, which you can read more about here. In methods like IPL laser, the pigment really matters as it absorbs the light and then transmits it to the skin.
The main target here is that the laser light should only damage the hair follicle without causing any damage to the skin. However, this is only possible if your skin tone and hair colour are suitable for the entire process. For example, people with a light complexion and dark hair are ideal candidates for IPL laser hair removal. A good contrast between the skin and hair colour should be there to get the best outcomes.
Exploring the Other Side of laser hair removal
Now that we are all praises of laser hair removal, it’s time to look at the other side of the mirror. There is possibly no technological device in the world that is flawless and has no side effects.
Instead of keeping you in the dark, here below, we will enlighten you with some of the possible side effects of laser hair removal. It is essential to know that these side effects “can happen,” but there is no guarantee. Most of the side effects are temporary, and in case you experience any of these, you should consult your dermatologist.
The possible side effects
Itching, irritation and redness
Since laser hair removal targets your hair follicles, our body can initially react to this new experience. Many of us seen this in the form of tiny bumps or itching after waxing. Nonetheless, this is not as irritating as those ingrown hairs that waxing/shaving leaves us with.
You can experience slight irritation or redness in the treatment area. The skin feels tingly, tender, and there can be slight swelling. But this effect is only short-lived and goes away within several hours of laser treatment.
If you get laser hair removal done professionally, they usually apply a topical anesthetic to numb your skin. The anesthetic also reduces skin’s reaction towards the process.
A cool bath or ice pack can really help with any swelling or redness. At the same time, irritation will go away itself. On the other hand, if these effects remain, you should consult your dermatologist at the earliest.
Just as other cosmetic hair removal methods, the damaging of hair follicles due to laser hair removal can also cause an infection.
If your skin is highly sensitive or if you are on medication, it is better to get medical advice. In case of minor infections, the area should be taken care of as a wound until it heals completely.
You should avoid applying any OTC(over the counter)antibiotic creams to the skin if any infection occurs.
The at-home laser hair removal devices like Skingen come with safety goggles to protect your eyes from the laser. Since the procedure involves powerful lasers, our eyes need to stay out of contact, considering how our eyesight is sensitive to strong radiation.
So, if not taken care of properly, there can be serious eye injury, especially in the case of laser hair removal for facial hair.
All in all, if dealt with carefully and kept away from the eyes, laser hair removal does not cause eye injuries.
Skin colour changes
The risk of side effects is greater when there is little contrast between the skin and hair colour. However, thanks to advancing technologies, laser hair removal for dark skin is now a possibility.
Some people have reported slight changes in their skin tone after getting laser hair removal done. The skin can get either lighter or darker after the process.
People with light complexions might experience slight darkening of the skin tone. While, those with dark skin tone are prone to getting lighter skin tone. But you need not worry as, in most cases, your skin gets back to its natural colour as the effects fade away.
Very few people experience crusting after getting laser hair removal done on them. Although this is a minor issue, it can cause inconvenience as crusting can lead to scars or scabs on the skin.
Nevertheless, by taking care of the skin by using a good moisturiser, you can avoid these minor issues.
The rare side effects of laser hair removal
In some cases, laser hair removal can be followed by extreme side effects. These side effects are most likely to occur if you invest in a low-quality at-home device. Or, if get it done with someone who has little experience with laser.
The rare side effects of permanent hair removal can include:
- Change in skin texture: If your skin has tan and you get laser hair removal immediately, your skin texture can suffer. This is why it is good to stay out of direct sun/fake tans if you plan to get laser hair removal.
- Excessive hair growth: In rare cases, laser hair removal can cause a reverse reaction and lead to excessive hair growth. This is often with hair shedding after the procedure. If you face anything similar, you should consult your dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Blisters: You can experience these effects if you go out in the direct sun right after getting your laser hair removal treatment.
- Scarring: For people who get scars easily, this is one of the most common side effects.
Laser hair removal in pregnancy
Laser hair removal is not advisable during pregnancy. This is mainly because there has been no proven research that laser treatments are safe while you are pregnant.
You might experience excessive hair growth around your stomach and other areas in pregnancy, making you reach out for laser hair removal. However, in most cases, the hair falls out on its own. So, you won’t have to get any laser treatments to get rid of this excessive hair.
The bottom line is that if you are pregnant, it is best to wait for your delivery to start using your laser hair removal device. Your doctor might recommend you wait for several weeks to ensure your safety further.
Does IPL laser hair removal cause cancer?
The answer is simple: no, it doesn’t! There are many myths surrounding laser hair removal treatments causing cancer. This is also one of the primary reasons people are hesitant to get permanent hair removal.
But at-home IPL laser devices like Skingen have FDA certification and are clinically safe for usage. The same goes for professional salon laser treatments.
So, while there are many cancer-causing substances, food, and different habits that we encounter in our daily lives, laser hair removal is not one of them. There has been no reports on IPL causing skin cancer.
To conclude, if you plan to get laser hair removal, there are no major side effects that you need to worry about. It just takes several precautions before and after the process to ensure that you don’t experience any drawbacks.
If you experience any of the side effects mentioned above, you can consult a skin specialist to guide you further. Although these effects are infrequent, it is still essential to be aware of them.