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Making Sense of Bruising From Laser Hair Removal

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Ethos Spa’s Dr. Soni dispels all the confusion surrounding laser hair removal bruising.

Have you ever wondered if the bruising you experienced after laser hair removal is normal or cause for concern? This guide tackles all your burning questions about post-laser bruising – from incidence rates to risk factors to treatment and complications. 

Backed by published studies and insights from dermatology expert Dr. Soni, we at Ethos Spa clarify everything patients need to know about managing and troubleshooting bruising, differentiating mild from severe cases, and recognizing when to seek medical advice.

How Common Is Bruising After Laser Hair Removal?

Bruising affects certain patients after laser hair removal, but individual factors like skin type, anatomy, health conditions, and treatment settings significantly impact one’s bruising risk and susceptibility.

Prevalence Varies

Based on our experience, the statistics on bruising incidence vary substantially:

  • Some patients develop some level of bruising. However, certain factors make an individual more prone.
  • For example, Dr. Soni often notices increased bruising in clients with very fair skin, especially Fitzpatrick skin types I and II. These patients have less protective melanin, so their delicate capillaries rupture more readily from laser energy.
  • Additionally, areas with minimal fat and many blood vessels near the surface, like the legs and ankles, tend to manifest more bruising.
  • Medical conditions impairing circulation or wound healing also heighten susceptibility according to studies.

The location treated and laser settings impact statistics as well. Higher fluences can increase bruising risk.

Key Points

Stop wasting time and money on unsatisfactory results. Achieve smooth, hair-free skin that lasts with Ethos Spa’s laser hair removal services. Schedule your treatment now!

What Factors Increase the Risk of Bruising After Laser Hair Removal?

The factors that increase the risk of bruising after laser hair removal are medications that thin the blood, underlying medical conditions, fair skin types, aggressive treatment settings, sun exposure, and improper aftercare can increase the risk of bruising from laser hair removal.

Medications Promoting Bleeding

Clients using blood-thinning medications, supplements, or topical skin products with anti-clotting effects tend to experience more extensive bruising from laser therapy according to Dr. Soni.

He recommends avoiding products containing aspirin, NSAIDs, anticoagulants, vitamin E, fish oil, garlic, ginkgo biloba, and certain herbs for 1-2 weeks pre and post-treatment when possible.

Underlying Conditions

Pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, vascular disorders, platelet dysfunction, or other diseases impairing circulation or wound healing elevate bruising risk as well.

The compromised integrity of blood vessels in these patients makes them more susceptible to treatment-related leakage and hemorrhage.

Fairer Skin Types

Dr. Soni frequently notices increased bruising in those with highly sensitive skin categorized as Fitzpatrick types I and II.

With less protective melanin, the delicate capillaries in these fair complexions are more prone to rupture from laser energy.

Aggressive Treatment Factors

Higher laser fluences, repeated passes, and inexperienced providers can lead to greater bruising through blood vessel damage.

Areas with minimal fat or bony prominences also heighten susceptibility by putting vessels closer to the skin’s surface.

Improper Aftercare

Bruises may worsen if patients wear tightly constricting clothes, vigorously massage or scrub the area, or pick at scabs post-procedure.

Allowing the fragile treated skin to become injured or scraped also impedes proper healing.

With prudent aftercare, clients can help minimize bruising duration and severity.

Are Certain Skin Types More Prone to Bruising After Laser Hair Removal?

Yes, patients with highly sensitive skin, impaired circulation, and those taking blood thinners tend to be most susceptible to bruising after laser hair removal according to experience.

Patients with Sensitive Skin

Those with highly sensitive skin that is easily irritated are at greater risk for bruising. Their delicate capillaries and soft tissues are simply more reactive and prone to damage when exposed to laser energy. 

This includes patients with conditions like rosacea that compromise skin resilience.

Patients with Impaired Circulation

Individuals with diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral vascular disease, or other conditions impairing circulation and wound healing often experience increased bruising. Their blood vessels are already fragile, and less able to withstand treatment trauma based on our observations.

Patients Taking Blood Thinners

Clients using anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications like warfarin, heparin, clopidogrel, and aspirin exhibit heightened bruising after lasers. 

These drugs inhibit clotting and allow blood to leak from ruptured vessels more readily. Avoiding them around procedures is ideal when medically appropriate.

Could Bruising After Laser Hair Removal Be Prevented?

Though not completely preventable, avoiding blood thinners, icing after treatment, taking vitamin C, informing technicians of conditions, and gentle skin care can significantly minimize bruising from laser hair removal.

Pre-Treatment Precautions

  • Stop taking supplements with high vitamin E doses about 2 weeks prior, as vitamin E may increase bleeding risk. 

A study on 566 patients found higher vitamin E levels were associated with an increased risk of bleeding in those on oral anticoagulants.

  • Begin taking oral vitamin C several days before lasers to strengthen blood vessels. This study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology showed vitamin C reduced arterial stiffness and platelet aggregation.
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, blood thinners like NSAIDs, and antiplatelets for at least 48 hours pre-procedure to prevent thinning blood. 

Studies noted by Yale Medicine found heavy alcohol use is associated with increased postoperative complications and mortality.

During Treatment

  • Speak up if the laser becomes too painful.

Post-Treatment Care

  • Use topical arnica creams and vitamin K to minimize bruising and speed resolution. 

A clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2002 found that using topical vitamin K cream after laser treatment reduced the severity of bruising, but using it before treatment did not prevent bruising.

Another study found that 20% arnica reduces bruising more effectively than 0.5% arnica and placebo.

  • Take acetaminophen to alleviate pain and swelling.
  • Avoid picking, scrubbing, or irritating treated skin while it heals.

While not foolproof, being proactive with these tips can help curtail bruising from laser hair removal treatments.

How to Treat Bruising After Laser Hair Removal?

Bruising from laser hair removal can be a pain in the neck to deal with. But with the right post-treatment care, you can minimize discomfort and speed healing. Let’s go over some of Dr. Soni’s recommendations for effectively treating laser-induced bruises.

OTC Medications

Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen alleviate soreness and tenderness around the bruise.

Also, note that a case report documents an instance of extensive purpura (bruising) following laser hair removal in a 50-year-old woman. The bruising resolved within 5 days after treatment with an oral corticosteroid.


Cosmetic concealers and color-correcting makeup can mask bruising aesthetically as it heals.

How to Differentiate Between Normal and Severe Bruising After Laser Hair Removal?

Normal bruising after laser hair removal manifests as small purple spots fading within 1-2 weeks, while severe bruising appears as dark purple discoloration over a large area lasting over 2 weeks or accompanied by concerning symptoms like fever.

Normal BruisingSevere Bruising
Slight redness and tenderness lasting up to 48 hoursDark purple discoloration over a wide area
Small purple/red patches fading within 7-10 daysBruising unchanged after 2 weeks
Minimal swelling subsiding within daysExcessive swelling over 1 week
No other symptomsFever, pus, enlarged lymph nodes

When to Seek Medical Advice

  • If bruising after laser hair removal seems markedly more severe than prior treatments at normal settings.
  • If bruising does not begin lightening and resolving after 7-10 days.
  • If bruising arises concurrently with other concerning symptoms like bleeding or dizziness.

Consult our team promptly if your post-laser bruising seems excessive so we can advise if intervention is warranted. While laser-induced bruising is rarely dangerous, it’s wise to monitor for complications. Let us know if you have any doubts or questions differentiating common from worrisome bruising.

Can Bruising After Laser Hair Removal Indicate a Complication?

According to Dr. Soni, mild bruising is a common temporary side effect of laser hair removal that rarely signifies any complication on its own. However, extensive, prolonged bruising can potentially stem from an underlying issue warranting evaluation.

Here are some indicators that post-laser bruising may require further assessment:

  • Bruising that remains noticeably dark purple beyond 2 weeks and shows minimal fading. The typical bruise lightens significantly within 10 days.
  • Bruising spanning a wide surface area far beyond just the treatment site, signaling potentially overly aggressive laser settings.
  • Bruising accompanied by pronounced pain, blistering, oozing, fever, or other symptoms suggestive of infection.

Minimize bruising risk with Ethos Spa’s carefully customized laser hair removal plans. Book a session now!


Can you exercise after laser hair removal with bruising?

No, avoid exercise for at least 48 hours after laser hair removal if you have bruising to allow the skin time to heal, prevent further injury, and reduce the risk of infection.

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for bruising after laser hair removal?

No, avoid taking ibuprofen for 48 hours before and after laser hair removal as it can increase bleeding and the risk of bruising. Opt for acetaminophen instead to help with pain.

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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