Have you been dreaming of permanently banishing unwanted body hair, but worried about painful laser hair removal burns?
As expected, this is a fear not at all that rare.
While laser hair removal can safely and effectively remove hair for good, minor burns are a common side effect. For some, the horror stories of severe blistering or scarring are enough to make them think twice about this popular cosmetic treatment.
But you can minimize your risks and get the smooth, stubble-free skin you want by going in with eyes wide open. Here’s what you need to know about laser hair removal burns before taking the plunge.
These are some of the things you need to know about laser hair removal burns:
The bottom line: With an experienced technician using a modern device, your chance of getting a noticeable burn is very low. Minor side effects are common, but serious burns requiring medical treatment are rare. Still, it’s vital to understand the causes and how to minimize risks.
So what exactly leads to a burn when removing hair by laser? Here are the main causes:
Most burns result from inaccurate laser application rather than the treatment itself. With proper protocols and an experienced technician, the risks are greatly reduced. But it’s still vital to take precautions.
Even when performed properly, laser hair removal can burn patients with certain skin characteristics or conditions including:
Essentially anything that impacts the outer layer of skin makes it more likely to absorb laser light and heat up excessively, increasing the chances of burns, blistering or scarring.
While risks can never be fully eliminated, the following precautions and advice can help minimize the chances of burns from laser hair removal:
Do your homework to find a technician thoroughly trained in using lasers for hair removal. They should be able to advise on the best laser settings and protocol based on your skin/hair type. Ask about their specific experience, training credentials and how long they’ve performed treatments without incident.
Bargain procedures often come with bigger risks. Paying rock-bottom prices likely means they cut corners on safety measures, training and using appropriate laser types for your skin tone. Higher pricing with an experienced technician is worth avoiding complications.
Avoid sun exposure, tanning, and skin irritation from waxing/tweezing for 4-6 weeks pre-treatment. Stop photosensitizing medications with doctor clearance. Follow any other directions for pre-treatment skin preparation.
Inform staff of any changes since your last session – new medications, skin conditions, or irritation like sunburn. All impact your sensitivity so settings should be adjusted accordingly.
Strictly follow all aftercare instructions provided, including avoiding sun, heat, skin products and activities that cause friction. Keep the area clean and moisturized as directed to prevent infection as burns and blisters heal.
Redness right after treatment is normal, but contact the clinic if the redness spreads or doesn’t fade within 12 hours. Increased pain, blistering, swelling or peeling skin may signal a burn requiring medical treatment.
Prevention is always better than dealing with burns after the fact! Being proactive reduces the risks significantly.
If burns, blisters or excessive pain occurs after a laser session, take these steps:
With diligent at-home care, most mild laser hair removal burns heal within a week. But doctor’s supervision ensures proper, scar-free healing for deeper burns.
Schedule an urgent consult with your dermatologist or primary care doctor, especially if burns cover a large area or seem severe. They can assess the level of burns, provide appropriate medical treatment and monitor healing. Prescription antibiotic ointments or other interventions may be prescribed for deeper burns or signs of infection.
Superficial redness and irritation often resolves within a few weeks with proper aftercare. But severe burns which penetrate deep skin layers can take months to fully heal, with high risk of scarring or permanent pigment changes. Have your doctor set clear expectations about the recovery trajectory.
Burns you experience may influence the safety of undergoing future laser hair removal on the affected area. Talk to your provider about whether treatment can resume once healing is complete or if the risks are now too high for your individual situation. Don’t attempt to treat an area that had burns until getting medical clearance.
While most burns heal well, a severe burn may mean laser is no longer a viable hair removal option for you going forward. In these rare cases, discuss alternative permanent or semi-permanent methods like electrolysis with your doctor.
While laser hair removal does carry risks of burns and other side effects, it can be an extremely effective and safe method for permanently reducing hair when performed by a qualified professional. The key is choosing an experienced technician using gold-standard devices appropriate for your skin type.
Do your due diligence in screening providers thoroughly and following all pre and post-treatment protocols.
At Ethos Spa, your happiness and satisfaction are our top priorities.
We know that considering any cosmetic procedure is a big decision, and you want to feel confident you’ve chosen the right place. That’s why we’ve worked hard to earn a reputation as the premier spa for customized, non-invasive treatments in New Jersey.
With proper care, most people achieve smooth, stubble-free skin free of burns or scarring. But weigh the benefits against any personal factors that may indicate laser hair removal isn’t for you.