Before you embark on laser hair removal, you should spend time understanding how the process works and if some of the side effects can be a concern for you. The term “laser” is more synonymous with laser tag, light shows, pointing the laser gun at pets or some similar things. But, some of you may not have noticed that lasers also have a sea of other applications beyond enjoyment and fun. For instance, lasers in a dermatologist’s office represent a great tool for a wide range of skin treatments. The versatility of laser treatments also ensures that this method of treatment is loved by doctors and patients alike. Wide-ranging applications of laser include stretch marks, acne scars, tattoo removal, hair removal, etc. For people who experience stubborn skin problems also, the laser could bring a permanent solution.
Safety of laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is generally a safe procedure to ensure that unwanted hair is permanently removed, or at least for a good length of time. Most people have also found the procedure well tolerated and no long-term health issues have been experienced. That being said, some patients may experience certain minor side effects after undergoing this procedure. Therefore, your dermatologist is the best person to determine if laser hair removal is safe for you.
How painful is the procedure
The affected skin can become tender and red for a few days following the treatment. The sensation itself is described as similar to that of sunburn by many people who have received the treatment. However, the process typically is not known to be painful.
How about the side effects
While some side effects cannot be ruled out in entirety, these are mostly temporary and minor. But, if you experience continued side effects, you should consult a dermatologist without delay. Irritation and redness are other possible side effects since follicles of targeted hair can suffer damage during the laser hair removal process. Your body may react to this and you may experience irritation and redness in the treated area. The skin can also feel tender and tingle and could even swell slightly in appearance. Usually, these side effects are short-lived and your skin could look similar to the appearance immediately after plucking or waxing. Topical anaesthesia may be used by some dermatologists to contain the reaction from the process. The irritation will normally ease in a few hours after the treatment. Redness and swelling respond well to cool bath or ice packs.
Impact to skin colour
Some individuals may experience certain minor change in colour of the treated skin. It can be marginally lighter or darker after the laser treatment for hair removal. However, individuals having lighter skin can experience darker changes to the pigmentation. On the other hand, individuals having a darker skin tone can experience lighter pigmentation change. These changes, however, tends to fade away with time and the skin restores to its normal state.
Some of you may experience crusting of the skin in the treated area. Although this is a relatively minor issue, it can cause some inconvenience. At times, crusting can also cause scarring or scabbing. By caring for the treated surface post-laser removal, like using moisturizers, you can prevent lasting issues consequent to this treatment.
Powerful lasers are employed in laser hair removal and there is a potential risk of injury to your eyes. This can be serious particularly when the practitioner is working on your face. Therefore the patient and the practitioner should be wearing protective eye cover to prevent possibly injury while carrying out the procedure.
Similar to other methods employed for hair removal, some infection risk due to damaged hair follicles should be factored in. You can, however, treat the affected area as you would in the case of a wound. If you notice signs of serious infection, you should see your dermatologist. You should also take care never to apply OTC creams to infected areas.
Hair removal lasers
Having examined various potential issues with laser hair removal procedure, let us now focus more on this procedure itself. The laser employed for this purposes focuses on pigments called melanin in the hair follicles for eliminating unwanted hair from multiple parts of your body to obtain a silky smooth appearance. If your hair and skin colour contrast sharply with each other you can expect the most effective results from the treatment. But, this treatment may not be helpful if you have vellus hair or ‘peach fuzz’ since melanin will be absent in both these cases. In other words, this procedure works better when you have dark hairs or terminal hairs like your upper lip, armpits and pubic areas since higher melanin is present in these hairs and the laser can easily target them.
Different wavelengths can also be employed for penetrating varying shades and remove the hair properly for individuals with varying complexions. Also, remember that for individuals with darker skin the final results may be less than optimal since the laser tends to focus on the melanin in your skin rather than in the hair follicle.