Like any medical procedure, laser hair removal has the risk of side effects. They range in seriousness and severity and can be either temporary or permanent. No matter the degree they are all serious and should be avoided whenever possible.
The most common side effects of laser hair removal are skin irritation and redness. This side effect usually goes away shortly after the treatment session is finished. Such side effects are more nuisance than dangerous, causing discomfort and moderate pain.
Other, more serious, side effects include burning, scarring and skin discoloration. The burns can be extremely painful and last for quite some time. This side effect usually occurs if the laser is set at a level that is too high or if the treatment is applied for longer than it should.
Scarring is usually a result of burns or blisters that occur when treatment is misapplied. This side effect is not usually painful, but can be permanent. Depending on the severity of the scars, they can cause patients to become self-conscious, especially if they're on the face.
Skin discoloration is a discoloring of the pigment that makes up the skin tone. This is usually due to the laser targeting the skin rather than the hair follice. If there is too little contrast between the two the laser will treat them the same, essentially burning the skin along with the hair follicles. This side effect can be permanent, and if it does go away it's usually takes quite a long time to do so.
Preventing Laser Hair Removal Side Effects
The most effective way to prevent laser hair removal side effects is to be sure your skin characteristics are suitable for treatment. If your skin tone/hair color contrast is not very high, you may want to re-examine if laser hair removal is for you.
Those with tanned skin should wait until the tan fades before undergoing laser hair removal treatments. The tanned skin is more likely to burn and cause blisters.
There are some creams and lotions that can be applied to help prepare skin for treatments as well as help it to recover post-treatment. See your doctor for more information on those creams as well as their consult when deciding if laser hair removal is right for you.