Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?
Many patients have concerns over the safety of laser hair removal. Some patients hear the word “laser” and immediately wonder, “Is laser hair removal safe?” or “does it increase risk of cancer?” or “can it cause damage to my organs?” The short answer is, no, laser hair removal does not cause cancer, nor does it cause any damage to organs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding laser hair removal and safety:
- According to the National Laser Institute, in 2018 over 1.1 million laser hair removal procedures were performed in America, landing this treatment in the top five among all minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. While laser hair removal is widely considered a safe procedure, there are some risks of side effects that can vary given a patient’s skin type, hair color, treatment plan and adherence to pre- and post-treatment care.
- Before the laser hair removal treatment, the area to be treated will be cleansed. Some patients receive a numbing gel. Numbing the area to be treated helps when a small area will be treated and the skin is very sensitive. It takes about 30 to 60 minutes for a numbing gel to work.
- The laser treatment will take place in a room set up specifically for laser treatments. Everyone in the room must wear protective eye wear during the procedure. To perform the procedure, the skin is held taut and the skin is treated with the laser. Many patients say that the laser pulses feel like warm pinpricks or a rubber band being snapped against the skin.
- A laser removes hair by vaporizing it. This causes small plumes of smoke that have a sulfur-like smell.
- How long your treatment lasts depends on the size of the area being treated. Treating the upper lip takes minutes. If you are having a large area like the back or legs treated, your laser hair removal treatment may last more than an hour.
- To avoid possible side effects, all patients need to protect their skin from the sun. After laser hair removal, you should avoid direct sunlight from hitting your treated skin. Do not use a tanning bed, sun lamp, or any other indoor tanning equipment. Follow your dermatologist’s after-care instructions.
- You will see some redness and swelling after treatment. This often looks like a mild sunburn. Applying a cool compress can help reduce your discomfort.
- Laser hair removal generally does not require any real downtime. Immediately after having laser hair removal, your treated skin will be red and swollen. Despite this, most people return to their everyday activities.
- You will likely see the results immediately after treatment. The results vary from patient to patient. The color and thickness of your hair, area treated, type of laser used, and color of your skin all affect the results. You can expect a 10% to 25% reduction in hair after the first treatment.
- To remove the hair, most patients need 2 to 6 laser treatments. After finishing the laser hair removal treatments, most patients do not see any hair on the treated skin for several months or even years. When the hair regrows, there tends to be less of it. The hairs also tend to be finer and lighter in color.
- Most patients remain hair free for months or even years. When some of the hair regrows, it will likely be less noticeable. To keep the area free of hair, a patient may need maintenance laser treatments.
- Repeat treatments may be required, and this varies from patient to patient. Removing hair often requires a series of laser hair removal treatments. Most patients can have laser hair removal once every 4 to 6 weeks. Your laser hair removal specialist will tell you when it is safe to have another treatment.
Are you considering laser hair removal in Santa Barbara?
Evolutions Medical and Day Spa are Santa Barbara laser hair removal specialists with over a decade of experience performing laser hair removal procedures. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your options for safe laser hair removal treatments by filling out this form