Can I Get an Infection from Laser Hair Removal? - An Expert's Perspective

As with other cosmetic hair removal methods, laser treatment can induce a risk of infection. While healing, the affected region should be treated like a wound. People who have any symptoms of infection should see a dermatologist. Like other cosmetic methods of hair removal, the process of damaging hair follicles carries risks of infection.

After the procedure, when there are side effects similar to those of a wound, it is important to apply appropriate treatment. After treatment, apply only dermatologist-approved products. You may notice redness and swelling for the first few hours after laser hair removal. To reduce any discomfort, apply ice to the treated area. If you have a skin reaction right after laser hair removal, your doctor may apply a steroid cream to the affected area.

When skin is damaged, it can cause infection or leave scars. A skin infection can spread and worsen. While laser hair removal effectively slows hair growth for extended periods of time, it usually doesn't result in permanent hair removal. Therefore, the contrast between hair color and skin, dark hair and fair skin produces the best results. After laser hair removal and between scheduled treatments, avoid sunlight and don't use a tanning bed for six weeks or as directed by your doctor.

For initial hair removal, several laser hair removal treatments are needed and maintenance treatments may also be necessary. Naturally or artificially tanned skin can make laser hair removal less effective and cause side effects. But because most hair follicles are damaged, hair doesn't grow for an extended period of time. Other rare side effects include greying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, especially on darker skin. Laser hair removal aims to make the skin aesthetically pleasing, however, there are some minor side effects that are inevitable.

Repeated treatments are often necessary because hair growth and loss occur naturally in a cycle, and laser treatment works best with hair follicles in the regrowth stage. If you decide to use a home laser hair removal device, follow the instructions that come with the device to help reduce the risk of injury, especially eye injury. If done under appropriate medical supervision, laser therapy for hair removal does not increase the chances of cancer. Therefore, it makes sense to plan laser hair removal after you have given birth and finished breastfeeding. During laser hair removal, the laser emits light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. Be wary of spas, beauty salons, or other centers that allow non-medical personnel to perform laser hair removal.

When performed by an expert in the use of lasers on all skin types, laser hair removal is a very safe and effective procedure. Infections from laser hair removal are rare but can occur if proper care is not taken after treatment. To reduce your risk of infection after laser treatment:

  • Keep the area clean with mild soap and water.
  • Avoid touching or scratching the area.
  • Avoid using any products not approved by your dermatologist.
  • Avoid direct sunlight or tanning beds for at least six weeks after treatment.
  • Apply ice to reduce swelling.
  • See your dermatologist if you experience any signs of infection such as redness or swelling.
Laser hair removal is an effective way to reduce unwanted body or facial hair for extended periods of time without having to shave or wax regularly. However, it is important to understand that it does not guarantee permanent results and that there is a risk of infection if proper care is not taken after treatment.

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