The following laser hair removal side effects may be experienced after or during treatment:
- Pain - Patients usually experience a slight, brief stinging feeling during laser hair removal. This sensation, however, should never become more extreme and should never be described as painful. If the area being treated is an especially sensitive part of the body, there may be a greater risk of pain. In this case, ask your doctor about pain relief treatments such as numbing gels or creams. When the procedure is complete the uncomfortable sensation should decrease and disappear. The majority of patients are able to return to their normal routine as soon as they leave the laser clinic.
- Redness and Swelling - One temporary yet common side effect could be slightly inflamed or irritated skin. This condition, which usually subsides within a few days from the laser procedure, can be treated with repeated icing of the area and aloe gels or creams. Most patients will get immediate relief from swollen or red skin shortly after the procedure is complete. In the rare case of more severe reaction, however, the irritation should be gone completely after about a week.
- Burning, blistering or scabbing - Although slight irritation to the skin is a common side effect of laser therapy, more extreme irritations like scabbing and blistering are very rare. Most incidences arise from the use of improperly adjusted lasers by inexperienced doctors. It should also be noted that tanned patients run a higher risk of scabbing and burning following the procedure. Since those with darker skin are treated with higher powered lasers, they have a greater chance of injury. Any area of skin that does experience burning or blistering should be kept constantly moist with petroleum jelly. If the skin develops open sores, the use of medicated ointments or creams is recommended.
- Changes in pigment - Patients may find that their skin lightens or darkens after laser hair removal. Most individuals find that the pigment returns to the pre-procedure state within a few months. Patients who have freckles or moles could notice a lightening of these areas following treatment. If the patient has a tattoo in the area targeted by the laser, the pattern may lighten or darken as well.