Laser Hair Removal: Avoid the Risks

Laser hair removal is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments performed in the US. However, it is still new enough to cause some people hesitation. Are there health risks involved, and are the side effects significant enough to give you pause?

If you’re asking these questions, good. You should always investigate all the risks before undergoing any sort of medical procedure. Let’s cover what you need to know about laser hair removal.

How it Works

Trained experts use lasers to beam highly concentrated light into the hair follicles. The pigment there absorbs the light and the hair is destroyed. The method is fast, precise, and predictable.

When you receive a treatment, your practitioner will clean the targeted area and trim the hair to a few millimeters above the surface. The client and the practitioner will wear protective eyewear. The technician will also apply protective means to the treated skin, like a cold gel.

After the procedure, the client may receive ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams, or other products to ease discomfort. Some redness and swelling is normal the day or two following treatment.

The length and number of treatments will depend on several things. The size of the area being treated, complexion, and hair type will factor in to how long each treatment lasts, how far apart follow-up treatments are scheduled, and how many laser sessions are needed.


As with anything, there are some risks involved with this treatment. However, the most common are very minor side effects. The most serious are unlikely to occur when a qualified technician performs the treatment.

Common minor side effects

According the Mayo Clinic,

“The most common side effects of laser hair removal include:

  • Skin irritation. Temporary discomfort, redness and swelling are possible after laser hair removal. Any signs and symptoms typically disappear within several hours.
  • Pigment changes. Laser hair removal might darken or lighten the affected skin, usually temporarily. Skin lightening primarily affects those who have darker skin, especially if an incorrect laser is used at an incorrect setting.”

More serious risks

If the technician uses the wrong equipment for your hair color, complexion, and/or body area, more detrimental effects can occur. In these rare cases, the following can happen:

  • Blistering
  • Infections
  • Scarring
  • Permanent lightening or darkening of the skin

How to Ensure a Safe Treatment

The surest way to avoid unwanted side effects is to be proactive in selecting a qualified professional.

  • Ask for the credentials of the person performing the treatment, including licensing and training
  • Ask how many times the technician has performed laser hair removal, and whether he or she has done it to the body part you’re having treated
  • Ask whether a medical doctor will be present during the treatment
  • Make sure the practitioner has gone over your health history
  • Be sure to honestly disclose any medical conditions, especially diabetes, difficulty with wound healing, or keloid scarring
  • Know what procedures are in place in case of an emergency
  • Inquire whether the treatment is appropriate for your skin type, hair, and complexion
  • Also ask how your specific hair and skin type affects your treatment plan, especially the time between treatments
  • If not offered, request that the technician test a small patch of skin before you commit to the procedure

Overall, laser hair removal is a safe and effective means of eliminating unwanted hair so long as you choose a qualified practitioner. At Urban Retreat, our experts have years of experience with successful laser treatments. Our owner is a Nurse Practitioner under medical directorship of a doctor. We encourage you to discuss your concerns in full before any treatment. We want you to know that you and your skin are in safe, competent hands. Contact us at 952-974-7858 or