Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal is the most popular method for removing unwanted hair both on the body and face. Whilst for the majority of patients it is highly safe and effective, it is not without its risks.

What are the side effects from laser hair removal?

At our Bournemouth laser clinic we divide up side effects into 3 categories: Expected laser hair removal side effects. Unwanted (but possible) hair removal side effects. Lastly, ‘Adverse reactions’.

1. Expected laser hair removal side effects:

◦                Redness (erythema) – after treatment, temporary redness of the skin can occur. Although we advise clients that this can last for 1-3 days on the treated areas, in reality this normally only lasts a few hours.

◦                Swelling (oedema) – mild swelling or irritation is possible around the follicles after treatment, which again can last for 1-3 days but usually goes down after a few hours.

◦                Itching – discomfort or itching can sometimes occur on treated areas and is more common in people with an overactive histamine response.

◦                Slight Pain or Tingling – most people describe the sensation of laser hair removal like a rubber band being snapped against the skin. It can also feel like hot little pin pricks. Many clients at our laser clinic in Bournemouth find it more tolerable than waxing especially on sensitive areas like the extended bikini line. The sensation does vary according to people’s skin and hair type. People with darker skins will absorb more light from the laser hair removal treatment and will therefore feel it more than those with paler skin. At Laser Skin Solutions Bournemouth we use a cryo cooling machine which blows cold air, making the treatment more comfortable and helps to reduce unwanted side effects like redness and swelling.

2. Unwanted (but possible) side effects:

These side effects are not expected from a laser hair removal treatment, but can occur on rare occasions. Any of the following side effects should be reported to your laser consultant straight away:

◦                Mild burning or blistering – very unusual in a laser hair removal treatment. If this does occur it is usually a sign that the client has either exposed their skin to the sun, is on light sensitising medication that hasn’t been declared to the laser consultant prior to treatment, or the laser operator has over treated using energies that are too high. Rarely this can occur without any obvious explanation. For other laser treatments however like laser tattoo removal, blistering can occur on certain tattoo colours and is unfortunately an unwanted but expected side effect.

◦                Infection – if treated areas aren’t cleaned and disinfected properly prior to treatment, and post-treatment, a minor infection can set in. All areas must be free of make-up, creams, deodorants etc.

◦                Bruising – patients with very sensitive skin may experience slight bruising on treated areas. Again this is very unusual for laser hair removal and is more common (but still only occurs occasionally), in vascular treatments like thread vein removal or laser tattoo removal.

◦                Changes in Skin Pigment – pigmentation discolouration scarring in the form of hyper-pigmentation (darkening of skin tone) and hypo-pigmentation (lightening of skin tone) are rare if laser hair removal is performed by an experienced laser consultant, and if the correct laser is used. Most laser clinics in Bournemouth will only have one laser or IPL specifically for laser hair removal. This means that whatever your skin or hair type you will get treated with the same machine. At Laser Skin Solutions Bournemouth we have 3 different laser and IPL handpieces for laser hair removal alone.

3. Adverse reactions

Severe burns.

How effective is laser hair removal?

This depends very much on the skin and hair type of the client concerned (dark thick hair on light skin being the most suitable for laser hair removal treatment), but also on the efficacy and grade of laser being used for treatment. At our Bournemouth laser clinic, we use the Lynton Lumina. A medical grade laser and IPL system used by the NHS. Many beauty clinics and tattoo parlours buy in cheap equipment which simply don’t deliver the results. The best advice? Do your homework. In the laser world, bigger is generally better. If you see a laser or IPL which is small enough to sit on a beauty trolley – chances are it won’t be powerful enough to do the job. Portable or ‘home lasers’ are even worse. You only have to see how many second hand home laser kits are being sold on ebay to realise these machines don’t deliver the results. For fast, effective and safe results, choose a clinic which specialises in cosmetic laser treatments like we do at Laser Skin Solutions. Lastly, always ask what laser qualifications your laser consultant has apart from the basic training provided by the laser manufacturer. At Laser Skin Solutions we are the only laser clinic in Bournemouth that insists on staff obtaining the BTEC Laser & Light award – currently the highest recognised qualification in the UK. Kerry Belba and Carlie Carter are 2 out of 300 people in the entire country to hold this qualification.

For your free laser hair removal consultation with the experts please contact us by calling 01202 29 69 69.