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Laser Hair Removal Side Effects, Risks & Cost

Laser Hair Removal Side Effects, Risks & Cost

There are many factors to consider when choosing whether or not laser hair removal is the right decision for you. One of the most important aspects to think about is the risk of possible side effects associated with the procedure. No medical treatments are without potential hazards and laser hair removal is no exception. The side effects involved can be temporary or permanent and your chances of developing one many be heightened by certain skin characteristics you may have.

One more thing to keep in mind is that laser hair removal cannot be done on blonde, grey, or red hair. This is the only time that you may want to consider waxing as an alternative, even though it is not a permanent treatment. The reason for this is that the laser is attracted to dark pigment, enabling it to kill the hair with laser heat energy. If the hair is blonde, red, or grey, it will not be picked up by the laser to be killed. It would be a waste of money, and it also would not give you the results that you are looking for. 

What are the long term dangers of laser hair removal ?

LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Most hair removal clinics will emphasis the permanent hair removal which their treatment can deliver. They might not say enough about the long term dangers of laser hair removal.

The laser recommended sessions are generally 6-8 treatments (depends on the area treated and amount of hair to be removed) those sessions should be 8-12 weeks apart in order to treat all hair cycle of growth which are unique for each area. Laser hair removal frequent asked questions is about the different laser systems. There are different types of lasers each with their advantages and also long term dangers.

Long term dangers of Skin discoloration

There are two major laser hair removal skin discolorationwhich can occur: While you might be frightened from any painful danger and side effect, skin discoloration is not painful but it could be end up with a very deep emotional disappointment.

Laser hair removal information - Hypopigmentation side effects:

   Naturally it may take years for the skin to resemble its' natural color again. Skin bleaching agents can help, but not for everybody.


This is where the skin lightens after laser hair surgery. As of June 2011, there is no remedy for this problem.

This refers to the lightening of skin that can occur because the skin gets some kind of trauma and can cause laser hair removal skin hypopigmentation.

Like hyperpigmentation, (darkening) hypopigmentation (whiting side effects) happens more often in patients with darker skin. This means one of the best ways to avoid laser hair removal long term dangers is:

1. Checking if you are a right candidate for laser hair treatment, do you have enough contrast between skin and hair color?

2. Staying away from the sun, tanning, tan creams well before the treatments, and following these tips for laser hair removal.

Nd: Yag lasers can treat any skin tone, they have no long term dangers, and can treat even darker colored skins, but produced results are disappointing with short-term hair loss and large hair re-growth in a few months.

Diode laser can treat darker skin tones much better and with fewer long term side effects than Alexandrite and Ruby lasers.

Hypo-pigmentation is not reversible; you are vulnerable to the danger of long term damage causing a permanent lightening of the skin on the treated area.

Make sure at home you buy and use only FDA-cleared safe and effective laser systems ! 

Hyperpigmentation side effects:

On the other hand refers to the darkening of skin. Exposure to sunlight is the most common of hyperpigmentaion (sun tan) the sun will darken already hyperpigmented areas. Hyperpigmentationmay occur after the laser hair removal treatment when the laser causes extra production of melanin. Hyper-pigmentation is generally not a laser long term hair removal danger effect and can be treated with bleaching creams. Hyper-pigmentation is usually reversible.

These two long term risks can be avoided, when you are treated by a professional technicianwith the appropriate laser skill and experience for your individual skin type.

If you are removing hair at home with a home removal system, read the instructions, check FDA-cleared, and the precise skin tone the system was meant for. 

Long term dangers of laser hair removal causing skin cancer

The laser hair removal systems all use a non-ionizing radiation. The term “non-ionizing radiation” means this type of energy does not affect the DNA strings. It’s this breaking down of DNA which causes the long term effect of Cancer as we know it. Though many fear laser hair removal cause skin cancer – it can not.

Long term dangerous effects of laser hair removal summary:

Since there are no real standards for the licensing of laser hair removal technicians, to minimize your risks for laser hair removal long term dangers, make sure the clinic you visit uses wide range of hair removal systems. Try to find out their experience treating your skin type, how long do they have the systems, how many people they have treated with each system.

Temporary Side Effects

There are several temporary side effects that you have the potential for acquiring after a laser hair removal treatment. You are much more likely to develop a temporary side effect rather than a permanent one, however since it is temporary then it will eventually go away. Some can take days, weeks, or even months to completely resolve.

Pain - You can have pain both during and after the procedure. Discomfort during the process can often be alleviated by using a local anesthetic or other methods supplied by the office or clinic. Discomfort in the days after the procedure may be improved through the use of a prescribed pain relief medication. Ask your practitioner which options are available to you. 

Swelling - There is a potential risk of some sort of swelling at and around the area that was treated. Depending on what area you have chosen to treat, this side effect may be more or less of a problem. This may be relieved through use of topical treatments prescribed by your practitioner. You can consult your practitioner on possible solutions this potential side effect can be treated with. 

Redness - Redness, besides pain, is probably the least serious side effect of laser hair removal. However, it may be more of a problem if you have treated a well seen or noticeable area, such as directly above your lip. You may be able to resolve this by using a topical treatment prescribed by your physician, however you should ask him about such options before the procedure is started. 

Blistering - This may be the worst, most painful, noticeable, and embarrassing temporary side effect that comes with having laser hair removal performed. If you would be uncomfortable with people seeing you in that condition, then you may want to create some form of plan on what you can do to minimize your exposure to others if you should suffer this side effect. Hyperpigmentation - Hyperpigmentation is a side effect that involves temporary darkening of the skin on the treated area. There may not be any solution which can reduce this side effect until it resolves itself but, as long as the treated area is not on your face, it may not be very noticeable either.

Permanent Side Effects

There is also a very serious chance of possible long-term or permanent epidermal damage. If you are not prepared to accept these risks as an outcome of your procedure then you should think twice about considering this hair removal method. There may be other more temporary, more painful, or more expensive solutions to your unwanted hair problems that you should evaluate as well.

Skin discoloration - This is usually permanent lightening of the skin on the treated area. Because the laser is made to attack the pigmentation in darker colored hair it can sometimes affect darker colored skin as well. Although not a physically painful side effect, it could be sever and emotionally damaging. 

Scaring - Scaring mostly occurs when the area is treated by someone who is minimally trained or by an accidental over-treatment. However, even if you are having your procedure done by an experienced professional, you should still be prepared for any potential risks. 


Burns - Burns are also very rare and are usually the work of less qualified technicians. It can be painful and you should be prepared for this consequence as well, no matter what your practitioner or technician’s qualifications are.

Laser Burn on Black Skin                                                Scars and Scabs

Scars will occur if the laser technician prolongs then use of the laser in one are. Other scars may form if after care advice for laser hair removal treatments are not followed.


What You Can Do
Although side effects are a possibility, there are measures you should take in the days and weeks leading up to your procedure to minimize these risks. This is not meant as a medical guide for you but rather an informational one. You should always consult and listen to your practitioner on what actions he prefers that you take before the treatment.

You need to let your practitioner know if you have any family or hormonal conditions or if you have any form of the herpes virus in the area you intend to treat.

You should avoid tanning or unprotected sun exposure for several weeks prior to your procedure. This is because results are maximized and side effects minimized if patients that are at their lightest skin tone when the treatment occurs. You practitioner may even prescribe a bleaching cream for you to apply.

You should avoid waxing or plucking the area for several weeks prior to the procedure for better results. Take any antibiotic or antiviral medications that may be prescribed to you.

Make sure the area is clean on the day of the procedure. For instance, if your having part of you face treated, then do not wear makeup.

Laser hair removal, like any other medical procedure, has its own set of risks and complications. However, these can be reduced by asking your practitioner what medications may be available and following any pre or post-procedure instructions he gives you. You can further minimize these risks by choosing a practitioner who is well qualified and has had no history of patients with sever or permanent side effects under his care.

Note: It is best to use herbal hair remover which has no harmful side effects and no risks.



Laser Hair Removal Cost:

On average, four sessions is enough to achieve satisfactory hair removal for a number of months, and needing more than seven sessions is rare. People with blond or gray hair and darker skinned people should expect to face increased laser hair removal prices - light colored hair doesn't respond as well to laser removal as dark hair so more sessions will be required, and darker skinned people require a more advanced laser called Nd:YAG and a clinician experienced in working with darker skin. The table below details the average laser hair removal cost per hair zone per session. 

Hair Zone
Average Cost of Laser Hair Removal
Under Arms
$300 per session
Bikini or Arms
$425 per session
Male Chest Hair
$475 per session
Lower Legs or Upper Legs
$725 per session
Male Back Hair or Beard and Neck
$750 per session






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