Are There Contraindications For Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is popular with people wanting a solution to hair removal that is more permanent than some other methods. Using lasers to remove hair works by stopping the hair follicles from growing new hairs.
However, a lot of patients do experience permanent hair removal. What about contraindications for laser hair removal though?
Can everyone really undergo laser hair removal? Are there contraindications for laser hair removal? Aren’t some people meant not to try it out? What about pregnant women? And if you are in the midst of hormone therapy? Before embarking on the therapy, people should make themselves aware of some side effects of laser hair removal, as well as some myths that surround the process. There are indeed contraindications for laser hair removal and instances where it is better to not give it a shot.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair reduction method that uses selective photothermolysis. The laser gun will match a specific wavelength to a determined pulse duration meant to target an object at the surface of the skin. Such technique will not damage surrounding skin tissues.
Despite the increased use of lasers, to date, few guidelines exist in terms of how to approach laser hair removal. Specifically, one must understand the mechanism of hair growth and how lasers work to target the hair follicle.
Your laser technician will map out and mark the area you want to be treated and provide you with goggles while also wearing their own.The laser gun will produce a beam of light that will target the pigments in the hair. Once the energy is in the hair, it will travel all the way through to the follicle, under the dermis.There, the energy will turn into thermal energy. The heat is what will damage the hair follicle, thus preventing any further growth.
What the thermal energy actually does is cauterizing the blood vessels that feed the hair follicles on the targeted area. Once the follicle no longer gets its fuel, it dies. Only a permanently damaged hair follicle will allow for permanent hair removal. Indeed, if the follicle manages to regenerate, it will produce new hair.
No contraindications for laser hair removal so far.
Can everybody undergo the treatment?
If by everybody you are referring to skin tones or hair color, then yes. Everyone, regardless of their skin or hair color can undergo laser hair removal. Indeed, laser technology improvements allow to treat dark skin as well as fair hair very safely. The treatment may require additional sessions for maximum results, but it is still possible.
It is important not to confuse natural skin complexion and tanning however. As stated above, laser hair removal works on brown and black skins. Indeed, ND:YAG lasers do not need melanin to deposit the light energy under the dermis. However tanning puts the skin in an excited state which can interfere with the procedure and increase the risks of side-effects.
There are some contraindications laser technicians look out for prior to treating. If any of the following pertain to you, you cannot receive laser hair removal treatments. You are on any medications that are light sensitive or photosensitive. These types of medications chemically induce a change in your skin and can cause reactions when exposed to UV rays.
Now, if you are referring to conditions, then no, not everyone can undergo laser treatment. For example, while the lack of research and study cannot confirm nor deny the risks of laser hair removal for the foetus, it is advised that pregnant women do not start a treatment. Or interrupt the treatment they had on-going.
Side Effects of laser hair removal treatment:
Redness and irritation:
Laser hair removal damages the follicles of the targeted hairs. The body reacts to this, and many people experience redness and irritation in the affected areas. The skin may tingle or feel tender, and may even appear to swell slightly.
The symptoms are usually short-lived. The affected area may look similar to skin that has just been waxed or plucked. Some dermatologists use a topical anesthetic to reduce how much a person’s skin reacts to the process.
Irritation should ease after the initial reaction, usually within a few hours of the treatment. Swelling and redness may respond well to ice packs or a cool bath.
Changes in skin color:
Some people may notice minor color changes to the treated area of skin. It may get slightly darker or lighter, following laser hair removal.
People with lighter skin may be more likely to experience darker pigmentation changes. People with darker skin tones may be more prone to lighter pigmentation changes. These changes tend to fade away over time, and the skin returns to normal.
Scars are typically not a side effect of laser hair removal. However, if the practitioner makes an error, scarring can occur. This should not be an issue with most qualified practitioners.
Scars may also form if people do not care for the treated area correctly afterward.
They should treat the affected skin as if it had been sunburned to avoid further damage. This means keeping it moisturized, protected from light, and checked regularly for signs of infection.
Risk of skin infection:
As with other cosmetic hair removal methods, damaging hair follicles with a laser can create an infection risk.
The affected area should be treated as a wound while it heals. People should report any signs of infection to a dermatologist.
Finally, they should not apply over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotic creams to large areas of skin if an infection arises.
Hair Removal Contraindications Hirsutism occurs in women who present with male hair growth patterns. There are two types of hirsutism: genetic and hormonal, and they are easy to differentiate.
Laser hair removal treatment and other treatments
While patients are able to combine a lot of treatments together, other contraindications for laser hair removal include facial treatments such as chemical peels and glycolic acid treatments. Patients are able to undergo both treatments as long as they are on different areas of the body.
Indeed, chemical peels and glycolic treatments leave the skin very sensitive as they remove the upper layer of the skin. Those facials can lead to pigmentation, which the laser may target. This increases the risks of burns and negative side-effects.
The skin needs time to heal after such facial treatments. It is important that any redness, sensitivity or pigmentation disappear before a patient undergoes laser hair removal. Any other facial treatments that do not include removing the upper layer of the skin, laser or micro-wounding the skin is fine however.
There are a few contraindications for laser hair removal. However, they are either rare or easily avoidable as most of them are not permanent. Patients must always disclose their medical history to ensure they are eligible for laser hair removal at that point in time.
We also sought to establish, based on published reports, the recommendations for shaving, plucking, waxing or other hair removal methods prior to laser hair removal and the guidelines for sun exposure before and after laser treatments.