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Does Laser Hair Reduction have side effects?

Laser hair reduction uses a concentrated beam of light to target the hair roots (also known as the hair follicles). The hair reduction procedure involves using a laser that emits light that is absorbed by the hair follicles. There is a pigment present in the hair follicles known as melanin which absorbs light and destroys the hair follicle which stops the hair from growing. 

People opt for laser hair reduction to get rid of unwanted hair. The most common areas where they treat are the arms, legs, underarms, chin, upper lip, and the bikini line. Nearly any area can be treated for laser hair reduction except areas that have tattoos and raised scars. The basic principle of laser hair reduction is that it works to target the pigment in the hair follicle not the pigment of the skin. Therefore, it only damages the pigment in the hair follicle and does not damage the skin.

The idea is for laser hair reduction to be a long-term solution to get rid of unwanted hair by stopping the hair follicles from growing new hair. The hair and a person’s skin type affect the success of laser hair reduction. The contrast between the color of the skin and the color of the hair is important because the laser targets the pigment in the hair. Therefore, laser hair reduction is ideal for people who have dark hair. It is not effective for hair that is light in color because it has little to no pigment which the laser can’t target. 

The possible side effects of laser hair reduction:

Redness and irritation

The hair follicles are damaged by laser and this elicits a reaction from the body which results in some irritation and redness in the area on which the treatment was done. The skin will feel warm, tingly, and tender. These symptoms are usually short-lived and can be dealt with by using a topical anesthetic before the treatment or using ice packs after the treatment. 


Some people experience crusting of skin on the area of treatment. It is a minor issue but nothing to worry about. There may be some dry skin and scabbing but that can be taken care of by applying moisturizer regularly. 


Sometimes after a laser hair reduction procedure when the hair is shaved and then treated with a laser; the dead hair beneath the epidermis starts to surface and shed and sometimes this causes tiny bumps known as folliculitis and which happens when the skin is irritated. This can be simply treated with a topical antibiotic cream.

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