Laser Hair Removal: What are the Risks?

A widespread concern among people who enquire about laser hair removal is the possibility of burns. Indeed, the risk of burns caused by the hair removal laser always exists, and there have been various cases of people claiming compensation for burns. But, in expert hands, any such risk is very minimal.

But, some people do suffer from burns, and it is important to know how to treat them. Have you suffered a laser burn and do not know what you should do?

Here, we explain everything you need to know about treating burns caused by laser hair removal.

Not all the light systems that are used to perform laser hair removal have the same risks when it comes to producing a burn. Do you know which type of laser they used for the hair removal procedure?

  • The Neodymium-Yag laser is the one that can produce the most serious burns and can leave scars as a result. It is most suitable for coloured skin. But, thankfully, this type of laser is not often used.

  • The diode laser can cause burns of different degrees. In the majority of cases, these are superficial burns of the first degree, but deeper burns have also been related to this type of laser. It is very important that lasers are always handled by qualified personnel, to minimise the risk of scarring.

  • Pulsed light or photo epilation can also cause burns, although in this case, the type of burn is usually only superficial.

  • The Alexandrite laser is the most effective laser on the market but also, like other lasers can cause burns, although they are usually always superficial and heal without leaving any scars.

How are the burns that a laser produces?

The most common burns are usually superficial. For the first few hours, they usually have a reddish colour and then turn a brownish colour.

The shape of the burns usually corresponds to the shape of the laser head used (circle, square, rectangle, etc.).

Within days, the burn heals, and it has a scaly appearance that will eventually disappear. Around 10-15 days, you can see that the skin of the affected area looks whiter than the surrounding skin. You do not have to worry because the skin will gradually recover its colour, naturally, in a few months.

These burns are not usually very annoying although they can produce a certain stinging sensation at the beginning.

The next step would be to treat them based on the damage to the skin: differentiating between superficial and deep.

How are laser burns treated?

If the burns are superficial:

  • The first day we can apply a cold compress on the affected area. It is also advisable to use an ointment with hydrocortisone 2 times a day, for 4-5 days, on the affected areas.

  • You can also apply Aloe Vera that will help soothe and decongest the skin. Try putting it in the refrigerator, because this way you will also benefit from the relief of the coolness.

  • Avoid applying very hot water on the area.

  • Do not expose to the sun. If the burn has occurred on the face it is important to apply a very high protection factor sunblock.

If the burns are deep (with blisters), or they appear to be healing abnormally, it is important to go to a health centre.

The importance of laser hair removal being performed by qualified and experienced staff cannot be emphasised enough. This helps minimise the risks of burns and helps achieve the best results with the greatest safety.

And, let’s not forget that it isn’t only clients who undergo laser hair removal procedures who are at risk. The practitioners themselves need to take great care when using laser equipment, as it is incredibly easy to inflict damage if not handled correctly.

One such case led to the operator making a work injury claim in Gloucester, claiming they had not received sufficient training regarding safety in the use of the laser equipment.