Potential Risks and Complications of Laser Hair Removal

As with any cosmetic procedure, it is always best to be fully aware of the potential risks and complications. The same holds true with laser hair removal. Though the potential risks and complications are minimal, there are certain people who are more likely to have problems from the procedure. Similarly, there are risks to anyone undergoing the treatment that must be considered before deciding to go through with the treatment.

Hair Color and Thickness

Hair color and thickness are both an issue with laser hair removal. Darker and thicker hair is the best type of hair for laser hair removal treatment. Conversely, a person with thin and light hair may not see any results at all. In general, a person with white, blonde, or yellow hair is not a good candidate for treatment because the laser works by responding to pigment. In these hair colors, there is not enough pigment to get the desired reaction. Similarly, dark hair that is thin may not be capable of getting heated up enough to be burned by laser hair removal treatments.

Skin Color

Skin color can also have an effect of the success of laser hair removal. When the procedure was first invented, it was impossible to perform a treatment on a person with dark hair because the laser was unable to differentiate between the pigment in the skin and the pigment in the hair. Now, newer laser models have made it possible to perform laser hair removal on all skin types. If you visit a doctor who says he is unable to complete the treatment because of your skin color, take the time to seek a second opinion and find a doctor with more up-to-date equipment.

If you enjoy tanning, you should also avoid laser hair removal treatments. This is because the risk of complications is increased if you are tanned at the time of treatment or if you are tanning around the time you are receiving treatment. For the best results and to minimize potential complications, you should refrain from being exposed to the sun or tanning beds for two weeks before treatment and for two weeks after treatment.


Laser hair removal does cause pain. The level of pain tolerance varies from person to person, but your doctor should be able to apply a numbing anesthetic cream to sensitive areas to help make the treatment more comfortable. In addition, treatments are quick, making the pain short lasting. A lip or chin takes about one minute, while the underarms require about five minutes and the bikini line takes about ten minutes to complete. In addition, you can return to normal activity right after the treatment is complete.

Skin Problems

Hair removal lasers are FDA approved and have come a long way in safety since they were first invented. Still, there is always the chance of developing complications from the treatment. Some potential complications include prolonged irritation, blistering, burns, hypopigmentation (which is spots of lightened skin), and hyperpigmentation, which is spots of darkened skin). Although rare, these complications do happen. For the most part, they resolve themselves within a few days or within several months. Permanent skin changes are extremely rare, particularly if a well-trained operator performs the treatment.


There is technically nothing wrong with receiving laser hair removal treatments while pregnant. Nonetheless, most reputable laser hair removal treatment centers will not perform the treatment on pregnant women since there may be risks or complications to the unborn child that are unknown.

There are some minor potential risks associated with laser hair removal. If you follow the doctor's directions and if you take the time to locate a qualified laser hair treatment center to perform the procedure, the chances of you having a problem resulting from the treatment is minimal. Yet, the results are outstanding!