Contraindications for Laser Hair Removal

For most people laser hair removal treatment is generally safe and effective but contraindications also need to be considered when deciding upon laser hair removal treatment; some conditions may be made significantly worse and action may need to be taken prior to the start of treatment course.  Your treatment practitioner should be made aware of your medical history and any medications you are currently taking before any treatment takes place. They should take this into account and use their own experience and judgment to make the process as safe as possible for you. Also to be on the safe side you should contact your GP to discuss if any of your medications or medical conditions will be worsened by or complicate laser hair removal treatment.  

You must tell your practitioner of any recent hair removal such as waxing. This is important because in order to achieve good hair removal results it is essential to have hair follicles. Any recent waxing and plucking of hair can remove the hair follicles and this will prevent you from getting good results from any laser hair removal treatments.


Hirsutism (the medical term for excessive body hair) can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Such conditions are generally hormone related, e.g. polycystic ovarian syndrome. The first port of call if you have excessive body hair should be to your GP, to discuss the problem and rule out any underlying health problems, which could be causing the problem.

Medical Conditions which are Contraindicative

Some medical conditions must be considered with caution.

  • Laser hair removal treatment can cause problems for those with active or chronic herpes simplex viral infections. Your practitioner must know before treatment if you suffer from such an infection. You can be given antiviral medication several days before starting treatment and this will normally continue for up to 1 week. Antiviral medication is particularly important if you suffer from viral lesions on the area you want to have treated.
  • Care should also be taken if you suffer from hypertrophic scarring or keliod formation. You practitioner should use their own judgement and advise you as you may have problems with skin healing if the skin is damaged during laser treatment.
  • Other conditions which should be approached with caution include psoriasis, bleeding disorders, vitiligo and severe histamine reactions.
  • Laser hair removal treatment should not be carried out on skin which is sunburnt, or had surgeries such as laser resurfacing and chemical peels.  

Medication which is Contraindicative

Certain types of medication can affect laser hair removal treatment and any healing periods afterwards.

  • If you are currently taking isotretinoin (or Accutane as it is commercially known), you should stop taking this 6 months before undergoing laser hair removal treatment. This drug can cause skin sensitivity and this is not beneficial in laser hair removal treatment.
  • Photosensitising drugs that are activated by ultraviolet A light wavelengths may also contraindicate some laser hair removal treatments. If you are taking such medication it is safer to use laser treatments, which work within the visible and infrared parts of the light spectrum.
  • There are a multitude of common drugs, which can also interfere with treatment. Steroids, antibiotics such as tetracyclines and analgesics like ibuprofen are just some such drugs. 


Laser hair removal treatments can alter the appearance of tattoos. If you have a tattoo on the area you want to have treated you should consider your decision carefully. The laser can cause changes in the pigments of the ink used in tattoos and this will change the way it looks. The pigments can be lightened or darkened by the laser. Not all pigments will react with the laser though; so changes may not occur, but there is a risk.

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