Scarring with Laser Hair Removal

Scarring can be a real concern when deciding whether to have laser hair removal. However, when the procedure is carried out by an experienced practitioner, the risk of you getting scarring from laser hair removal is minimal.

Reasons for Scarring

There are many different reasons why scarring can occur. These reasons include:

  • Unsuitable skin type
  • Unsuitable treatment
  • Practitioner’s experience
  • Medications
  • Your skin’s ability to heal

There is a laser hair removal treatment available for most skins, but some skins are just not suitable to undergo treatment. People who suffer from conditions such as keloid formation or hypertrophic scarring are not suitable for laser hair removal treatment.  Laser treatment on such skin can result in serious complications and scarring.

The risk of scarring is minimised when you have a treatment using a laser which is suitable for your own skin and hair type. Different lasers are suitable for different skin types. Choosing the correct laser for your skin is important, but it is especially important that those with darker skin choose an appropriate treatment. When an unsuitable laser is used on the wrong skin type, scarring, burns and pigment changes can be seen afterwards.

Your practitioner’s experience carrying out laser hair removal treatment is vital for  both your own safety and in reducing the possibility of scarring. Lasers can be very dangerous in the hands of someone who is not experienced and does not know what they are doing. You should do your research carefully before choosing a laser clinic and always ask about your practitioner’s experience and knowledge of your procedure at your consultation.

Some medications can make you more susceptible to scarring after laser hair removal treatment. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is the most common drug in this category. It is advised that you stop taking this drug at least 6 months to 1 year before having laser hair removal treatment. Patients who are taking the drug and have laser hair removal treatment are likely to get atypical scarring.

Your skin’s own ability to heal can affect whether you will get any scarring after treatment. The better your skin is at healing reduces your risk of scarring after treatment. 

Scarring should not be confused with temporary pigment changes. This is either lightening or darkening of the skin and many people think this is scarring. This should normally resolve itself within a few weeks after treatment, where as scarring will not. You should ask your practitioner if you have any concerns about changes or scarring after having treatment. 

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