Laser hair removal is fast. Lasers treat an area of skin rather than one follicle at a time (as electrolysis does). It is long-lasting, and may produce some permanent results. Some people find it less painful than electrolysis. Regrowth is often finer and lighter.
Professional laser hair removal is expensive. It requires several treatments (3 to 6 or more). Side effects can include temporary swelling, bumps, crusting, redness, singed hairs that look like tiny black spots and temporary skin discoloration. More serious complications include blistering, permanent skin discolouration, scarring, intense itchiness and hives. There is a lack of evidence about the safety and effectiveness of laser hair removal over the long-term. It is also an unregulated industry in Canada, raising additional safety concerns (i.e. about the training and experience of practitioners). Many people are not good candidates for laser hair removal, based on hair and skin colour, health conditions and medication use.
People with the following conditions should not use laser hair removal: epilepsy, diabetes, cold sores, albinism, nervous disorders, sunburn, open wounds or a history of keloid scarring. Those who are pregnant or who have gray hair should also avoid this method. Do not use this method if you take Accutane, tetracycline or Retin-A. If the area you wish to have treated has a birthmark or mole, have the treatment approved by your health care provider first.
Follow your practitioner’s advice regarding aftercare in order to minimize side effects and complications. This will likely include instructions about avoiding hot baths for 24 to 48 hours, using clean cold packs to soothe the treatment area, applying soothing ointments to keep the area lubricated and avoiding sun exposure, make-up and lotions for a period of time following treatment.