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What are the side effects of laser hair reduction?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

Any kind of laser creates a controlled wound that revs up the inflammatory system to launch a response - in this case, scavenging the hair follicle. This can leave Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation (white spots that arise on sensitive or darker skin). Any brown spots should be temporary and will fade away, but white spots may be permanent. They can be repigmented with an excimer laser. Occasionally a patient will get paradoxical hypertrichosis, which more hair growth after laser treatment.I've seen people who've had up to thirty sessions and felt that they were actually growing more hair. This may happen when the laser parameters aren't set high enough.

It's important to stop using retinoids or glycolic acids three to five days before any laser (or chemical peel) treatment. They make the epidermis thinner and more vulnerable to irritation and may prevent proper healing. And because inflamed skin after being treated with laser is more prone to sunburn and Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, it's more important than ever to wear sunscreen.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.