Outsmarting the Risks Involved in Laser Hair Removal
How to Conquer the Risks of Laser Hair Removal
You’re a smart consumer. And smart consumers always do a little research before buying anything. But sometimes in your research, you can read something with a negative take on the product you’re interested in.
This can cause doubt and confusion, especially if you’re reading criticism of a certain technology as it was in its infancy. Outdated articles like this often don’t take recent improvements into consideration. And sometimes, these innovations can make a world of difference.
It can also muddy the waters when you find information describing the risks of a high-powered professional-grade device, but you’re thinking about buying the much safer at-home version.
For example, if you search for potential risks of at-home laser hair removal, you’re likely to find outdated information about the powerful lasers only dermatologists have access to. That’s going to give you a distorted view of your options. Especially when you consider that some websites sensationalize their content, eschewing journalistic integrity in favor of more page views.
In reality, there are many FDA-approved laser hair removal devices you can use at home with minimal risk. And if you start with knowing all the potential side effects, and — more importantly — how to beat them, you’re going to have a more rewarding experience overall.
Knowing the risks, according to the pros
If we look at a trust-worthy source — for example, the website for laser hair removal at the Mayo Clinic - we get some straight talk about the real risks of laser hair removal. But one thing to keep in mind is that this information is about their clinic. If you’re considering doing your own laser hair removal treatments in the privacy of your own home, some of these risks are greatly reduced.
Their site mentions three categories of risk:
- the common risks, such as skin irritation and pigment changes
- the rare risks, such as blistering, etc., and
- the risk to your eyes.
Let’s examine each of these risks, in turn, looking at what the pros recommend for their treatments and temper that with what you can expect in an at-home treatment.
According to the doctors of the Mayo Clinic, you may experience temporary discomfort after laser hair removal treatment. Your skin might become irritated, red, and mildly swollen. But usually, these side effects go away without a trace in a matter of hours.
At home, you can likely expect even fewer complications than that.
Most people compare the feeling of professional laser hair removal to an elastic snapping against their skin. But at home, laser hair removal devices use much gentler, lower energy technology to remove your hair. Most users report only a warm, tingling sensation.
Many at-home laser hair removal devices deliver permanent results while using only a fraction of the energy used by professional gear. This focus on user safety greatly reduces the potential of harmful complications arising.
The Flash&Go™ by Silk’n, for example, has a recessed optical lens. This feature prevents the lens from making direct contact with the skin, adding another layer of safety for you.
If you have sensitive skin, most devices have a range of power levels. You can adjust the settings according to your own tolerance. To reduce the potential for irritation, don’t treat the same area of skin more than once per session. If you do experience any discomfort, many find that taking Advil once helps reduce the pain and inflammation almost instantly.
Regarding pigment changes
Another warning on the Mayo Clinic’s site is that laser hair removal could change your skin. It could either lighten it or darken it. These are medical conditions known as hypo- or hyperpigmentation. And they both have to do with how the pigment melanin reacts to high-intensity light.
Hypopigmentation can occur in people with naturally darker skin or who’ve been tanning recently — intentionally or not. When it’s the result of a laser treatment, the skin lightens temporarily in the treatment area. But the effect is only temporary.
Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of the skin. Think of it as the flipside of hypopigmentation.
As we mentioned above, the lower energy used in at-home laser hair removal devices is less likely to cause pigmentation issues. In fact, the Flash&Go Infinity by Silk’n is designed for safe use at its lowest power setting even after exposure to the sun.
If you’re not using a device capable of such delicate precision, try to avoid sun exposure for four weeks before your treatment and two weeks after. This doesn’t mean you have to live in your cellar for months on end. But try to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun — even with good SPF protection — in the weeks before, during, and after your treatment.
Regarding the rare side effects
After their warnings about skin irritation and pigment changes, the Mayo Clinic site warns of two categories of side effects considered rare in clinical laser hair removal. The first affects the skin, the second affects the hair being treated.
The risks to your skin can include blistering, crusting, scarring, and “other changes in skin texture.” Despite how vague and ominous that last one can sound, the main things you have to worry about with an at-home treatment are burns and blisters. And again, this is all because of our old friend melanin.
For these reasons, make sure you follow all the above warnings about avoiding sun exposure.
As for side effects affecting your hair, there are two things that can go wrong with clinical lasers. First, they can turn hair grey rather than remove it. Second, they can set off an extremely rare reaction called paradoxical hypertrichosis. Instead of removing the unwanted hair, they accidentally spark excessive hair growth.
Again, an excess of melanin seems to be a factor in these side effects as well. However, these problems seem to only be associated with high-powered clinical lasers. We don’t know of any data to suggest either of these side effects is likely with at-home laser hair removal.
Regarding the eyes
The last warning from the Mayo Clinic involves your eyes. Specifically, they don’t recommend laser hair removal for eyelids or the eyebrows. Why? Because the lights used in laser hair removal could severely injure your eyes.
Thinking of flashing a laser in your eye? Don’t. it’s a simple rule to live by.
And even though the lights used in at-home devices use lower intensity light, this is still the gold standard. No one should be risking an eye injury in the name of hair removal.
That’s why all Silk’n at-home laser hair removal devices are designed for use below the cheekbones. There’s a built-in safety sensor that prevents the unit from flashing unless the treatment surface makes full contact with the skin.
If you’re serious about permanent laser hair removal involving any hair around the eyes, your best bet is electrolysis administered by a professional.
Be prepared — for anything
Smart consumers are always well aware of the risks involved when they buy a new product. Forearmed with a little bit of knowledge, they can sidestep any potential pitfall and seize every available opportunity with ease.
With an at-home laser hair removal device from Silk’n, the rewards outshine the risks involved tenfold. Just by following some simple safety guidelines, you can avoid most possible complications.
As long as you avoid your eyes and follow our advice about limiting your exposure to the sun, you will be happy with the results, and you’ll be well on your way to smooth skin that’s permanently hair-free. And you’ll be doing it safely.
Silk’n: your ticket to permanent, safe hair removal
The Flash&Go line of at-home laser hair removal devices by Silk’n is engineered with your safety and comfort in mind. With its built-in safety sensors, recessed optical lens, and adjustable power settings, we’ve taken every step possible to ensure your hair removal experience is comfortable and problem-free.