We all know the drill when it comes to hair removal — shaving, waxing, plucking, epilating… the list goes on. It’s a never-ending cycle of hair growth and hair removal that can be time-consuming and, quite frankly, a pain. For many, laser hair removal is the ideal alternative.
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses laser technology to target the roots of unwanted hair. The heat from the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. In other words, it’s a long-term solution to your hair removal woes.
But while laser hair removal treatment is a fantastic option for many people, it’s not suitable for everyone — especially if you have certain skin conditions. With 60% of people in the UK either having a skin condition or previously having a skin condition, the question of whether laser treatment is a safe option is one that many people ask. This guide will dive into how laser hair removal treatment works and its suitability for specific skin conditions.
Jump to what you want to know:
- How does laser hair removal work?
- Skin conditions suitable for laser hair removal
- Skin conditions unsuitable for laser hair removal
- Speak to a laser hair removal expert today
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal is a popular cosmetic treatment that uses laser energy to target and destroy hair follicles. The laser light is converted into heat, which damages the follicle and prevents future hair growth. Laser hair removal can remove unwanted hair from almost any body area, including the face, legs, arms, bikini line, and underarms.
It’s a safe and effective procedure with minimal side effects. Treatment typically requires multiple sessions spaced several weeks apart, and results can vary depending on the individual. However, most people who undergo laser hair removal experience significant hair reduction after treatment is completed.
Discover the benefits of laser hair removal in our complete guide.
Skin Conditions Suitable for Laser Hair Removal
While laser hair removal is safe for most skin conditions, it’s a concern for many of our customers. If you’re considering hair removal treatment and have a skin condition, we’ve put together a list of common skin conditions suitable for laser hair removal.
It’s important to note that this guide gives general advice on skin conditions, hair removal, and suitability. We always recommend speaking to a healthcare professional before starting a treatment course.
Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry, and cracked. It is also known as atopic dermatitis. It can be controlled with medical treatment and by avoiding triggers. Common triggers include dry skin, stress, pollution, and certain foods.
If you have eczema, it’s safe to have laser hair removal treatment on unaffected areas. Your laser specialist will target areas where the skin is healthy and avoid any affected skin. If a large proportion or the entire treatment area is affected, we recommend waiting until the skin returns to normal before having the treatment.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes scale-like patches of skin to form. The patches are usually red and itchy and can sometimes be painful. Psoriasis is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system, and it tends to run in families. There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments that can help to reduce the symptoms.
Like eczema, it’s safe to have laser treatment if you have psoriasis. Your laser specialist will avoid any affected areas and focus on healthy skin. If you are taking medication for psoriasis, you should inform your clinician before the treatment to ensure it’s suitable to carry out the treatment.
Skin tags are small, flesh-coloured growths that protrude from the skin’s surface. They are usually not cancerous and do not cause any pain or discomfort. However, they can be unsightly, and some people may choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons.
If you have a skin tag or skin tags, it’s safe to undergo laser treatment. Your clinician will treat the areas around the skin tag to avoid any irritation.
Moles are growths on the skin that can be flat or raised, smooth or hairy, and range in colour from pink to black. They are usually benign, meaning they’re not cancerous. Moles can develop anywhere on the skin but most commonly appear on sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, chest, and back. Moles are generally not a cause for concern but should be checked by a doctor if they change in size, shape, or colour; bleed or ooze, itch, or become irritated.
Like skin tags, it’s safe to have laser treatment if you have moles in the treatment area. Your clinician will avoid any moles during the treatment and may choose to cover them with a small plaster to eliminate any risk.
Freckles are small, dark brown spots that commonly appear on the face, chest, and arms. They are caused by exposure to the sun and are more common in people with fair skin.
It’s perfectly safe to have laser hair treatment if you have freckles. Your clinician will avoid treating any darker freckles during the procedure. You may notice that mottled freckles appear darker after the treatment, but after a week or two, they will lighten.
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that can occur anywhere in the body but are most common in the legs. They are often painful and can have several adverse effects on your health. Varicose veins are caused by damaged valves, causing blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein, which can cause the vein to become enlarged and twisted.
Lasering over varicose veins should be avoided completely, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have laser hair removal treatment. During the procedure, your clinician will avoid varicose veins and treat all other areas.
Bruises, Cuts and Abrasions
Bruises, cuts and abrasions are all types of injuries that can occur when the skin is broken. If you have any broken skin or bruises during your treatment, your laser specialist will avoid those areas. As hair removal requires multiple sessions separated by several weeks, avoiding those areas shouldn’t affect the overall results of the treatment.
Skin Conditions Unsuitable for Laser Hair Removal
Unfortunately, laser treatments are not suitable for all skin conditions. Below we’ve outlined some of the most common skin conditions for which we do not recommend laser hair removal.
Vitiligo is a condition that results in the loss of skin colour in blotches. The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an autoimmune disorder. In people with vitiligo, the body’s immune system attacks the melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment. As a result, the affected areas of skin lose their colour.
While some minor cases of vitiligo may be treated with laser hair removal techniques, it is always advisable to speak to a dermatologist before having the treatment. We would not recommend laser hair removal for more severe cases of vitiligo.
Herpes and Cold Sores
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common virus that infects people of all ages. It is most commonly known for causing cold sores but can also cause other serious health problems. There are two types of HSV: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is the most common type and usually causes cold sores. HSV-2 is less common and usually causes genital herpes. Both types of HSV are contagious and can be spread through direct contact with infected skin or body fluids.
If you have an active outbreak of herpes, either on your face or in your genital area, it’s essential to reschedule your laser hair removal treatment. This is because the infection is present within your body, and the laser treatment could cause the infection to spread. The best way to prevent this is to wait until the outbreak has healed before scheduling a laser hair removal treatment.
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK. There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. The two types are named for the different kinds of skin cells that become cancerous. Skin cells are constantly growing and dividing to make new skin cells. When something goes wrong with this process, it can lead to skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds.
Due to the severity of skin cancer, laser hair removal is not recommended. If you develop skin cancer or any other cancer during your treatment course, we advise you to inform your clinician and pause treatments. At Body Lipo Lincoln, we recommend waiting at least two years from remission before continuing any treatment.
Hepatitis is a severe liver disease caused by several different viruses. The most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis A is usually spread through contaminated food or water, while Hepatitis B and C are typically transmitted through contact with infected blood. Symptoms of hepatitis include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and jaundice.
Alongside the above symptoms, hepatitis can also cause discolouration, swelling, hives, and itching. If you display any of these symptoms, it’s not advisable to undergo laser treatment as the procedure could cause further irritation and discomfort.
Acne is a skin condition when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It commonly appears on the face, chest, back, and shoulders. Acne can be divided into two types: non-inflammatory and inflammatory. Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads. Inflammatory acne includes pimples, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. Acne is most common in teenagers, but it can also affect adults.
If your treatment area has inflamed pustules, we would not recommend laser treatment. The heat from the laser can make acne worse, so it’s best to wait until the area clears up before undergoing laser hair removal — even then, it’s best to wait six months to a year before booking the treatment — especially if you are on acne medication.
Skin infections are widespread, and most of us will experience at least one at some point in our lives. The good news is that most skin infections are relatively minor and can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medication. However, a few types of skin infections require more aggressive treatment. Here are some of the most common skin infections:
- Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that is most common in children. It typically causes a red rash with blisters or sores and is often itchy. Impetigo can be treated with antibiotics.
- Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that affects the deeper layers of the skin. It often causes redness, swelling, and warmth and can be very painful. Cellulitis usually requires antibiotics to clear up.
Like acne and herpes, it’s best to wait until any skin infections have cleared up before undergoing any laser removal treatment. Infections often cause skin irritation, so it’s best to avoid causing any further aggravation with laser treatment.
Once the skin infection is fully healed, it’s advisable to speak to a specialist and carry out a patch test before completing an entire treatment course.
Speak to a Laser Hair Removal Expert Today
Are you considering laser hair removal but have concerns about your skin condition? At Body Lipo Lincoln, we have a team of expert clinicians who can help determine if laser hair removal is right for you.
Before we start any treatment, we offer a consultation service so that you can learn more about the procedure and ask any questions you may have.
To book your consultation and patch test, call us on 01522 523777 during office hours or click the link below: