Laser Hair Removal Side Effects - Hypopigmentation

Hypopigmentation from laser hair removal refers to the lightening of skin due to the laser beam is partially absorbed into the skin instead of being absorbed into the hair follicle. The light rays can ruin or defect the melanin of the skin and by that harm the ability of the body to manufacture skin tone. The main reason of the Hypopigmentation is connected to the lasers that are set too high and the skin is burned. The study report that up to 10% of people who have laser hair reduction treatment had encountered the Hypopigmentation and more severe in those with darker skin. The lightning of skin tone generally lasts up to two months and may be permanent in some cases. In cases of permanent, the are not too many choices for therapy.

Some patients may try to intentionally tan the area but it may accentuate the difference between the darker tanned color and the white spots. More importantly, you should not purposely expose your skin to the sun as the hypopigmented spots may be severely damaged by the ultraviolet rays and you don't want to increase your risk in your later years of developing skin cancer. Try using "artificial tanning cream" to make the spots less obvious and remember to use your sun block to protect these areas from the sun.

Laser Hair Reduction Risks - Hypopigmentation

There are two major factors to prevent the Hypopigmentation from occurring.

1. Choose An Experienced Practitioner


An experienced practitioner can accurately determine what type of laser and the appropriate laser setting for your skin tone. Recent reports over the past decade have shown decreased the Hypopigmentation with the longer wavelength lasers such as the Diode or Nd:YAG and the risk is higher with IPL than with other lasers.

A skilled laser technician is highly trained in laser operations and laser science. A strong background in the fundamentals of laser physics makes the treatment more predictable. The laser settings require proper wavelength settings, pulse width, and frequency. All of these settings are dependent on the patients skin type. The skin type is determined by the Fitzpatrick Scale. This is based on grading the skin's darkness or lightness based on the patient answering a simple questionnaire. For example a client may be fairly light skinned, likes to sun herself and has a Mediterranean background. This client may be a Fitzpatrick III after review of the rest of the questionnaire. If the laser technician fails to understand that the client with Mediterranean background may be a Type III, the settings of the laser may be wrong. Incorrect choice of wavelength and settings could leave this individual with areas of hypopigmentation. This is more of a mishap rather than a side effect.

2. Follow Strict Sun Avoidance


Try to avoid getting laser treatment on an area that has been tanned and avoid the direct exposure of the sun after you undergo this treatment. Increased melanin in the skin will compete for the laser energy intended for the hair follicle beneath the skin. The hair follicles won't receive enough laser energy to destroy them and it will make the laser less effective. The skin will get enough of lasers to be damaged. It is more susceptible to certain side effects including blistering or discoloration of the skin.
The most important tip to prevent the risk will be to go to laser treatment in the wintertime.

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