Laser Hair Removal Burns: Prevention, Treatment, and More

Laser Hair Removal Burns Prevention, Treatment, and More

In the quest to get smooth and clear skin, people often explore different hair removal procedures and techniques. While some procedures like waxing, shaving, and threading give temporary results, laser hair removal is a permanent solution. 

Even though it’s safe, with rare chances of risks and side-effects, some people complain of laser hair removal burns

Let’s understand what laser hair removal is and why burns can happen.

What is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that uses laser light at a prescribed intensity to damage the hair follicles. Once the hair follicles rupture and get completely damaged, they never grow back again. Usually, laser hair removal technique is used to remove hair from underarms, legs, arms, face, and bikini lines. 

People, especially those with sensitive skin, can experience minor issues like redness and irritation after the treatment. However, laser hair removal burns are very uncommon. Usually, they happen when the procedure is not done appropriately, and the person’s skin is not compatible with the laser radiation. 

How Does The Laser Hair Removal Procedure Work?

Laser hair removal technique targets the melanin content in the hair follicle. The strong light intensity burns the pigment that destroys the hair follicle. As a result, the hair doesn’t grow back. 

Since the procedure targets hair pigment melanin, it doesn’t work for hair that is white, gray, or blonde. It is because they lack melanin and don’t fulfill the desired criteria. At the same time, the procedure is ineffective for red hair as its pigment is other than melanin. 

What Causes Laser Hair Removal Burns?

Usually, it is rare to get burns due to laser hair removal; if you still get them, the possible reasons could be

1. Prolong Laser Contact

Laser hair removal is a complex technique that requires high precision in every step to achieve proper results. According to a study, laser complications may emerge as a result of prolonged laser contact (1). When the skin stays in contact with laser light for long hours without proper cooling, it can cause burns. 

2. Improper Laser Gel

Sometimes, it’s not the prolonged laser exposure that could be blamed for burns but the laser gel. Usually, laser gel works well with laser lights. However, a case cited that women got laser burns due to accumulated debris on the laser applicator device (2).

Sometimes, burns happen when the gel stays wet before the area is treated. 

3. Dark Skin

Dark skin relates to high melanin content. Such people are prone to getting burns because laser light targets the melanin. The skin’s melanin competes with hair’s melanin, increasing the risk of burns. 

Here, it is important to know that fair-skinned people with black hair have low chances of getting laser hair removal burns. It is mainly because the melanin in the surrounding skin is low. 

Where Is The Highest Likelihood Of Burns?

Usually, the areas where the skin is thin are more likely to get burns. These areas include the face, neck, and bikini line. 

At the same time, the legs usually tend to be darker than the face and neck, making them more susceptible to burns. Also, the tanned areas of the skin where the content of melanin pigment is high can get burns. 

Even though burns are not common, getting treatment from an unskilled practitioner increases the chances. Also, the provider needs to adjust the energy settings aptly, in the absence of which burns can occur. 

What Does The Laser Hair Removal Burn Look Like?

When the skin burns due to laser hair removal, the appearance of red, swollen, and blistered skin appears. Usually, it is in the shape of the tip of the laser applicator device. These telltale signs are more prominent in the first few hours and days of getting the treatment. 

If you feel the burns are very discomforting, it is advised to seek medical help to know the degree of burn and take subsequent treatment. 

Some other symptoms of laser hair removal burn include the following-

  • Crusting in the burnt area 
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation 
  • Skin peeling 
  • Skin color change 

How To Treat Burn From Laser Hair Removal?

How to treat burn from laser hair removal

The line of treatment depends upon the degree of burn. It can be classified as

Minor Burns

Usually, minor burns can be resolved using soothing creams or gels such as Vaseline petroleum jelly, aloe vera, etc. They facilitate wound healing and speed up the process.

Moderate Burns

If the severity of the burn is higher, topical antimicrobials and specialized dressings are administered by the dermatologist. 

Severe Burns

Such burns require more intensive treatment and take more time to fade. They sought immediate medical attention and came to be treated with prescription medicines. 

Since burned skin is more prone to further damage, direct sun exposure should be completely avoided. Moreover, if the burn is accompanied by pain, taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen is recommended.  

Besides severity, healing also depends upon the location of the burn. For instance, the skin of the legs takes more time to heal than the neck or face as it is thicker. 

How To Prevent Laser Hair Removal Burns

Laser hair removal burns are uncommon and easy to prevent. Here are some preventive measures that protect you from such uncertainty-

  • Take the treatment from an experienced practitioner 
  • Avoid getting tanned as such skin is more prone to getting burnt
  • Avoid using skin products topically that contain retinol at least one week prior 
  • Perform a test spot to reduce the chances of further complications. 

How Long Does A Laser Burn Take To Heal?

Usually, a laser burn heals within 1 to 2 weeks. However, whether it will take less or more days depends upon a few factors-

Severity Of Burn

If the burn is severe, the healing time will be more. Also, the line of treatment will vary on the basis of burn’s severity. If it’s more, more specific and intensive aftercare measures need to be taken. However, mild burns can be prevented with topical creams.

How The Body Responds

Bodies respond differently to burns. While some bodies recover fast, others may take more time. It usually depends upon the skin type and its roughness.

Burn Area

Some areas of the body will take more time to heal. For instance, if the skin is thin and has burned severely, it will respond a little late to the treatment. 

When To Seek Medical Help?

Get professional help if you get second or third-degree burns or when the burn is accompanied by extreme pain. Once the area is healed, stop taking further medications. 

If you are a dark-skinned person, ensure that your practitioner has experience in handling such cases. You can always check the reviews online to find the best provider for laser hair removal. 


Laser hair removal is a permanent solution to get rid of unwanted hair. However, getting laser hair removal burns is something no one desires. Therefore, choose the right practitioner and ensure your skin is compatible with the treatment procedure. At the same time, taking preventive measures can help reduce the chances of laser hair removal burns. 


  1. Laser Complications – 
  2. An uncommon cause of laser burns: the problem may be the use of gel- 

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