Laser Hair Removal Burn, Will This Leave a Scar? (Photos)

4 days ago i did laser hair removal on my arms and i got this scabs, i put on antibiotic as soon as i got home but now im really scared is this going to leave scars all over will it heal? i dont know what to expect. i attached a photo as well. thank you for your help.

Doctor Answers (8)

Hyperpigmentation after a laser hair removal procedure will improve with time.

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I read your concern and reviewed your photo. It's not clear from the photos whether the beige squares on your left arm are scabs or actual pigment changes in your skin. The most important recommendation is to keep the affected area out of direct sunlight.

I have seen similar areas of discoloration related to laser burns completely resolve with time. If you're not comfortable with your physician's advice, you may want to consult a reputable dermatologist for evaluation and treatment.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Dr. Joseph


West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 268 reviews

Burns after laser hair removal

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The dark marks on your arms do not look very deep so I do not think they will leave hypopigmentaion or light marks - these can be permanent or very difficult to treat. It is likely that there may be a bit of hyperpigmentation or skin darkening for a while after this treatment but the hyperpigmentation or darkening is very treatable (creams, chemical peels, maybe laser treatment) and will improve with time with no treatment. Keep the area well moisturized with a thick moisturizing cream - even this long after the treatment - that will promote skin healing.

Elizabeth F. Rostan, MD
Charlotte Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Laser hair removal and burns

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From the photos you submitted, it looks like you should heal uneventfully. It may take a while and I would avoid sun exposure. I would also make sure your treating physician is aware of your concerns so that they can advise you as well.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Laser hair removal burns and hyperpigmentation

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Most of the time hyperpigmentation resulting from laser hair removal burns resolves, however if what I am seeing on your photo is correct, it looks like there was some skin texture change.  Some areas look a little depressed.  If that is the case, these marks can take a long time to resolve, and the texture changes may or may not return back to normal.

The most important thing right now is to avoid any sun exposure to the areas of the burns, as that will darken the spots.

Please consult your treating physician regarding this side effect.  If the procedure was not performed by a physician, please consult a board-certified dermatologist with training and experience in laser hair removal for a more definitive treatment.

 

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Laser Hair Removal is Safe when done by a trained aesthetic physician or under their direct supervision

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I agree that the marks from the photo will most likely not leave a scar. They may take months so fully resolve and the most important way to optimize healing is to keep the area protected from sunlight, moisturize and don't pick at any of the scabs.

Doris Day, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Treatment of laser hair removal burns

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My recommendations for treatment of burns in the skin are as follows:
1. Keep the areas clean by washing with a mild soap twice daily.
2. If there is blistering, relieve the pressure and hasten healing time by gently popping all blisters using a sterile needle or pin at the side of the blister. This should be a painless procedure. Do not remove the roof of the blister but allow it to settle down so it is flush with the skin. The blister roof will then form a protective cover.
3. Apply Aquaphor Healing Ointment (available without a prescription) to all involved areas to keep them "greasy". The greasier the area is, the faster it will heal. The drier and scabbier the area gets, the slower it will heal.
4. Permanent scarring is unlikely but you have to guard against post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by constant protection from the sun for these areas such as using protective clothing and sunscreens.
5. Make certain you are under a doctor's care and watch for signs of infection so that oral antibiotics can be started as soon as possible if necessary.

Fortunately most instances of hyperpigmentation are temporary and tend to fade over time. We instruct all our patients to make sure the area has had no sun exposure for one month prior and one month after the laser procedure. Daily use of an effective sunscreen is key, regardless as to whether you are going outdoors. Also, make sure you are not taking any photosensitizing medications or over-the-counter supplements known to cause photosensitivity. You should consider applying prescription-strength 4% hydroquinone cream to the areas of hyperpigmentation to help them fade more quickly.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Burns from hair removal

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Those will likely not scar permanently but you are at risk for hyperpigmentation or less likely hypopigmentation. You should keep the area moist at all times with either aquaphor or Vaseline until the scabs have resolved. Do not pick them of course. You also need to strictly avoid sun exposure even sitting in front of a window or driving a car. Wear long sleeves at all times. Once the scabs have resolved and the skin is pink, continue to avoid sun like the plague and start a sunscreen with at least 7% zinc oxide regularly. I would also recommend a vitamin C serum. At the first sign of any hyperpigmentation (brown spots), have you physician prescribe a bleaching cream with or without retin A. If any hypopigmentation (white spots) develop, treatment with the non ablative Fraxel laser can really help. Having said all that, there is a very good chance that you will have no significant problems. Best to you.

Jacqueline Calkin, MD
Sacramento Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Burns

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From your photo it looks like you have hyperpigmentation ( brown spots ) rather than true breaks in your skin.  Brown spots can last a long time.  There is no way to tell in a given patient exactly how long they will persist.  Please wear loads of sunscreen at all times.   You can start bleaching cream once the skin has returned to its normal texture.  Please return to whomever did your laser hair removal so that he or she can more accurately assess your condition as well.

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.