Are Large Blisters Common After Laser Therapy?

I had laser therapy for the second time this past month and it was very painful during the procedure. Right away I developed large watery blisters that eventually turned into dark scabs. I have been soaking my legs in a bath for the past two weeks and using neosporin to fight infection.

The blisters broke and opened up. Three very sore areas became red around the lazer sites and inflamed. I called the drs' offcie 2 X and finally went up. The technician that did the lazer therapy took me into a room looked at my legs and said I looked normal. I was in a great deal of pain and did not like the red area around the sores. Finally after another week and not getting better, I called in and said I needed antibiotics becuse I feared I had a raging infection brewing.

I am into the 24th day and still feeling discomfort. I have deep scabs and redness around some areas. I feel I was literally burned during therapy. How can this procedure be run of the mill as I was told? Can you tell me if I am exeriencing a normal reaction or if something went wrong?

Doctor Answers 16

Blisters after laser need treatment

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First of all, throw away the neosporin.  The neomycin in this product causes terrible allergic reactions including blisters and may be making things worse. A few blisters or crusts after laser hair removal does happen from time to time but what you are describing sounds far more worrisome to me. I suggest you go back to see the physician in the office where you were treated.  

Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon

Blisters after Laser Therapy

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I would first comment that it is important to know what laser and for what condition your were treated. With that said, blisters after laser therapy are not a normal, expected or desired result (though mild blistering/crusting may be an expected temporary outcome a few days after some laser tattoo treatments).

The goal of most cosmetic laser therapy is to selectively target the source of your concern, while protecting the surrounding skin and tissues. Blistering is the result of unwanted trauma to the surrounding skin and can be caused by a myriad of factors--- improper laser selection for the condition being treated, too much energy employed, improper skin cooling, poor laser operator technique, laser technical failure, treating tanned or sunburned skin-- the list goes on.

This is why we continually stress the need to be evaluated and treated by a physician trained in a accepted field of aesthetic medicine (such as Dermatology or Plastic Surgery), whom you trust, and who has extensive experience with laser theory, safety, and treatment. The physician should be personally treating or directly supervising (on site) your treatments. Finally, you will find that, in general, more experienced physicians will own (not rent) multiple lasers.

Large blisters and scabs are not normal after laser treatments

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The large blisters and scabs are not normal. typically any topical laser treatment for hair removal, pigment or blood vessel removal or non-ablative rejuvenation treatment produces reddness but no blister. Blisters indicate a burn which cna be caused by too much laser energy or by doing a laser treatment on too dark skin or skin that has a tan. You will heal, but keeping the wounds clean and using a topical antibiotic is important. Insist on seeing the supervisiing doctor who is in charge of the laser center and the technician. you need careful medical evaluation and treatment. The sooner you heal the less the chance of scarring.

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Side effects after lasers

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It is not normal to have blisters after laser treatment.  What treatment did you have and which laser was performed? Did a physician treat you? I am so sorry you had this side effect and blisters tell me too much heat was used.  Please find a board certified dermatologist to have the best results.

Laser Surgery

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The legs heal very slowly.  That is a long time to be healing, though.  If you had a ruby laser, I would expect a week or so of your legs looking bad.  But for most lasers, you should be healed. I would have to know your  laser and therapy for an accurate answer.  I would also not rule out that you are having a reaction to the Neosporin and inflamed from the medication.  I would switch to Aquaphor.  Be sure to talk with your doctor about this first.

Laser complications

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Blisters can be a concern after a laser procedure, especially if they have not healied after a few weeks.  I would suggest contacting the physician involved with this laser treatment and have the physician make recommendations as to management of your healing skin.

Paul Carniol, MD
Summit Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Blisters are not normal after IPL laser treatment

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If blisters appeared immediately after the procedure, most likely it was a burn that caused them.  Blisters are not a normal result of laser treatment.

If you are not getting any responses from the doctor under whose supervision the laser procedure was performed, I recommend you see another dermatologist for an evaluation as soon as possible.  You do need to know what type of laser and what settings were used during the treatment.

Also, if you call the office where the procedure was done, speak to the patient coordinator or office manager and explain the situation, the office should make accommodations to see you right away.

Burns can get infected with bacteria or viruses and may scar worse if the infection is not treated.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Blisters after Laser Hair Removal? No No NO!

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I hope that you are not talking about blisters on your legs following laser hair removal?  If so, please see a board certified plastic surgeon immediately.  There should be NO blisters after laser hair removal, only a slight redness around each hair follicle.  This is NOT normal and you should seek care elsewhere.   Burns on the lower extremity can quickly become very serious, and plastic surgeons are expert in burn care.  Do NOT delay.  

Claudio DeLorenzi, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon

Blistering and scabs after Laser Hair Removal

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If appropriate precaution is taken (e.g. perform test area, icing if chilled tip not availabl) , there should not be any blistering or scabbing after laser hair removal. When blistering or scabbing occurs, you should demand to be evaluated  by the supervising physician, start lubricating the open sores and possibly start oral antibiotics to prevent secondary infection. This is illustrative of the need to ascertain the supervising physician of a laser clinic be a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who is competent to manage post laser complications such as blistering and/or post-treatment pigmentation.

Blisters are common after co2 laser resurfacing

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A CO2 laser creates a second degree burn of the face and creates an open wound or blister. The healing process will lead in selected patients to an aesthetically improved appearance. There are negative consequences as well.

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.