Burns and Blisters from Laser Hair Removal on Lower Leg? (photo)

Hi all, I went to a laser hair removal appointment yesterday (2nd treatment for my legs). I am of indian descent and have Type 4 skin. I do not tan and am very diligent about using spf whenever out in the sun as I easily darken (i have never sunburned). The technician didn't test a spot before starting and once we reached towards my knee, I started noticing that my skin was wrinkling under the laser. I have severe burns, went to the ER and was told I had 2nd degree burns. Will this scar badly?

Doctor Answers 3

Burns and blisters from laser hair removal

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I'm so sorry. I will say that I think these are excessive and a good technician should have seen your skin responding this way and stopped the treatment for evaluation and not continued. Basically what you have is hyperpigmentation, burns, and blisters. Sometimes darker pigments when treated will surface (usually because too high of settings were used). Your technician should have been more careful with the settings on the laser and you needed to have much lower settings used. In all actuality, I would not suggest returning to the office you were treated but I would contact them and say how badly you have been burned. While I rarely say that, these burns are incredibly excessive and I don't think the technician was experienced. A hydroquinone cream, which is a prescription cream available from a physician, will definitely help, and you need to use a quality sunscreen and avoid any sunburns. A microdermabrasion will help some too as this will get ride of the more surface spots, though the deeper ones will still be there and need further attention. I suggest you see a dermatologist asap for an evaluation and proper care. These burns could, yes, result in some long-term issues if they are not taken care of quickly and properly. While laser hair removal is great, it needs to be done by trained technicians under the direct supervision of physicians.

Burns After Laser Hair Removal

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Your burns and blisters on your legs are a difficult problem, and I am sorry you have to go through this.  There are different lasers that are used for people with Indian type IV skin.  I'm not sure what type of laser was used on you, but we do not have these problems in our office with the lasers we use.  The most important thing now is to keep these area completely out of the sun by wearing pants not just sunscreen and to treat the burns appropriately.  There is no way to predict how you will heal, but diligent care now is most important.  You also need to return to whomever treated you so that they are aware of your problem.

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Burns after Hair Laser Removal

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Hello, thanks for your question. I am so sorry you had this experience with laser treatment. I too am of Indian descent and have performed the laser hair removal on others of Indian descent without problem. I cannot predict why this happened to you without examining you, but I am glad you went to the emergency room to seek proper care. When operated properly, laser hair removal is a very safe effective means of hair reduction. In our office, only board-certified physicians operate our laser machine.

Shankar Lakshman, MD
Pasadena Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

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.