What Caused my Red Itchy Bumps/rash on my Legs After my Second Laser Hair Removal Treatment?

I had my second lower leg laser hair removal treatment 3 days ago. The first treatment, no issues. This treatment, I woke up thr next morning with tons of itchy, red bumps all over my lower legs. I have tried to not itch, but they aren't going away! What should I put on them? And how long will they last? Will they scar? Also, at the same time as my second lower leg treatment, I had my first upper leg treatment, but my upper legs have no bumps at all! What can I do to prevent this next time?

Doctor Answers 5

Bumps after laser hair removal

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Sometimes this happens, particularly on the bikini area and the legs. It's almost like a shaving irritation, of sorts. Basically the follicles treated were irritated, which is causing them to be red and itchy. It's not abnormal for this to happen, but I understand it can be annoying. Apply some cool water to the sites, followed by some hydrocortisone (available for a few dollars at any pharmacy). Don't use any scented lotions or perfumes on the area for a few days because that will irritate it even more. Some follicles just respond this way so be prepared that as you do more treatments and the settings are moved higher on the machine, this might happen again. Follow the cool water and hydrocortisone usage and you'll be ok. You can also take an OTC allergy pill too.

Reactions and Treatments After Laser Hair Removal

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Thanks for your question 

Yes, this can happen after laser treatment. Here are some things you can do:

1) Avoid anything abrasive to your legs (no exfoliants)

2) Avoid heavy, scented lotions/creams to your legs

3) Place cool washcloths to soothe your legs

4) As mentioned by another physician, over-the-counter hydrocortisone can be used on your legs to calm the itching down

5) If you do not scratch the bumps or use anything harsh on them, you should not scar



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

Bumps after Laser Hair Removal Treatment Could Be Hair Follicle Irritation

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Every so often, we do see an itchy bumpy rash following laser hair removal. This is usually because of irritation of the hair follicles in the treated area, and this can be easily treated with a mild cortisone preparation. I would let the treating provider know this has happened and make sure they take any necessary precautions before the next visit – cleaning the site well, removing any excess gel if used, etc. Several new laser systems are now available which are super fast and most of the time will not lead to this type of adverse event – so make sure you are going to a reputable person with the latest laser hair removal technology.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Rash After Laser Hair Removal

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Sometimes this can happen due to the increased settings with each treatment. Try not to scratch the area as much as possible to avoid further irritation. You may try taking an antihistamine and applying hydrocortisone a few times a day to relieve redness and itching. It is always best to avoid rubbing/scrubbing the area after a treatment and to avoid sun exposure, hot showers/baths, pools, oceans, jacuzzis, or hot saunas for a few days after your treatment to reduce further irritation of the hair follicles. Use gentle cleansers and moisturizers as well. Sometimes these rashes can result in hyperpigmented spots, but usually these spots resolve over time. If you do not notice an improvement or worsening of your rash, contact the person who performed your treatment so that you may be evaluated.

It will get better next time

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Red, itchy bumps are typically  normal after laser hair removal. Patients with dark and coarse hair usually react more during the first 2-3 treatments. Once the hair becomes less and thinner the reaction should be less as well. To help sooth the skin after the treatment you can use aloe gel or calming creams twice a day. To help with the itchy skin you can exfoliate in a couple of days to remove the burnt hair stuck in the follicles.

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.