Close to 5 Weeks Healing Time on Laser Hair Removal Burn?

I had my 1st session of Laser Hair removal almost 5 weeks ago, & ONE side of my face is burned and still healing. The laser center claims that the settings were the same on both sides, & that "this" can happen up near the hairline. The burn itself STILL hurts like someone is poking me with a needle if it's touched, & it seemed to go fairly deep - I'm wondering now if I need to worry about damage to the lymph system? I've had headaches ever since this was done.

Doctor Answers 5

Healing Time

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Do not be concerned with the lymphatic system.  From the photos it does appear that you have some type of injury from the laser and this is a potential risk for this type of procedure.  Keep aquaphor on it unless otherwise instructed not to by the physician's office who did the treatment.  Everyone's healing time is different. 

Hilton Head Island Dermatologic Surgeon

Laser hair removal burn

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I doubt there is any concern over the laser penetrating as deeply as to injure the lympathic system.  Laser hair removal depends on the pigment of the follicle to absorb the energy and destroy the follicle. The lymphatic system does not have this pigment.  The skin barrier that was broken is now trying to heal. It is impossible to tell from the photograph if the wound has healed or not.See your doctor to determine if there is anything further such as special dressings that can help expedite healing.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Laser hair adverse effect

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Healing is a process that takes time, you may want a local dermatologist evaluate your wound & give you more tips. I don not believe you have to worry about your lymph system.

H. Eliot Y. Ghatan, MD
New York Dermatologist

Nonhealing laser hair removal burn

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From your photos, it appears that the burn area is turning into a keloid.  That would account for why int's not healing and why it's still symptomatic.  Also if it is still crusting, it needs to be cultured for a bacterial infection.

It is not typical of a laser burn to not heal over 5 months.  Pigmentation from a burn may last many months and sometimes be permanent but the burn itself should have healed by now.

Also, the only reason why one side of the face may react differently from the other is the amount of sun exposure to one vs the other.  For example, since the driver side of the face (left in the US) gets more UV/sun exposure it may be darker and therefore more likely to have side effects from a laser hair removal treatment.  But yours is on the right side.

I recommend a consultation with a board certified dermatologist with training and experience with laser hair removal for a more definite diagnosis and treatment

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Burns Caused by Laser Hair Removal

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Laser hair removal can cause burns on the skin for various reasons. Fortunately they are usually superficial and rarely cause scarring. Hydroquinone cream may help if there is increased pigmentation that persists. Be careful to use a good sunscreen to protect the new skin from developing excess pigmentation. The energy from the laser should not travel deeply enough to reach the lymphatic system underneath the skin. Your headaches are most likely secondary to the local tissue damage and inflammation. An anti inflammatory medication such as Advil would be the best treatment for your headaches. If they persist it would be best to see your family doctor to search for another cause.


Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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