Contraindications for Laser Hair Removal?

Are there any contraindications for laser hair removal? I am taking tetracycline.

Doctor Answers 5

Things that can prevent you from getting laser hair removal

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Below is a list of issues that may prevent you from getting a laser hair removal treatment at our facility. The list is not meant to be exhaustive but is a good starting point for issues that are contrainidcated for laser hair removal.

  • Photosensitizing Medications (evaluated with medical history)
  • Unshaven Hair
  • Fake tanning products
  • Tattoos or Permanent Makeup in the area
  • Plucking/waxing 2 weeks prior or less
  • Intentional sun exposure 2 weeks prior or less
  • Retin A or hydroquinone 3 days prior or less
  • Intramuscular gold therapy

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Contraindications

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You would want to make sure your physician knows of your entire medical history and all current medications you are taking. Some antibiotics can make you sun sensitive and being that laser contains light, your physician may want you to stop medication a few days or a week prior to your treatment.

Bruce E. Katz, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Laser Hair Removal contraindications and adverse reactions

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Laser hair removal works by a process known as selective photothermolysis, wherein laser light is used to heat up and destroy follicles selectively on the skin. Laser light is essentially one wavelength of the light spectrum and can thus be absorbed by the hair follicles but also the skin. Thus, your treating physician must assess your skin type to determine the settings for laser hair removal and should also be made aware of medications, including certain antibiotics and drugs, that can make your skin sensitive to sunlight and laser light.

This is one specific reason why laser hair removal should be performed under the direct supervision of a physician. This will minimize potentially harmful complications.

Some antibiotics can make the skin very sensitive.

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Any changes in the medical history can affect the procedure. You should inform the technician performing the treatment of any new medication, or conditions before each treatment.

Antibiotics can make your skin photo sensitive, and you may not be able to tolerate the pain and discomfort during the treatment. Tetracycline and Retin-A should be stopped for several weeks before any laser hair removal procedure and Accutane should be stopped for 12 month.

Laser Hair Removal contraindications

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Light-colored hair typically doesn’t respond well to laser hair removal. It should not be done if you have a suntan as that may increase the risk of blistering and pigment change. Very dark-skinned individuals need to have a laser with a longer wavelength than the one more commonly used. The longer wavelength is needed so as not to have the laser energy preferentially absorbed by the top layer of skin as would occur with the shorter wavelength laser. The longer wavelength penetrates deeper and will target the hair follicle decreasing the risk of changing the pigment on the surface.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 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.