Proper Laser Hair Removal Burn Treatment?

If you've been burned after a laser hair removal treatment, e.g. laser OD, is there a proper general burn treatment, particularly to maximize healing and minimize scarring & (esp!) hyper/hypopignmentation? Avoid sun exposure to injured area & use sunblock, check. Use neosporin/hydrocortisone/antibiotic ointment, etc.?? Some docs say yes, some say no, some say proceed with caution in case of a developed allergy. Also most OTC burn-specific ointments seem to deal more w/ pain relief than healing.

Doctor Answers 4

Treatment of laser hair removal burns

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Potential risks of laser hair removal include burns even when optimal laser treatment parameters are used. This can lead to temporary or even permanent hypo-pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation. To help prevent this, my recommendations for treatment of burns in the skin are as follows:
1. Keep the areas clean by washing with a mild soap twice daily.
2. If there is blistering, relieve the pressure and hasten healing time by gently popping all blisters using a sterile needle or pin at the side of the blister. This should be a painless procedure. Do not remove the roof of the blister but allow it to settle down so it is flush with the skin. The blister roof will then form a protective cover.
3. Apply Aquaphor Healing Ointment (available without a prescription) to all involved areas to keep them "greasy". The greasier the area is, the faster it will heal. The drier and scabbier the area gets, the slower it will heal.
4. Permanent scarring is unlikely but you have to guard against post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by constant protection from the sun for these areas such as using protective clothing as well as broad spectrum sunscreens.
5. Make certain you are under a doctor's care and watch for signs of infection so that oral antibiotics can be started as soon as possible if necessary.

South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Treatment for Laser Hair Removal Burns

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A risk with laser hair removal is the potential of getting burns. This may happen when the laser being used is set to high. If you happen to notice burns after your appointment contact the doctor who performed the treatment. The steps to treat the burns are:

1. Use a skin healing ointment on the burns.

2. Keep the burns moistened and soothed with aloe vera gel. Apply a generous amount on the burns as needed during the healing process.

3. Treat discomfort with an ice pack. Wrap the ice with a towel and apply in intervals of 10 minutes.

4. Take an over the counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen every four to six hours as needed.

5. Stay out of the sun. You should keep the burned area covered with clothing or wraps when going outside. If sun exposure is unavoidable, make sure you apply sunscreen.

Hardik Soni, MD (not currently practicing)
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

Topical Antibiotic Can Treat Laser Hair Removal Burn

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Burning from laser hair removal is an adverse event – not very common but still can occur, and the most important thing to know is the person who has done the procedure knows about skin, skin and wound care, and will address the problem in such a way as to minimize the clinical outcome. A burn from a laser procedure is usually a superficial process; therefore, the chance for scarring should not be great. A good topical antibiotic may be all that is needed or something similar. A board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon can guide you on the proper treatment course.

Just beware of people not skilled or not trained using these medical devices. Bad things will happen.

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

Laser hair removal burn

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Burns after laser hair removal are rare and are usually not very deep. The usual treatment would be to treat like any other superficial burn with a topical agent such at bacitracin or other antibiotic ointment. Allergies may occur yet are rare and are dealt with by discontinuing the agent . You are correct about the sun avoidance. Thankfully the burns usually heal without scarring but may have some longer term pigment issues.

Jason Pozner, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 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.