Would Scar from Laser Hair Removal Heal? (photo)

Hello, I had my first laser hair removal treatment a week ago, and am very concerned about the condition of my skin. The treatment was very painful, and it burned my skin, the place that I went to used IPL. please see the pictures posted and let me know if is going to leave permanent scar. they only told me to stay out of the sun and that's it. also please recommend any post treatment, Ive used aloe vera, and vit e oil, thx

Doctor Answers 3

Laser hair removal, will this scar?

That is a clear, very bad burn. Those are terrible, overtreated burn marks, and not only that, but that's not a good treatment because of the spacing between the bars - those should be overlapping. I'm afraid you could end up either hypopigmented (the bar mark remains but the skin there is much lighter as its missing pigment) or hyperpigmented (the bar mark remains but the skin there is much darker as its overpigmented). Time will tell what it's doing to do, but in the meantime:

I would recommend you 1. keep it moist all of the time with a prescription like Betamethasone ointment (your doctor should give you a prescription like this - call your treating office and get one!). If that's not possible at least keep it moist with Aquaphor. 2. do not scrub or pick at it. 3. keep it out of the sun and do not let it get sunburned. 4. in the long run you may need a prescription of hydroquinone to lighten the bar marks but only if it's hyperpigmented.

I would suggest you not do any more laser procedures at this office. These are severe, bad burns showing very inexperienced technique and settings. Any more treatments and you could potentially end up with long-term and permanent damage. Let's hope these marks go away without that, but expect a VERY long healing time (like months).

Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Side Effects

Hi Mari.  The pictures seem to show some darkening of the skin in the area treated but no charring, blistering or other signs of burns.  This is a good thing as it looks like you will heal from the treatment.  Avoid sun exposure, moisturize well and once the lesions are completely healed consider asking your practitioner about hydroquinone to lighten the darker areas.

This issue is why we do not use IPL.  IPL is a broad spectrum light and is not as specific nor as safe as laser treatments, especially for darker skin types.  If you are Hispanic or Asian consider finding a practitioner that uses the Lumenis Lightsheer or another Diode laser and if you are African American consider finding a practictioner that uses the Yag laser.  

IPL can be fast and cheap, but not always the safest or best option for laser hair removal.  

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Scars and Pigment Change after IPL treatment for hair removal

Dear  Mari, I advise you to consult with the provider who performed the treatment as soon as possible, in order for proper care of these areas to be instituted. Most likely, application of a mid potency steroid cream twice daily for one or two weeks, plus generous moisturizing of the area with an ointment like Aquaphor several times per day is recommended. If there are any 'open' or abraded areas, an antibiotic ointment should be applied. Strict Sun Avoidance is Mandatory, in order to avoid persistent pigment changes. Scars of this type usually resolve and heal well, but it typically takes a long time (years) for all pigment changes to disappear. 

Leyda Elizabeth Bowes, MD
Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 20 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.