Severe Labial Burns Following Laser Hair Removal

On Fri.3/11,I had laser hair removal at the MediSpa at my plastic surgeons office. Treatment given by nurse. Intense pain and swelling during and shortly after treatment. Called ps next day for silvadine cream. Saw nurse at office on sun.for eval. Given hydroquinine cream to use before add'l lasering. Many areas have blistered and peeled. Intense pain and discomfort. I am scared to have add'l laser treatments down there. Will these scars be permanent? This can't be a normal reaction? HELP?!!

Doctor Answers 3

This is not a normal reaction to laser hair removal

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I'm so sorry you had this experience. It is likely that the long laser was used on you. Light skin and dark skin require different lasers. On occasion, some people who might be a good candidate for a laser for light skin (Alexandrite) might have darker skin around the genitals, in which case a long pulsed nd yag laser should be used. Every laser has a target, or a chromophore or target. The target for hair removal lasers is pigmentation, or the root of the hair. However, if a person has dark skin, the correct laser must be used so the laser energy will bypass the surface of the skin and target the root of the hair. 

There should not be "intense pain" associated with laser treatments.  The lasers we use in  our office use a Dynamic Cooling Device to protect the skin form the heat of the laser and to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. 

A physician owned and operated medical spa with multiple lasers that performs lasers all day every day is the safest environment for a laser treatment. Consultations should be complimentary and no pressure and a test spot (generally the underarm) should be available at no charge to be certain you are comfortable with a laser treatment.  

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Wrong Parameters May Have Been Used in Laser Hair Removal Treatment

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From your pictures it appears that the person that performed this knows very little about the skin, about laser hair removal, and about topical skin care after a problem occurs. Again, from the pictures, the areas that have dark spots either had not enough cooling for the skin surface or the wrong parameters used.

Silvadene is a burn cream that some like to use, but a strong corticosteroid is needed here. And then hydroquinone will do nothing for the next set of treatments; the machine settings need to be correct and the correct machines needs to be used. Find a board-certified dermatologist and get the right stuff to avoid more problems and minimize your risk for scarring.

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

Burns from 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. You could have additional treatments at a much lower setting but the memory may be too painful.

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.