Does Laser Hair Removal Cause Cancer?

Does Laser Hair Removal Cause Cancer?

Having undeniably soft, silky smooth, hair-free skin is a dream. But in order to achieve such a feat, razors, wax strips, and tweezers are needed, which can, unfortunately, leave behind some pretty uncomfortable side effects, such as burns, cuts, and ingrown hairs - ouch! If body hair isn't really your cup of tea, and you're tired of the constant battle against those relentless hairs sprouting from your chin, bikini line, and chest, it might be time to consider a more permanent solution: laser hair removal treatment. 

The first laser ever designed to effectively eradicate unwanted hair was in the 1960s. Since then, laser technology has advanced quite a bit, making this increasingly popular procedure what it is today. But if you don't know too much about lasers you may be worried about the possible health risks. In fact, one common question that many people have about laser hair removal treatment is whether it might be able to cause cancer. 

If you're thinking about taking up this method to kiss those pesky unwanted hairs goodbye, but find yourself asking, "does laser hair removal cause cancer?" then you came to the right place. In this article, we will explore this popular hair removal method and cover all the risks that are associated with it. So grab a cup of coffee and get comfy - let's dive in!

What is Laser Hair Removal? 

In order to understand the potential risks of laser hair removal, it's worth taking a moment to think about the way it works. A laser is simply a beam of light that is focused in one direction. The lasers that are used for hair removal are made up of specific wavelengths of light, from the visible or infrared range. The light is attracted to the natural pigment melanin found in high concentration at the root of each hair follicle. So when the laser is focused on your skin, it gets absorbed by the pigment inside the hair causing it to heat up. The heat then destroys the follicle, which then stunts its ability to produce new hair. 

Laser Treatment and Skin Cancer 

As we mentioned a little earlier, one of the most common concerns for those looking into this popular method of hair removal is whether this type of light could increase the risk for developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is associated with exposure to certain types of light in the UV range. People are exposed to UV in sunlight and some artificial light sources, like tanning beds, for example. It's a high energy wavelength that is beyond the human range of vision. 

In fact, UV light is so powerful that it can damage the genetic material inside of our cells. If the wrong part of the DNA is damaged, it can cause the skin cells to become cancerous. It usually takes many, many years of exposure to sunlight or other types of UV for this to happen, but it does tend to vary from person to person, and some may develop skin cancer sooner than later. The same kind of skin damage is also responsible for many of the early signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. 

So, does laser hair removal cause skin cancer? The answer is NO.  

Although laser hair removal uses light energy to effectively zap away unwanted hair, it does not include any UV light whatsoever. The wavelengths that are used to target hair follicles have a longer wavelength and are less energetic, so there is no risk that they could cause damage to the genetic material deep in your cells.

Laser Hair Removal Risks 

Laser hair removal treatment is very safe when performed by an experienced physician at a reputable clinic. Although there is no evidence that laser treatment can cause cancer, there are a few risks that you should become familiar with before undergoing the procedure.

Redness and irritation. Laser hair removal treatment works by damaging the follicles of the targeted unwanted hairs. This can cause temporary irritation. You may also notice slight redness and even a little bit of swelling in the treated area. Still, these effects are minor and are often the same effects you might notice following other types of hair removal, such as waxing. 

If your irritation does occur, try applying aloe vera to help calm your angry skin and an ice pack to reduce the swelling. 

Pigmentation changes. After your laser treatment, you may notice slightly lighter or darker skin. If you have light skin, you're more likely to have darker spots, but if you have dark skin, you're more likely to have lighter spots. However, just like skin irritation and redness, these changes are temporary and aren't usually a cause for major concern.

Crusting. In rare cases, people may experience a little bit of skin crusting in the affected area. This is typically a minor issue but can definitely be a little inconvenient. Crusting can sometimes lead to scarring or scabbing, so it's important to take care of the treated area following the procedure. Avoid wearing tight clothing that can cause further irritation and use a good moisturizer that is free of any harmful chemicals. 

Eye injury. As we mentioned, laser hair removal involves the use of very powerful lasers. This means that there is a risk of potentially serious eye injury, especially when a laser specialist is working on a person's face. Both the patient and the technician should wear protective eye equipment to help prevent injury while the treatment is carried out. 

Sure, some of these risks may sound a bit scary, but the truth is that they can easily be avoided by getting the treatment done by a professional. Technicians that are inexperienced or underqualified are usually to blame when things like an eye injury or severe skin irritation occur. Be smart and do your due diligence when looking for a laser clinic. Check the clinic's reviews and also check to make sure all of the laser equipment is FDA approved and up to date. 

Recap 

So, does laser treatment cause cancer? The answer is: NO. 

The lasers used for this increasingly popular hair removal method are not UV, so there is no concern for cancer. The procedure is safe and has been used for many decades to treat undesirable hair. In fact, laser hair removal is so safe that there are now options for this popular procedure to be done from the comfort of your very own home. 

At-home laser hair removal devices make it easy for anyone to achieve velvety-smooth, hair-free skin - without the laser clinic. If you decide to go the at-home laser route to combat your unwanted body hair, be sure to purchase from a great company that backs their product with a warranty, like KENZZI

KENZZI offers the world's #1 at-home IPL hair removal device that is designed to deliver jaw-dropping results in as little as three treatments. It has five different power settings to suit your skin tone or skin's sensitivity while still producing results at any level. In addition, The KENZZI IPL Hair Removal Handset has 10+ years of flashes when used as recommended, so you'll be able to be stubble-free for a very long time!  

If you want nothing more than perfectly smooth, flawless skin without a hair in sight, laser hair removal can help. Although it may come with a few minor side effects like redness or swelling, cancer is not one of them!

Sources:

FDA

Healthline

FDA Radiation

GHR


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