Laser Hair Removal: Dangerous or Glamorous?

Ginny: Does laser hair removal treatment cause cancer?

Good question, Ginny. As the word Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation it makes sense that one would think it is dangerous.

Ginny: Doesn't radiation cause cancer?

The word radiation does not always mean the radiation that is harmful. According to Webster's Dictionary radiation is the process of emitting radiant energy in the form of waves or particles. This means that any energy such as light, heat, radio, x ray, or nuclear waves or particles could be radiation.


In the case of the Laser's used for hair, vein, and skin therapies radiation refers to light waves that produce non-ionizing radiation. These light waves end up as heat inside the skin causing either hair removal by burning the follicle where the hair grows, vein removal by collapsing the capillaries through heat, or sunspot removal by heating the skin color and gently causing it to slough off. The light energy is only absorbed into the very surface layers of the skin which is not known to cause cellular mutation.

Laser use for aesthetics such as hair, vein and skin treatments has been around for almost 30 years. There have been no links to cancer or any other health problem. The major side effects of Laser therapy is the risk of hyper or hypo pigmentation (lightening or darkening of the treated skin) and burning of the treated tissue. These side effects are minimized if the laser is run by a skilled operator and if the correct laser is being used.

Nd:Yag laser is used for dark pigmented skin and the Alexandrite is used for lighter skin tones when used for hair removal .