There are several reasons why people shouldn’t have laser therapy, so at The Angel Laser Clinic in Highbury and Islington we check if any of the following apply to you.
Firstly, anyone hypersensitive to light is not suitable. Several medications can cause this including anti-depressants like Prozac; non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Naproxen (Paracetamol is safe); and many antibiotics.
In addition, people with pellagra, a condition in which there is a lack of vitamin B3 in the diet, are hypersensitive to light. Patients with lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal healthy tissue, can have photosensitivity and therefore should not have laser hair removal. And people suffering from porphyria, an inherited disorder of the pigment metabolism, should not have laser hair removal. People taking steroids also have increased skin sensitivity and are unsuitable.
Patients on gold therapy for arthritis and those taking anti-coagulants are unsuitable for laser therapy. So are women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. They should wait until they have had the baby before starting a course of treatment.
People with keloid scars or healing problems like hypertrophic scars should not have laser hair removal. Likewise people with vitiligo, a condition which causes de-pigmentation of sections of the skin. People who have severe histamine reactions like urticaria are also unsuitable. If the skin has become cracked or injured it is important to wait until healing is complete before having laser therapy. This applies to people with opened skin e.g. after recent surgery or a chemical peel.
People having laser hair removal with the Alexandrite should not have had sun exposure on the treatment area in the preceding four weeks. For those having laser hair removal with the Nd:YAG (darker skin types) the period is seven days. People with a fake tan or who have used a sun bed recently should not have laser hair removal treatment, and anyone with tattoos should not have the treatment on the tattooed area.
The hair root is needed in order to treat the follicle, so anyone who has waxed or plucked the hair in the treatment area should wait a month before having laser hair removal. Unshaven skin should not be treated as the hair on the surface of the skin will absorb the light and could cause thermal injury to the epidermis.
People that have herpes simplex or cold sores can have these reawakened by the laser. They should therefore go on anti-viral medication three days prior to the treatment and remain on it for five days after the treatment.
Anyone applying glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid should stop these medications before having laser hair removal. Those applying hydroquinone and other bleaching creams on the skin should stop a few days before the treatment starts, and anyone taking medications for acne such as Accutane, Isotretinoin, Retin-A should stop the medication six months before laser treatment.