Is it Possible to Get Acne from Laser Hair Removal? What to Know

Laser hair removal is known as a long-lasting and cost-effective hair removal option, but it can also benefit the skin. So why is it, then, that some people seem to experience acne after laser hair removal? While it can be a side effect of laser hair removal, acne is usually easy to avoid with proper post-treatment skincare. Still, there are some factors that can increase your risk of dealing with breakouts after a laser session. Let’s take a closer look.

Is it Normal to Break Out After Laser Hair Removal?

While uncommon, acne breakouts are a potential side effect of laser hair removal. One large multi-center study of patients who pursued laser hair removal found that the incidence of acne reactions was just 6%.

This figure might not be high, but it’s still significant in the sense that those who do experience acne can find the experience frustrating. There seems to be a link between laser hair removal acne and other factors, though. For instance, younger laser hair removal patients are more likely to develop acne than others, as are those with Fitzpatrick skin types V, II, and IV.

There is some good news, though: while acne is somewhat common among those who get laser hair removal, in most cases, it’s very mild and goes away on its own within a week or two.

Can laser hair removal help acne?

It might seem paradoxical that laser hair removal can actually help your skin, but for some, it certainly can!

It’s not uncommon to use lasers to reduce acne scars, for instance, or to target hyperpigmentation caused by previous breakouts. Lasers might not directly affect the root causes of acne – excess oil production, slow shedding of dead skin cells, excessive acne-causing bacteria, etc. – but they can target specific skincare concerns.

Combined with a robust skincare routine, laser treatment may help improve the appearance and feel of your complexion.

How to Treat Acne Caused by Laser Hair Removal

If you experience a breakout after a laser hair removal treatment session, don’t panic. Remember that any acne you see will likely go away quickly, so resist the urge to pick and pop!

Instead, treat your skin with care and compassion. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face in the morning and at night. Follow up with an unscented and hydrating moisturizer to soothe the area.

If you’re experiencing swelling, applying a cool compress or some ice (wrapped in a towel) to the area may offer some relief. You can also choose to cover blemishes with pimple patches or bandages to help them stay clean and heal quickly.

As tempting as it may be to go ham on the acne, avoid using strong chemicals during this time. Your skin will likely be extra sensitive because of the recent laser treatment.

Potential Causes of Acne After Laser Hair Removal

Some people are naturally more prone to breaking out, but others might experience acne from laser hair removal due to specific issues.


The heat that lasers produce during the hair removal process can naturally lead to some inflammation, redness, and swelling.

In some cases, heat-related irritation can cause red bumps that closely mimic acne. In others, inflammation can increase the chances that clogged pores swell or make it easier to irritate your skin, both of which may lead to more severe breakouts.

Excess Bacteria

Using hot lasers on the skin can sometimes disrupt its natural bacterial balance, which may lead to an overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria like P. acnes. Likewise, skin sensitivity or irritation may lead you to touch your skin more often and spread bacteria.

Ingrown Hairs

Laser hair removal is a long-lasting treatment, but it’s not permanent. It can take several sessions to fully slow or stop the growth of hairs.

In the meantime, hairs that grow back between sessions may push into the skin rather than outward through follicles distorted by laser treatment. When this happens, ingrown hairs may occur, creating bumps that might resemble acne.

But don’t worry – a professional can help you avoid and treat ingrown hairs before they cause issues.

Only Trust Experienced Providers with Your Skin

So, laser hair removal acne may not be completely avoidable, but it is something that you can limit by consulting only the most experienced professionals for your treatment services.

Count on Laser by Monica for the best laser hair removal in New York City, delivered by experts who know how to adjust their technique for your skin and needs. Minimize the risk of side effects like acne by trusting only the best of the best to work on your skin.

Contact us here at Laser by Monica today to get started!

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