Laser hair removal Contraindications

Laser hair removal contraindications are important to be aware of before starting a treatment

Keloids, (coloured or raised scars)

In the majority of cases, the use of lasers on these skin conditions should be avoided.

History of haemorrhaging or excessive bleeding

Lasers use cooling devises and therefore using them on patients with urticaria is not recommended.

Chemical or powder burns

The use of lasers should be avoided in the majority of cases. For trauma and firearm burns, the presence of powder under the skin can react violently when exposed to a laser.


The pigment around the tattoo absorbs the light and releases it as high thermal energy that causes burning. The proximity of the hair to the tattoo is critical. However, at Epilium & Skin we use a specific procedure and are able to treat areas that are relatively close to a tattoo.

Poor blood circulation (heavy legs syndrome)

If a vein becomes hard, yellowish and painful, it is probably a superficial phlebitis. This condition is considered harmless but you should see your GP to discuss it further. These hard veins can lead to complications (severe embolism). Laser hair removal cannot be used in these areas and an alternative procedure will be proposed.

With certain temporary contra-indications, laser hair removal may not be possible.

During pregnancy

The use of lasers during pregnancy is not allowed (although to date no malformation has ever been observed). The taking of pain relief medication is discouraged during pregnancy and breastfeeding and therefore it is not advisable to seek laser treatment during this period. However, there are no such concerns with waxing treatment to remove unwanted hair during pregnancy.

Taking of photo-sensitising drugs

(Antibiotics such as quinolones or cyclines derivatives) and hormonal medications. Patients should wait until completing their course of medication before considering laser hair removal. Remember to report any medication before starting a laser session; treatment can be adapted or delayed to ensure your health and safety.


Recent exposure to the sun or high density ultraviolet light (tanning booths), the use of self-tanning lotions or tanning enhancers (Sun Supplement) means that any laser treatment has to be delayed. Recent tanning can lead to skin burns as it diverts a portion of the laser light energy to the enhanced melanin in the skin.

You are on a specific regime of vitamin A and/or carotene

A diet rich in vitamin A or carotene is contra-indicated for laser hair removal. These supplements cause photosensitivity of the skin and increase the risks and side effects of laser treatments. It is important to stop using dietary supplements at least 2 months before any permanent hair removal treatment, and you must advise your Epilium & Skin consultant accordingly.

Anti-acne treatments

Treatment with a retinoid such as Roaccutane cause changes in the skin’s ability to heal and there is a significant risk of keloid scarring. Treatments with certain anti-acne medication (especially Roaccutane®) are therefore contra-indicated for laser hair removal. Six months should have elapsed since the end of the medication before starting the sessions.

The use of anticoagulants

These drugs can cause side effects when mixed with laser treatment. Using a laser can cause small haemorrhages in skin tissue. It is therefore imperative that you advise your Epilium & Skin team that you are taking anticoagulant medication.


The laser light must bypass moles since there is a risk of degeneration. The presence of some well-defined moles is not a contra-indication for laser hair removal, but the presence of several of them in the area to be treated is a ‘no-go’ for the consultant and your Epilium & Skin team.


Should herpes have been evident on previously laser treated areas, it should have disappeared before further laser treatment. Patients with apparent cold sore symptoms (herpes simplex) must have been prescribed and used a preventative treatment before considering laser hair removal.

An evolving skin infection

In order to avoid any aesthetic risk or causing trauma to the infected area, a laser treatment cannot be considered until complete healing has been achieved.

An ongoing severe allergic reaction

Allergic reactions such as bullous dermatoses, urticaria or recent allergic reactions are a temporary contra-indication because the skin is damaged or needs to regenerate. This recovery would be impeded by a laser treatment.