What are those bumps after laser treatment?

April 25, 2022
Black and White photo of a pair of feet after laser treatment demonstrating Follicular Edema

Follicular edema, or hair follicle swelling, is a perfectly natural result of every laser hair removal session. In 90% of patients it has gone in 15 minutes. In rare cases it can last for several days and cause itching. In these cases treatment with Aloe Vera or 1% hydrocortisone lotion is advised.

Different people show different reactions to laser hair removal depending on the skin and hair types. One of the reasons is the interaction of the laser beam and the Follicular Edema. Follicular Edema is an inflammation of the hair follicle which could cause the skin to be swollen, itchy, and blemished. It is a temporary reaction and it would last from 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

Hair follicle swelling known as Follicular edema is the natural result of the laser hair removal treatment. In most cases, this reaction lasts not more than 30 minutes. In rare cases, it can last for a few days and cause itching. In these cases, applying Aloe Vera or 1% hydrocortisone lotion on the treatment area is advised.

During the laser hair removal treatment, the laser concentrates a large amount of heat on each hair follicle and depending on the skin type and thickness of hair, this energy causes changes to the follicle which can make it swell and red. In this case and also to prevent Follicular Edema, you shouldn’t schedule your laser hair removal appointment before your daily workout. Anything that causes you to heat up or perspire should be avoided for a day or two after your treatment. You should also stay away from hot showers, hot baths, and hot tubs for at least 24 hours after each treatment.

To mitigate the risk of Follicular Edema, patients should take into consideration the following points:

  1. Do not use fake tan, sunbeds, or expose your skin to the sun about three weeks before the treatment
  2. Shave the area completely before the treatment
  3. If the red is bumpy follicular edema feels a bit uncomfortable to you, you can use hydrocortisone cream or treat it with cool compresses to soothe it. Also, you may apply an aloe vera gel
  4. Wash the treatment area with mild soap and cold water
  5. Avoid hot water for at least 24 hours
  6. Apply proper sunscreen cream on the treated area
  7. Do not expose treatment areas to direct sunlight
  8. Avoid any kind of manipulating of the skin in the treatment areas
  9. Avoid saunas and Jacuzzi
  10. Avoid cardio exercise for 48 hours after treatment
  11. You will need to be careful not to shave in a couple of days following the treatment as it is sensitive.

Why Does Follicular Edema Happen?

The goal of a sound laser hair removal treatment is to damage the unwanted hairs’ follicles by transferring enough heat so that they won’t continue to grow hair. However, the heat generated by the laser beam should not be too much that it damages the other parts of the skin or the surrounding areas.

As mentioned here, Follicular Edema is one of the skin reactions to laser treatment. The follicular edema in the shape of the hundreds of small bumpy red spots on the skin after laser hair removal treatment. During applying laser beams to the skin and transferring the heat to the follicle, they naturally swell. This reaction is more severe in areas where the patients have ticker hairs. Follicular Edema is not a side effect of laser heat removal and it is a natural temporary reaction of the skin to the treatment.

Is Follicular Edema A Side Effect Of The Laser Hair Removal Treatment?

The follicular edema in the shape of the skin red spots is not a side effect of the treatment and in fact, we consider it as a sign of successful laser hair removal!

How Long Does Follicular Edema Last?

It depends on the skin and hair type and the area of the treatment and also proper pre and post-treatment care. Most people find that the redness resolves between about 30 minutes to 24 hours after treatment.

Unsure about which hair removal treatment is good for you?

Take the quiz

Ready to begin your hair removal treatment appointment? BOOK NOW