Skip to main content
Log in

Incidence of acneform reactions after laser hair removal

Lasers in Medical Science Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Cite this article


There have been several studies published on the side effects of laser hair removal, but none specifically looked at acneform reactions. The aim of this study is to obtain an accurate assessment of the incidence of acneform reactions after laser hair removal in relation to skin type, laser type, site of treatment, polycystic ovarian syndrome history (PCOS), age, and sex of the patient. This is a multi-centre prospective study of patients presenting for laser hair removal. Data were gathered using a questionnaire completed by the staff who performed the treatment. The incidence of acneform reactions was 6%. The following variables showed a statistically significant effect on the percentage of patients with reactions: age, with younger patients more likely to develop lesions; those treated with the Nd:YAG laser type were more likely to develop lesions than those treated with the alexandrite; and the Fitzpatrick skin type V showed the highest incidence of acneform lesions, followed by skin types II and IV. History of PCOS, number of prior treatments, use of aloe vera cooling gel, and the sex of the patient had no apparent effect on the incidence of acneform lesions. Acneform reactions are relatively common after laser hair removal; however, in the majority of cases, the severity of the reaction was mild and lasted for a short duration.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1


  1. Lanigan SW (2003) Incidence of side effects after laser hair removal. J Am Acad Dermatol 49(5):882–886

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bernstein EF (2005) Hair growth induced by diode laser treatment. Dermatol Surg 31(5):584–586, May

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Lapidoth M, Shafirstein G, Ben Amitai D, Hodak E, Warner M, David M (2004) Reticulate erythema following diode laser-assisted hair removal: a new side effect of a common procedure. J Am Acad Dermatol 51(5):774–777, Nov

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Sommer S, Rener C, Burd R, Sheehan-Dare R (1998) Ruby laser treatment for hirsutism: clinical response and patient tolerance. Br J Dermatol 138:1009–1014

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Campos VB, Dierckx CC, Farinelli WA, Lin T-YD, Manuskiatti W, Anderson RR (2000) Ruby laser hair removal: evaluation of long-term efficacy and side effects. Lasers Surg Med 26:177–185

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Nanni CA, Alster TS (1999) Laser-assisted hair removal: side effects of Q-switched Nd:YAG, long-pulsed ruby, and alexandrite lasers. J Am Acad Dermatol 41:165–171

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Greppi I (2001) Diode laser hair removal of the black patient. Lasers Surg Med 28:150–155

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Alster TS, Byran H, Williams CM (2001) Long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser-assisted hair removal in pigmented skin: a clinical and histological evaluation. Arch Dermatol 137:885–889

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We are grateful to all the Lasercare staff who collected the data used in this study, and Dr. C J O’Callaghan, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada for the statistical analysis.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. W. Lanigan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Carter, J.J., Lanigan, S.W. Incidence of acneform reactions after laser hair removal. Lasers Med Sci 21, 82–85 (2006).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: