Is it safe to have laser treatment if you have vitiligo?
It may be safe to have laser treatment if you have a very mild form of vitiligo. Suitability for this treatment really depends on the severity of your condition. However, if you have a very mild form of this condition you may be able to have treatment. It is not recommended to treat people with a severe condition. Laser is not suitable on paler areas of skin and should be avoided. Some people may also notice hairs in these paler areas have lost their pigment so they aren’t suitable for laser anyway. On the darker sections of skin where hair is dark laser will be successful in reducing these hairs. We would always recommend speaking to your dermatologist first. If they deem it safe laser hair removal may be an option for you. However, this would need to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
To keep your skin safe if you have vitiligo we would recommend
- Avoiding sun exposure – Use a high grade SPF 50+ at all times on your treatment are if it is exposed. Never expose your skin to direct sun without protection.
- Don’t use any harsh products – Avoid harsh scrubs and also try not to aggravate the skin too much.
- Try to avoid trauma to the skin – Patches of vitiligo can spread in some cases as a result of trauma.
Why can severe cases of vitiligo not have laser removal?
People with very severe cases of vitiligo have to be extra careful in the sun. This is due to a large number of sections of their skin without pigment. This skin can develop sunburn quiet quickly and this trauma may cause patches of vitiligo to spread.
When we perform laser hair removal we are using light and heat. This process can be too intense for someone with this condition. When you start a course of treatment the intensity of this heat is low. At the beginning of a course of treatment hairs will be thick and dark. Less energy from the laser will be needed to target these hairs. However, as you progress settings are increased. This is due to hairs becoming lighter and finer and needing more heat to target them. Vitiligo can be made worse as a result of too much heat being applied to the skin.
For mild cases of vitiligo laser hair removal can be an safe option
For mild cases of vitiligo we would ask that you see a dermatologist first. Your skin can be assessed and your own set of circumstances taken into account. It is vital that your skin safety come first. We will never compromise the safety of your skin.
If you are suitable settings on the laser would generally need to be lower to start if you have vitiligo. A patch test is essential and allows us to see how the skin has responded. Throughout the treatment course it is important for any changes in skin colour to be reported. If skin does change and patches increase in size we would advise you to stop treatment.
If you have noticed your patches have become worse due to past trauma ie sunburn or the use of topical products containing chemicals we would not recommend having laser treatment. As laser uses intense beams of light there is a risk that laser may make this condition worse. Without doubt it is vital we make sure it is safe for you to have a laser treatment if you have vitiligo before you start.
If you are unsure please contact us to arrange a no obligation consultation. We can assess your areas and offer honest advice on how best to proceed. We may ask you to also have a chat with your GP or Dermatologist just to confirm that you are suitable to go ahead with treatment.