What Are the Side Effects of Laser Therapy?

What Are the Side Effects of Laser Therapy?

Known side effects of laser therapy, particularly ablative laser skin resurfacing, include itching, inflammation and redness of the treated skin, infection, dermal discoloration, scarring and ectropion, states Mayo Clinic. Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing can also cause blistering and scarring, minimal inflammation and redness, skin discoloration and infection.

Laser therapy is a modern form of medical treatment that utilizes focused light. This technology enables surgeons to treat conditions in a very precise manner. One popular application of laser therapy is in cosmetics, such as laser skin resurfacing. Although this procedure has been proven to enhance the skin's appearance, certain side effects may develop as a result of this type of treatment, explains WebMD.

Ablative laser resurfacing can worsen pre-existing skin problems, such as contact dermatitis and rosacea. This can lead to irritation and redness of the treated area. Post-operative itching and swelling typically do not persist but the redness of the skin may only disappear after several months. Patients may also develop acne after treatment, which may become aggravated by the application of topical medications.

Bacterial, fungal and viral infections are also known side effects of ablative laser resurfacing. This treatment commonly activates the herpes virus, which can lead to cold sores. Hyper-pigmentation or hypo-pigmentation may also result from laser therapy. These conditions usually self-resolve without further treatment.

Patients may also experience permanent scarring from ablative laser resurfacing, although the risk is minimal. Another infrequent side effect of this procedure is turning of the eyelid, which is medically referred to as "ectropion."