Laser Hair Removal May Damage More Than Hair Follicles

As if hair removal weren't painful enough, new reports are surfacing regarding the safety of laser hair removal because of the plumes of toxins it releases into the air. Apparently the burning up of hair follicles isn't totally safe for the lungs.

According to, many doctors' offices and spas that offer laser hair removal employ smoke evacuators to suck up the "foul-smelling black smoke" that results from the treatment. Turns out, that smoke contains about 300 various chemicals, including benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and diethyl phthalate — all of which are harmful to humans. And not every office has an evacuator.

There's less to worry about if you're going in for one of the hair removal procedures; a greater risk exists for the practitioners who perform laser hair removal and are consistently exposed to the plumes of toxins, even while wearing laser masks (regular surgical masks won't cut it).

Dr. Gary S. Chuang of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery will publish the findings of his studies in the near future. He notes that while cancers haven't been linked to this yet, one of his colleagues noticed his asthma flared up around laser procedures.

So what's being done in offices now while we wait for the results of the recent studies to pour in? For one, better filtration masks should become available, even as a precautionary measure for those performing the service. Although the consumer isn't at the greatest risk for the issues since only exposed to these chemicals for a short amount of time, those wishing to be hair-free may be smart to ask for a mask as well, just in case. Also, look for an office that employs a smoke evacuator to decrease your exposure. Oftentimes, this will be at a board-certified physician's office, which may cost more money than the procedure would at a spa. I think it's worth it.

Now we wait for the studies to come out.

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