Is laser hair removal safe for sensitive skin?
Good that the discoid eczema of your daughter is under control. In any case, Laser treatment may trigger or aggravate eczema,including discoid eczema. This could be due to the irritation from the laser itself or the scratching of the itch after the treatment. Darker skin may be more prone to irritation as well. Sun exposure or other activities (before or after the laser treatment) that cause dryness or darkening of the skin would certainly increase the risk.
Unfortunately, other options for hair reduction like shaving, IPL, or waxing are not any better, and often cause more problems in both the short and long terms as the effect of these other treatments are not as long lasting, requiring more frequent treatment.
If your daughter really cannot stand having body hair over her leg and arm, you will want to select a laser that is the less irritating to the skin. The are many lasers for hair reduction and they are NOT all the same. I shall not discuss the different lasers here. It is important to discuss your concern with your doctor and come to a common understanding of balancing the result and the risk.
Get a few opinions if you are still not sure. Share it with your daughter regarding the risks and benefits. I am sure both and you could come to a good decision. It is possible to proceed with laser hair reduction for her hair as long as both of you understand the risks and benefits.
Dr Elias Tam
PS: It is more appropriate to term it hair reduction and not hair removal. All the treatments available are actually only reduction of the size of the hair. When it is thin enough, it will appear non-existence to our eye. To actually destroy the hair root completely, it will most certainly cause a scar.
I suggest a cautious approach.
Laser hair removal is very safe in general. However, there is a small risk of triggering an acute flare of eczema. It is good that your daughter has not had any recurrence for 5 years, which means that she is at a lower chance of an eczema flare.
I suggest that you try laser hair removal with a doctor who is confident of managing eczema. In the rare event that it happens, a range of topical steroids creams and oral steroids are required.
Hope that this helps!
Dr Justin Boey