It didn't work for me - burned me

Just wanted to let everyone know my experience. I’m not sure what kind of laser was used on me and I did have it done overseas. It was a new laser and I was told I was a perfect candidate because I’d stayed out of the sun and had black hair. I was also told it was painless. It was extremely painful and it was not permanent. My legs looked worse than the pictures that are on this site of the woman that was burned. I had thousands of second and third degree burns on my legs that looked like someone had taken a cigarette and literally covered every inch of me with cigarette burns. I couldn’t sit down and it hurt to even have any bit of clothing or air or anything touch my skin. They told me it was supposed to do that and that it was temporary. They also said with just one more treatment it would be permanent. What did I do? I was desperate - just like you all. I was tired of living with the body hair and I thought it would be worth it all if the hair went away forever. For some reason it didn’t burn my face, just made huge looking brown pigments like huge freckles on my face. They also told me this was temporary and it was not. The hair on the face and the legs grew back. The burns took weeks to keep from hurting. It was worse pain than childbirth. It was horrible! I used to have gorgeous legs and although the burns faded - when you look closely you can see the white spots about the size of cigarette burns - little white spots now that they’ve healed have turned into scars. They are all over my leg, but if I get a tan, they fade and are not noticeable to most people on the street. I still notice it. I have less self confidence than ever and I still have to shave everyday. Hope this message helps someone.

I am sorry to hear that this happened to you. As I have said, and will become a broken record on until things change, “Laser is not worth the potential risk, for what the average result yeilds” This is only magnified by comparing that to average results with electrolysis. This is even more disturbing when one considers that legs can be cleared much more easily than a face in electrolysis. We could have done both and had you feeling great and looking fine in no time at all. Thank you for posting.

Most likely, you found a bad company/technician. I feel sorry for what happened to you.

I am very sorry that you had this kind of experience. What kind of laser was it? From the description you gave it could have been a Lightsheer, but I need more information. No one gets rid of hair in two treatments with laser - it takes at least 4 and sometimes 8 or more, depending upon the location, density and thickness, color and type of hair. It seems your technician just didn’t know the proper settings to use, and you suffered for it. It is extremely important that every consumer, for whatever procedure they get, secure as much information as they can - you must always ask a million questions, and if you have any doubts, THEN ASK AGAIN! Whether you are contemplating waxing, electrolysis, laser…whatever. I have seen tremendous damage done by electrolysis, by laser, by something as simple (you would think) as waxing. As I have stated before, all modalities are extremely operator-dependent. Go on as many consultations as you can until you feel comfortable with the method you’ve chosen, and the person performing that procedure. In the meantime, don’t expose your skin to the sun - if you keep it out of the sun, the hypopigmentation will fade with time. It is not worth risking photo-damage and premature aging of the skin (not to mention skin cancer) to even out the color now - in the long run your pigmentation problems will get worse with sun exposure.

I was burned by my technician during a session (we now believe the laser had a problem so it was sent in for repairs, and I havent been burned since)

However, I agrivated the burns by not applying a cold pack during and after treatment. If you’ve ever taken a first aid class, the first thing about burns they tell you is to COOL it down in various ways. Then I sat on the burns, and exfoliated when I got home. Topical anesthetic prevents you from feeling just how bad you’re hurt… so when in doubt be extra careful to yourself.

That said, the burns (even ones that were pretty deep) have healed now (6 months later). They’re barely noticable, and if I get a tan, they’re not at all. The funny/sad thing is that hair still grows there… although I’ve only had 2 sessions.

I’d like to give you some hope by saying skin replaces itself over time, and they should eventually blend enough to forget about them. You should also know there are plenty of people who won’t care about how your legs look!

Thanks for the replies. I believe the type of laser was called Ruby Laser. She talked about it being a ruby light and the company also advertised it as virtually painless and permanent. I do wonder if these types of burns will cause cancer and think if someone were to endure this for 4 or 5 treatments that it would definitely cause health problems. The treatment was also done on me while I was pregnant. I am now hearing from my electrolysis that pregnant people shouldn’t have electrolysis or laser done? Anyway, I wish I could say the hair went away, but it is the same as it was before. The only thing that has been permanent for me was electrolysis which I had done on my upper lip years ago and have never had any problems with since. Electrolysis takes time, but I’ve never had any scarring from it and barely feel it compared to the pain I went through with the laser.

Oh, I also wanted to let you know that I have black hair and light skin so I was told I would be a perfect candidate but the hair still grew back.

It is very important that what ever service one is seeking that one do one’s best to become as educated as possible about that service, and grill everyone in the area on the subject before committing to one service provider.

One can be burned by a waxer who doesn’t provide good service. One can be scarred, pitted, and suffer pigment damage at the hands of a careless electrolysis provider. One can be badly burned by a laser. However, my point has never been that one can not have negative results from electrolysis. My point has only been that electrolysis with a practitioner who is only above the lower quartile (better than only 25% of all electrologists) is still going to be safer, more reliable treatment, with permant results which is better than the situation of treating with a laser practitioner who is rated 76th out of a hundred. The electrolysis will also have the added bonus of not hurting hours after the treatment in 90 out of a hundred cases.

No matter what you are having done, check out the providers, and find out what their verifiable results have been on others entrusted to their care.

The ruby laser is old technology and is more likely to cause burns.

It is not normal to feel pain hours after treatment with laser. At least I have never experienced that.


Pain for hours after treatment is a commonly reported phenom with Laser. Not only have I heard that from many people, it was my own experience as well. I don’t know how much was your luck for your skin, or the quality of your practitioner, or the machine, or some combination of all those things.

I know I needed ice and Aloe for hours!

For me it was about 30 minutes with the Lightsheer at 50 Joules. With the Apogee it was 60 to 90 minutes at 40 Joules. The Apogee did not have as good of a cooling system.

Your skin is probably a lot darker than mine, that would explain the deifference. I tan very easliy and get very dark, but after about 3 months my tan will fade enough for laser treatments.

Also, did the technician apply Aquaphor or similar ointment after treatment. That is very important.


hi texanlisa-- first, I am very sorry to hear about your injury from laser. Second, thank you for sharing your story-- it is more common than you’d think, sadly.

When ruby lasers first came out in 1997, the hype was unreal, and a lot of people were fooled into thinking this was a painless and permanent option that was completely safe and simple. The truth was that there was very limited data when the FDA unleashed this technology on consumers, and a lot of people had to have poor results and burns because of the lack of regulation.

In the ensuing years, it’s become clear that certain lasers and certain hair types are best, and that others should be avoided. I am very sorry that you were a victim of early hype and inexperienced practitioners.

Although it won’t bring back your self-confidence, it’s very brave of you to share your story.

You asked about hair removal during pregnancy. I advise against any method that involves energy or chemical applied to the body during pregnancy and nursing, unless you have permission from your OB/GYN. There is no data indicating that these procedures are safe during pregnancy, so better to be safe than sorry. I expect that any risks are minimal, but it remains an unknown risk.

Thanks, Andrea. Actually, my daughter has some mental problems and I have often wondered if part of it could be from that. You are right - better safe than sorry - even if the laster operator tells you it is safe. It was probably worse since I had mine done overseas where it is cheaper (and there is probably less training as their technology is not as good as the USA’s). What is embarassing is that I actually went back after being burned like that since they convinced me the pain would be worth not having any hair come back. You could smell my skin burning. Now, I just shave my legs and go for electrolysis for other areas.