Are lasers safe?

Someone wrote in recently that he thought I shouldn't discuss and advocate for lasers, because in his life they had been very destructive because he had complications from a laser treatment. So are lasers safe?

On the pro side, laser treatments have helped millions of people, at this point in time, with a huge range of problems from acne scars, traumatic scars, rosacea and the embarrassment it causes, sun damage, unwanted hair, wrinkles, brown spots and other pigment problems, etc., not to mention all the lasers used in other specialities in medicine. 

It’s also important to remember that an anecdote on a website (we all know which sites are the worst for this) does not give a balanced picture of what a laser may or may not do for you.  Also, many public opinion websites are tainted by competitors and so-called web “reputation management” companies who deliberately try to skew results or sway public opinion in a dishonest way. 

It’s equally important to remember  that lasers can absolutely cause complications, and sometimes the problems they were designed to treat.   They can cause scars, infections, burns, pigment problems and even, in the worst cases, disfigurement that is permanent.  These problems can even occur in very high quality medical offices run by very laser-experienced, board certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons.  This is true with any medical procedure!

This is why I absolutely recommend that lasers be done:

  • Only in a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office;
  • With well-trained and supervised staff;
  • And with experienced, reachable and kind dcotors and staff.

This requires some research and time but the extra effort is well worth it!  Even this does not guarantee a great result.  No honest medical practice can do that, we are all individuals and there is some risk in any procedure.  

I hope this helps,  Dr. I 




Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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