What Medications Should be Avoided Before Laser Hair Removal?

Due to the potential for serious side effects and complications, laser hair removal should not be performed while taking certain medications. These include Roaccutane and Retin-A for acne, as well as any other photosensitive drugs such as antidepressants and antihistamines. It's important to note that many antihistamines used to reduce allergy symptoms contain photosensitive compounds that can have a negative reaction to laser hair removal treatments. This is especially pertinent during the springtime, when allergies and laser hair removal are both popular.

Some medications that should be avoided before treatments are Benadryl, Claritin, and Periactin. This is not an exhaustive list of all potentially photosensitizing drugs. In addition to acne medications such as sotretinoin (Accutane) and tretinoin (Retin-A), other drugs that should be avoided before laser hair removal include anticancer drugs, antidepressants, antiepileptics, sedatives, muscle relaxants, antihypertensives, antimicrobials, antiparasitic drugs, antipsychotics, cardiovascular drugs, diuretics, NSAIDs, and others such as bergamot oil and St. John's Wort. In the vast majority of cases laser hair removal will not be affected by medication.

Most common medications such as cold and flu medications antibiotics and mood regulators do not cause negative side effects from laser hair removal. More serious drug-induced side effects such as phototoxic and photoallergic reactions don't pose a risk unless you're taking a medication that's considered photosensitive. It is recommended to wait 6 months after stopping treatment with Roaccutane and at least 2 to 4 weeks after leaving Retin-A before starting laser hair removal sessions. Additionally, it is important to avoid the sun before getting laser hair removal done. Laser hair removal is a routine non-invasive procedure that can be done in the doctor's office in little or no time.

Fortunately laser hair removal is only affected by a small number of medications those that are considered “photosensitive”.