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#63862 - 07/06/09 07:40 PM Second session - WEIRD rash
jess0117 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/04/09
Posts: 5
Hi Everyone! I've lurked here for awhile, but never had a need (or anything worthwhile!) to post until now.

I just had my second laser hair removal treatment. They are using a Candela GentleLASE machine on me. I don't know settings - I'll find out if I need to but I'm not sure if it's relevant for this question. I am getting bikini area and underarms done. My first go round left me with cryogen burns in the bikini area, but underarms were fine. This time, bikini area is fine, but my underarms are a mess.

Treatment was Thursday evening. More painful than I remembered but I chalked it up to my cycle. I felt unusually sensitive/tender all the next day, with slight edema. Saturday morning I notice this rash spreading around the underarm treatment area on my left. Sunday morning, the same thing appeared on my right. It's tender/sore but doesn't itch, and since its appearance, it's stayed pretty much the same. I've done nothing differently that I can tell (haven't even used deoderant at all since the tx), no new clothing, soap, nothing, and the rash is ONLY near my underarms. I spoke with the clinic's doctor over the phone - he said to come by if it's still there next week and he'll give me steriods. I very much got the blow-off from him, likely because I pre-paid for a whole package, and likely because ANYTHING is going to resolve itself in 10 days.

Pictures are here:

http://i896.photobucket.com/albums/ac167/robjess0117/DSCF0256.jpg
http://i896.photobucket.com/albums/ac167/robjess0117/DSCF0257.jpg
http://i896.photobucket.com/albums/ac167/robjess0117/DSCF0258.jpg
http://i896.photobucket.com/albums/ac167/robjess0117/DSCF0259.jpg

I'm really disconcerted! It's not just, "Oh look a little red spot" - the area of this rash is greater than the area treated! I'm worried that I'm having a reaction to *something* from my treatment, but I don't know what. I can't find anything on the interwebs that talks about this. I used NOTHING on this area other than my regular body lotion, NO numbing cream or aloe.

Anyone have any insight? Has this happened to anyone before? I'd really appreciate anyone's feedback.

Thanks so much,
Jessica

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#63871 - 07/06/09 11:48 PM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: jess0117]
LAgirl Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 9994
Loc: New York, NY
It looks from the pictures like the rash is not on the actual treated area, but above it. It could be a histamine reaction. I would try taking an anti-histamine now and before your treatments.

Use witch hazel to help it heal.

Are you on any medications?

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#63906 - 07/07/09 10:26 PM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: LAgirl]
jess0117 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/04/09
Posts: 5
Thanks for the response, LAgirl. You are correct, the rash actually doesn't overlap at all with the treatment area; it is both above and below it. I am generally taking antihistamines daily as we're right in the middle of allergy season. I've been taking the same ones for months (Claritin), and aside from those, I'm only taking a multivitamin, again, something I've been on for months.

What could my body possibly be reacting to, if this is indeed a reaction to the treatments? The light? That just doesn't seem realistic... And why no similar rash on the bikini area? I am sensitive and it wouldn't be my first histamine reaction, but it's the first one that's presented like this, and the timing and location of this occurrence both point to the LHR session as the cause. I know correlation is not causation but it's pretty suspicious. I'm not being contrary, I really am just baffled because no logical explanation really fits.

The rash is splotchier and slightly more purple today; it's starting to look like a bruise. I assume this means it's healing as it looks vaguely better.

I go in on Thursday evening for them to take more pictures. I'll update then, but everyone I've spoken with is just as baffled as I am. I'm primarily concerned that LHR is just not a good thing for my body, but they won't let me out of my contract unless the doctor makes that determination, and I'm getting the distinct impression from him that that's not going to happen. I am a lawyer though, maybe I'll just have to pull out my claws. smile

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#63911 - 07/08/09 12:45 AM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: jess0117]
LAgirl Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 9994
Loc: New York, NY
I hope Choice can chime in with some thoughts. It sounds like you're generally prone to allergies, which makes me think it is likely related to that. You may be allergic to the cryogen that GentleLASE uses to cool the area for example, since it sprays during treatment. Did they apply anything before or after the treatments? Did you?

Some people get a histamine reaction to laser treatments, and an anti-histamine usually helps.

There is no indication in any studies that laser is harmful to the body in any way. It's been around for 10+ years now.

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#63918 - 07/08/09 04:52 AM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: LAgirl]
Choice Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 446
Long before laser hair removal existed, Ms. Sensitive Skin here (& allergies too numerous to list) was diagnosed with solar urticaria. Mostly during the summer, but that could be because I was outside for longer periods of time, sunscreen or not, no rhyme or reason, I would occasionally break out in hives from sun exposure.

Now that I am under the influence of allergy meds 24/7, it happens less often, and has never happened to me due to LHR. I should also mention that in the near future I expect to be diagnosed with lupus, and this type of reaction is a symptom of lupus.

This may explain it better than I can: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1050485-overview

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#63936 - 07/08/09 06:59 PM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: Choice]
jess0117 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/04/09
Posts: 5
Thank you for both your replies.

Both sessions, I have gotten cryogen "burns" - the first time, only in the bikini area, and this second time, only in the underarm area (the cryogen burns are separate and distinct from the rash in question, and hard to see in the pictures, but very noticeable in person). Maybe I am sensitive to that - I'll ask when I go in tomorrow if they can do the treatments without the cryogen. The only thing that was applied before/after the treatment was ice packs, and even those were covered in new plastic ziploc baggies before they touched my skin.

Choice - thank you so much for that info! I was vaguely aware of solar urticaria but didn't know the name and hadn't really considered it. It's definitely plausible, I'll bring it up.

It seems to me that a histamine reaction could also have been the cause of the mild edema (generalized, not perifollicular) and general skin sensitivity I experienced the day after the treatment. It fits. Or, it doesn't not fit. smile The after-effects, while mild, really felt systemic, not just local to the tx areas. To me, this seems like a fairly helpful clue as to what's going on, but we'll see if the people at the clinic agree, or if they look at me like I'm crazy and tell me it's all in my head.

Things have cleared up a lot. It's definitely still there, but over the last 24 hours it turned purpley and now it's a reddish-brown that looks much more like a fading bruise than a rash. Still tender, never been itchy and it's still not, and the skin is entirely intact still.

*still baffled*

Thanks again for the responses. smile
~jess

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#63955 - 07/09/09 06:04 AM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: jess0117]
LAgirl Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 9994
Loc: New York, NY
You can consider getting treatments with another alex laser like Apogee that doesn't use cryogen.

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#63991 - 07/10/09 04:17 PM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: LAgirl]
jess0117 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/04/09
Posts: 5
Well, my answers from the clinic are as follows:

1. Cryogen burns are a relatively routine reaction. I should exfoliate and they'll go away. And it's not an option to do treatments without cryogen because that will burn my skin and leave marks worse than the cryogen burns.

2. Maybe my rash isn't related to the LHR treatments at all.

I don't believe either of those statements, but I don't really see that I have any option other than accepting their response. I'm stuck doing the treatments since I paid for a package and not per session. So, I'll see if the next round does the same thing and get in to my dermatologist immediately if it does, and exfoliate in the meantime. *exasperated*

Thanks again for the responses, it's much appreciated!

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#63992 - 07/10/09 04:28 PM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: jess0117]
dfahey Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 9674
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
So the rash is subsiding. That area wasn't treated, right? So how can it be burned? I would think exfoliating would cause more irritation as opposed to using an OTC aloe cortisone cream. Just my opinion, I'm not prescribing. The laser center trumps me.


Dee
_________________________
Dee Fahey, R.N., C.T.
Licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio for Nursing license and Cosmetic Therapy/Electrolysis license
_____________________
ELECTROLYSIS FAQ'S:

British Institute & Association of Electrolysis

http://www.electrolysis.co.uk/?page_id=16

Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest.

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#63993 - 07/10/09 06:43 PM Re: Second session - WEIRD rash [Re: dfahey]
LAgirl Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 9994
Loc: New York, NY
I agree. Those responses and incorrect and inadequate. You should be able to demand your money back. You shouldn't feel like you're stuck with this clinic if you're potentially allergic to cryogen, and they don't have other lasers that don't use it. That's enough of a legal reason to get out of the contract.

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