laser wart removal side effect

What Are the Side Effects of Laser Wart Removal? An Overview

Updated on June 17, 2023, by Don Mehrabi

Warts, those pesky and unsightly growths that seem to appear out of nowhere, can be a real nuisance. They not only cause discomfort but can also become a source of embarrassment for many individuals. Fortunately, advances in medical technology have introduced various methods for wart removal. Among these, laser wart removal has emerged as a popular choice due to its remarkable efficiency and precision.

However, as with any medical intervention, it’s essential to consider the potential side effects of laser wart removal. While highly effective, laser wart removal is not exempt from possible adverse reactions. Understanding these side effects is crucial for individuals considering this treatment and seeking a comprehensive perspective. 

laser wart removal side effects

Understanding Laser Wart Removal

Laser wart removal is a medical procedure used to eliminate warts through the targeted application of laser energy. The procedure involves directing a high-intensity laser beam at the wart, which heats and destroys the abnormal tissue. 

The laser energy is absorbed by the pigment in the wart absorbs the laser energy, causing it to vaporize or break down. The procedure is typically performed by a dermatologist or a trained medical professional and can be done in an outpatient setting.

Effectiveness of Laser Treatment for Wart Removal

Laser treatment for wart removal has been shown to be highly effective. The precision of laser energy allows for targeted destruction of the wart tissue while minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy skin. 

This makes it particularly useful for treating warts in delicate areas such as the face, hands, and feet. Moreover, lasers can effectively penetrate deeper layers of the skin, removing stubborn or recurring warts that may be resistant to other treatment methods.

Advantages of Laser Therapy Over Other Treatment Options

Laser therapy offers several advantages over other treatment options for wart removal. First, it is a relatively quick procedure, often requiring only a single session, depending on the size and type of wart. Laser treatment offers a time-saving advantage compared to topical treatments or cryotherapy, which may require multiple applications or freezing sessions.

Laser wart removal is also known for its precision, targeting only the wart tissue without causing unnecessary damage to the surrounding healthy skin. This results in minimal scarring and faster healing than surgical excision or other invasive methods.

Moreover, laser therapy is versatile and can be adjusted to treat warts of varying sizes and types. It can effectively eliminate common warts, plantar, flat, and even genital warts, making it a versatile treatment option for patients with different types of warts.

side effect of laser wart removal

What Are the Common Side Effects of Laser Wart Removal?

While laser wart removal is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, like any medical procedure, it may come with a few potential side effects. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and they can vary in severity. Here are some of the common side effects of laser wart removal:

1. Redness and Swelling of the Skin

Following laser wart removal, it is typical for the treated area to exhibit temporary redness and swelling. This occurs as a natural response to the laser energy targeting the wart. The intensity and duration of redness and swelling may vary depending on the individual’s skin type and the size of the treated area. Typically, these side effects subside within a few days or weeks as the skin heals.

2. Slight Bleeding or Bruising

During the laser wart removal procedure, there is a possibility of experiencing minimal bleeding or bruising. This can be attributed to the laser’s effect on the blood vessels surrounding the wart. Bleeding or bruising is usually minor and subsides without requiring any specific treatment. Inform the healthcare professional if excessive bleeding or bruising occurs. 

3. Allergic Reactions to Anesthesia or Other Medications Used During the Procedure

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to anesthesia or other medications used with laser wart removal. These reactions range from mild skin irritation to more severe symptoms such as itching, hives, or difficulty breathing. Inform the healthcare professional of any known allergies or sensitivities to medications before the procedure to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.

4. Numbness or Tingling in the Treated Area

Laser wart removal can occasionally cause temporary numbness or tingling sensations in the treated area. This can result from nerve irritation or damage caused by the laser energy.

Typically, these sensations subside within a few weeks as the nerves heal and regenerate. However, if persistent or worsening numbness or tingling occurs, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

5. Hypopigmentation

Hypopigmentation refers to the lightening of the skin in the treated area. It occurs due to a reduction in melanin production, which gives the skin its color. Laser wart removal can disrupt normal melanin production, resulting in hypopigmented patches. 

6. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin in the treated area. It occurs due to the body’s inflammatory response to the laser treatment. The increased production of melanin can lead to temporary hyperpigmentation.

This side effect is more common in individuals with darker skin tones. Over time, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation tends to fade naturally, but it may take several weeks or months. 

laser wart removal side effect

Ways to Minimize the Side Effects of Laser Wart Removal

While some side effects of laser wart removal are common and generally temporary, there are several steps you can take to minimize their occurrence and promote faster healing. Here are some ways to reduce the side effects associated with laser wart removal:

Follow Post-Treatment Care Instructions

Your healthcare professional will provide specific post-treatment care instructions tailored to your situation. Adhere to these guidelines carefully, as they will help optimize the healing process and reduce the risk of complications.

Protect the Treated Area

Shield the treated area from direct sunlight and harmful UV rays by wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves or a hat, or using sunscreen with a high SPF. Sun exposure can increase the risk of pigmentation changes and prolong the healing process.

Avoid Irritants

Refrain from using harsh or irritating skincare products, such as scrubs or chemical peels, on the treated area until it has fully healed. These products can exacerbate redness, swelling, and irritation.

Apply Cold Compresses

If you experience redness or swelling, applying cold compresses or ice packs wrapped in a cloth can help alleviate these symptoms. The cold temperature can constrict blood vessels, reducing inflammation and discomfort.

Keep the Area Clean

Maintain proper hygiene by gently cleansing the treated area with mild, non-irritating soap and lukewarm water. Avoid using abrasive materials or excessive scrubbing, which can disrupt the healing process.

Moisturize the Skin

Apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to the treated area to keep the skin hydrated and prevent dryness. Moisturizing can help alleviate itching and minimize the risk of scarring.

Avoid Picking or Scratching

Resist the temptation to pick at scabs or scratch the treated area, as this can prolong the healing process and increase the risk of infection or scarring. Let the scabs or crusts fall off naturally.

Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Well-hydrated skin tends to heal faster, so drink plenty of water. Adopting a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress can also improve skin health and healing.

side effects of laser wart removal

When To Seek Medical Attention for Side Effects of Laser Wart Removal

While most side effects of laser wart removal are temporary and resolve on their own, there are certain circumstances where it is advisable to seek medical attention. If you experience any of the following, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional:

  • Excessive bleeding: Seek medical attention if you notice persistent or significant bleeding from the treated area that does not subside with gentle pressure or persists beyond the expected timeframe. Excessive bleeding may indicate a complication and requires professional evaluation and intervention.
  • Severe pain or discomfort: While mild discomfort is common after laser wart removal, a healthcare professional should address severe or worsening pain not alleviated by over-the-counter pain relievers. The pain could be a sign of an underlying issue that needs attention.
  • Signs of infection: If you observe signs of infection such as increased redness, warmth, swelling, pus, or a foul odor from the treated area, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. Infections can occur despite proper post-treatment care, and prompt treatment is necessary to prevent further complications.
  • Allergic reactions: If you experience severe allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing, chest tightness, swelling of the face or throat, or a widespread rash, it is crucial to seek emergency medical assistance. 
  • Persistent or worsening side effects: If any side effects persist or worsen beyond the expected healing period, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. This includes ongoing numbness or tingling, persistent skin discoloration, or any other concerning symptoms that do not improve over time.

Remember, it is always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical guidance if you have any concerns or uncertainties regarding the side effects of laser wart removal. A healthcare professional will provide the appropriate evaluation, advice, and treatment if necessary.

Get Rid of Pesky Warts With the Help of Bhskin Dermatology!

Laser removal is perfect for anyone looking for an efficient, less invasive method to eliminate warts. While it is essential to be aware of the potential side effects associated with the procedure, with the right dermatologist and proper care, the benefits of laser wart removal can outweigh the temporary inconveniences.

Say goodbye to stubborn warts with the help of our expert team of skilled professionals at BHSkin Dermatology. Trust our expertise and advanced techniques to provide effective laser wart removal. Don’t wait any longer. Book your appointment today and reclaim smooth, wart-free skin!


Author: Don Mehrabi

Don Mehrabi, MD, FAAD, is LA’s leading board-certified dermatologist who treats patients, builds the BHSkin clinics, and raises three kids. This blog builds on medical studies combined with Dr. Mehrabi's first-hand experiences from practicing in Encino-Tarzana, Glendale, and online

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