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Q&A

Is the combination of water and medical skin laser dangerous?

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Many physicians apply numbing agent creams/ointments such as Lidocaine+Prilocaine or Benzocaine+Lidocaine+Tetracaine (BLT) preparations topically some 30 minutes before laser hair removal treatments, often with some non absorbing pressure patch on it.

There might be cases when a patient might prefer an injection of these materials instead topical administration.
Topical numbing agents (especially non-water-containing oily ointments) get absorbed by diffusion but injections normally contain watery solutions (as far as I know, at least).

I speculate that because laser is heat and too much water especially with big/round laser beams can cause injected water to "boil", this might be a problem and should therefore be avoided.

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I speculate that because laser is heat and too much water especially with big/round laser beams can cause injected water to "boil"

This argument doesn't make much sense. First, your insides are already substantially water. Injecting a little bit of water-based liquid isn't going to change how much water is under your skin, at least not for very long. Water in your body moves around rather easily, and much of it is even deliberately circulated.

Second, the laser doesn't penetrate far beyond the skin surface. Most of the water, whether recently injected or not, is below where the laser reaches.

Most likely the reason for using topical creams instead of injections is to keep the medications local. That obviously limits unwanted secondary effects, but also allows for less overall medication, which again limits side effects.

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There may be much lower training, certification and insurance requirements for topical vs. hypodermic... (1 comment)

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