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Photosensitizers and laser hair removal

Photosensitizers are chemicals that increase the sensitivity of body tissues, including skin, to light.

Conditional photosensitizers

Classification of ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation ranges.

  • 100 - 280 nm - UVC
  • 280 - 315 nm - UVB
  • 351 - 400 nm - UVA
  • 400 - 740 nm - visible range
  • > 740 nm - infrared

List of photosensitizers - medicines

GroupNamePhototoxic effectPhotoallergyWavelength

Quinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, etc.)


 280-330 nm
Tetracycline (Doxycycline)✔️ 320-425 nm
Sulfonylamides (trimethoprim)✔️ UVB
Dapson ✔️UV
Chlorhexedin ✔️UVA
Vinblastine✔️ UVA
Dakarbazin✔️ UVA
Cardiac medicationsAmiodarone✔️ 335 - 460 nm
Nifedipine✔️ UVA
Diltiazem✔️ UVA, UVB
DiureticsFurosemide✔️ UVA
Hypoglycemic (sugar reducing)Sulfonylurea✔️✔️UVA
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatoryIbuprofen✔️ UVA
Naproxen✔️ 310 - 325 nm
Ketoprofen✔️ UVA
Celecoxib ✔️UVA
RetinoidsIsotretinoin✔️ UVA
Acitretin✔️ UVA
Thioxanthenes✔️ UVA
AntidepressantsTricyclic antidepressants✔️ UVA
Variconazole✔️ UVA
Lipid-lowering (cholesterol lowering)Atrovastatin✔️✔️UVB
SteroidsHydrocortisone ✔️UVA
AntiviralAcyclovir ✔️UVA
medications photosensitizers

Substances that impair tissue regeneration

Substances that impair tissue regeneration are not considered photosensitizers, but they can cause tissue scarring after laser treatments. These substances include systemic retinoids, hormones, cytostatics.

Substances that interfere with blood clotting

Drugs that reduce blood clotting are also not classified as photosensitizers, but they can cause bruising during or after laser treatments. These include:

  • heparin, hirudin
  • dicumarin, warfarin, neodicumarin, pelentan, phenylin, syncumar
  • aspirin, sodium citrate, sodium salicylate

Phytopreparations with photosensitizing action

  1. plants photosensitizers
    • St. John's wort, Hypericum perforatumis the most powerful plant photosensitizer
    • Angelica
    • Ammi dental, Ammi visnaga
    • Aniseed Pimpinella, Pimpinella anisum - Anise seeds
    • Celery Seed, Apium graveolans
  2. Weak plant photosensitizers- cause a photosensitizing effect when taken plentifully:
    • celery, bergamot, carrots, parsnips, parsley
  3. Essential oils, especially citrus fruits, may contain components such as furocoumarins, coumarins and linalol, linalool, which are potential photosensitizers.
    • Angelica root, Angelica archangelica
    • Bergamot peel, Citrus aurantium
    • Bitter orange peel, Citrus sinensis- strong photosensitizer
    • Cumin Seeds, Cuminium cyminum
    • Grapefruit peel, Citrus paradisiis a strong photosensitizer
    • Lemon peel, Citrus limonumis a strong photosensitizer
    • Lime peel, Citrus aurantifoliais a strong photosensitizer
    • Mandarin leaf,Citrus reticulata
    • Ruta leaf, Ruta graveolens

Lasers in cosmetology and medicine

Lasers are widely used in medicine. The main areas of application of lasers in this specialty can be divided into three groups: treatment of vascular lesions, removal of pigmented lesions, and aesthetic treatments such as skin resurfacing, hair removal and tattoo removal. All lasers used in cosmetology, dermatology and aesthetic medicine emit either in the visible spectrum or in the infrared range.

photosensitizers and laser hair removal

Lasers in the visible spectrum (400-740 nm)

  • KTP (green laser), 532 nm
  • dye lasers, 585-595 nm
  • ruby ​​- 694 nm
  • BBL and IPL systems 400-1400 nm

Lasers in the infrared range (755 - 10600 nm)

  • alexandrite laser - 755 nm
  • diode lasers 800-910 nm
  • neodymium lasers Nd: YAG 1064 nm, Nd: YAG 1320 nm
  • Er: YAG Erbium Lasers, 2940nm
  • CO2 lasers, 10600 nm

As you can see, lasers used in cosmetology and dermatology differ from the ultraviolet spectrum, which affects light sensitivity.

The use of intense pulsed light (BBL, IPL) is also safe if a cut-off filter above 400 nm is available.

Lasers in our clinic

Although these wavelengths are much longer wavelengths and carry less energy than ultraviolet, their potential risk during laser treatments should be considered. Tell your doctor if you are taking medication on a regular basis.

  1. Kerstein R, Lister T, Cole R (2014) Laser therapy and photosensitive medication: a review of the evidence. Lasers Med Sci 29 (4): 1449-52

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