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Can Laser Hair Removal Change Skin Pigmentation?

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While reading the potential side effects of laser hair removal, you may have noticed “changes in skin pigmentation” among the list. Can lasers really change the color of your skin? The truth is that yes, in rare cases, laser hair removal can change the color of a person’s skin in the area where the laser was applied. However, the chances of experiencing skin discoloration are very rare when you select a certified and experienced hair removal specialist.

For some patients with dark complexions, laser hair removal may be a riskier prospect than for those with lighter skin tones. Lasers target the melanin in your hair, so when your skin has a higher concentration of melanin (as in darker-complected individuals), it makes it more difficult for the laser to pinpoint the hair follicle, rather than the skin itself. However, there are many skilled specialists who successfully perform laser hair removal on those with dark complexions. The key is that a professional will do a small test in an obscure area on dark-complected individuals to be sure that the skin responds appropriately, and that no pigmentation changes occur. Laser hair removal simply isn’t for every individual, so the most important decision you can make is selecting a successful specialist who will take the proper precautions and tests to ensure that you are, in fact, a candidate.

Skin discoloration can occur even in those with light complexions, if not performed by a qualified professional. You should never trust your skin to someone who is not a professional with appropriate credentials— including yourself. Many at-home laser hair removal systems are not recommended, as you take greater risks with your skin when someone other than a professional performs the procedure.

Making sure that you are comfortable with your physician before deciding on a procedure is very important. This is why it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with a laser hair removal specialist to discuss your options and potential risks of the procedure.

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