It wasn’t long ago that laser hair removal was not recommended for dark-skinned people. That’s because early lasers could only zero in on dark hairs on contrasting lighter skin. The same issue held for blondes and redheads – there wasn’t enough contrast between the skin and hair for the laser to work effectively. When lasers were used on dark-skinned people, the result was often burning, scarring or permanent hyper-pigmentation. That’s no longer the case with a new generation of lasers. Now, people of all shades can benefit from laser hair removal, and no longer have to deal with constant shaving or waxing.
The laser hair removal process consists of the laser zeroing in on the pigment in the hair follicle. Once the pigment is detected, the laser burns out each hair to the root. It’s not a one-step procedure, as hair grows in different phases. Expect to return for several treatments, spaced four to six weeks apart, to get rid of hair for a long period. Laser hair removal does not eradicate hair permanently, but you’ll need only annual touch-ups to keep unwanted hairs at bay.
The primary difference in the new lasers is longer wavelengths. These wavelengths allow the laser to recognize the distinction between dark hair and skin. The Nd: YAG 1064nm laser is used most often on dark-skinned people, but it is not the sole choice. While the YAG not only boasts longer wavelengths, it also tines the laser pulses and the amount of energy used differently for in darker skin.
People of color should find dermatologists with the most up-to-date lasers and a familiarity with laser hair removal on darker skin. Ask about the percentage of darker skinned clients in their practice – you don’t want to end up as the “guinea pig,” so to speak, for a doctor to learn on. Using a dermatologist experienced in removing hair from dark-skinned individuals means the likelihood of any complications – such as burns – is greatly reduced.
For dark skinned clients, dermatologists should always perform a “test spot” on an out-of-way place before proceeding with full laser treatment. If there’s no hyperpigmentation in the treated spot, the laser hair removal can commence after 48 hours. Yes, that’s inconvenient, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid spotted skin.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair removal, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!