In the past, laser hair removal didn’t work well – and involved potentially serious side effects – for women of color. Fortunately, new developments in laser technology makes laser hair removal an option for women of color, but it’s essential they find practitioners with the right equipment and experience level.
Laser hair removal continues to work most effectively when there is a big contrast between the skin and hair color. It works best on those with light skin and dark hair. White women with red, blond or gray hair aren’t candidates for laser hair removal because of the lack of contrast between their skin and hair shades. Newer lasers work better with darker skin and darker hair, but a woman of color can’t just walk into a salon and assume they use state-of-the-art technology. A woman with more melanin in her skin is more likely to receive burns if a technician uses an inappropriate laser.
For women of color, the best lasers are those using Nd:YAG wavelength. These lasers won’t damage the skin. There are other lasers suitable for safely treating women of color, but do your research and ask questions. That includes taking down the name of the lasers used and looking up their suitability online. Also find out what percentage of a salon’s clients are darker-skinned people. Even if a salon has the right type of laser, you want to make sure a technician isn’t learning the specificities of removing hair on a dark-skinned person by using you as a teaching tool. For best results, have a patch test done before committing your legs, underarms or other larger areas to laser hair removal. This is good advice no matter the color of your skin. However, for dark-skinned clients, the difference between the right level of laser and burning is quite narrow.
Dark-skinned women should never use Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) lasers. It’s hard for technicians to control the exact amount of energy in an IPL laser, making the possibility of burning much higher.
Before starting laser treatment, women should avoid waxing or tweezing hairs in the affected area at least several weeks beforehand. Afterward, don’t put any harsh chemicals on the skin for at least 24 hours, and use plenty of sunscreen.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about laser hair removal, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!