It’s true – laser hair removal does work best on those with lighter skin and darker hair. However it can still benefit others outside of these boundaries. If you have naturally dark hair and dark skin (not including sun tans), you may still be able to be treated for laser hair removal. You may however need additional treatments to achieve satisfactory results. For Fitzpatrick Skin Types V and VI, an appropriate treatment with Alexandrite Laser may be available depending on your expectations.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
To understand why it can be dangerous to treat darker skins, you must first learn how laser hair removal works.
Lasers that are used for Laser Hair Removal are absorbed by melanin (i.e. the pigment/colour found in hair and skin). We use the Candela GentleLase which delivers an alexandrite (755nm) laser beam. This particular laser is attracted to dark pigments in the hair/skin. The aim of laser hair removal is for the laser to target the colour of the hair. Once the hairs are targeted, the laser energy is transformed into heat and destroys the attached follicles. After a series of treatments, the follicles become sterile preventing the development of further hair growth in those follicles.
Why is Laser Less Effective on Dark Skin?
As explained above, laser is attracted and absorbed by the pigment in our hair called melanin. So what’s the problem if you have dark hair and dark skin? Melanin is also found in our skin. The darker your natural hair/skin is, the more melanin your body naturally produces. Unfortunately laser technology is not smart enough to determine which pigment it is targeting. This means that if we use the laser on a high energy, your hair may absorb the laser, but so will your skin. This is what leads to laser burns and/or hyper-pigmentation.
Don’t fret, we can still treat you!
In order to treat darker skin types, we need to lower the energy of the laser that is being delivered. This lowers the risk of damaging the surrounding skin and ensuring that only your hair is absorbing the laser. Unfortunately the lower power means that fewer hair follicles are destroyed per treatment, requiring you to have more treatments. There are other treatment solutions for skin types not well managed by laser treatment. However those other forms may have disadvantages depending on your skin, hair, and personal expectations. Recent studies show that Long Pulse Nd:Yag laser has proven to have much better results for laser hair removal for Skin type V and VI.
Are Consultations Necessary?
Yes, consultations are necessary & required before we can treat you.
At City laser Clinic, our laser therapists are trained, qualified, and experienced to advise you on appropriate treatment methods. We require initial consultations prior to your treatments to discuss your needs & develop a treatment plan to meet these needs. Within the consultation, we will tell you what kind of results you can expect for your natural hair colour and skin type. We will also answer any questions you may have and provide a free test patch if necessary. If we do not think your skin/hair is suitable with our lasers, we will guide you to which device or clinic may suit you better.