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Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin

It’s very challenging for a practitioner to perform laser hair removal on someone with dark skin. That’s because the melanin pigment, on the surface of your skin or epidermis, absorbs light. So, it can actually steal the laser light from getting beneath the epidermis to the real problem area. However new laser technology decreases the risk of laser hair removal for dark skin.


When the laser hair removal industry first emerged, people with darker skin tones had vastly limited options when it came to laser hair removal. Standard laser hair removal simply wasn’t equipped to treat the melanin in dark skin. However the rapidly improving laser technology is already overcoming this problem, opening up a whole new era in hair removal for dark skin.

Laser Hair Removal for Darker Skin

Today, people of various skin tones and hair pigments have the opportunity to benefit from the latest in laser treatments. However, not every laser clinic uses the same equipment or methodology. There are different types of laser hair removal machines and not all are suitable for dark skin. Shopping around and finding the right clinic for you is important, and this is especially true with darker skinned people. Not all clinics may have the right machine for your skin type.

In order to determine if you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal, you can start by assessing your skin tone and hair color. It’s always a good idea to meet with a laser technician or hair removal specialist, in person, to discuss your options.

Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skinned People is More Challenging

As mentioned the reason laser hair removal for dark skin is more of a challenge is because the melanin pigment, on the surface of your skin or epidermis, absorbs light. The laser doesn’t know that the surface of the skin containing melanin pigment is not a target that we’re trying to destroy. So a doctor has to be very careful in choosing the right lasers and the right energies when treating patients with dark skin. Lighter skin doesn’t absorb the light allowing the laser to get through to the real target, the root of the hair.

In order to have a successful laser hair removal session on darker skin, the practitioner must avoid treating the melanin pigment in the surface of the skin. The way to do that is by cooling the surface of the skin to protect it.

That can be done with contact cooling, something cold that touches the skin such as two sapphire plates with water running between, or by using a chilled plate, or by a spray that is applied to the skin and cools the skin through evaporation. These are all ways we protect the surface of the skin. The lighter the surface of the skin is, the less chance the laser is going to hurt the skin.

Use Lasers with the Longest Wavelength of Light for Dark Skin

Lasers with the longest wavelength of light should be used for the best laser hair removal results on dark skin. Skin with melanin will absorb short wavelengths, so the doctor needs to use a longer wavelength to get through the epidermis. The skin may still absorb the light, but not to the degree of short wavelengths.

The Best Types of Lasers for Dark Skin

The Nd Yag laser hair removal machines is the best option for dark skin. This laser can successfully be used on darker skin types with minimal risks. The Nd Yag emits the longest wavelength of light at 1064 nm.

The other types of popular lasers available are the Alexandrite laser which emits light at 755nm and the diode laser which emits light at 810nm. The ruby laser was one of the first lasers that was ever produced, however it’s not commonly used as much today. Te ruby had the shortest wavelength of all, at 694nm. Intense Pulse Light or IPL hair removal treatment is also a popular method of removing unwanted hair from the body, particularly from the face and eyebrows.

Having someone with different lasers who is highly experienced is a must if you have darker skin.

How Many Laser Treatments are Recommended for Dark Skin?

Even as lasers become more adept and treating dark skin, your total treatment package may still require more sessions than average. Safety precautions can make dark skin laser hair removal treatments a more painstaking and time consuming process.

Most clinics will take the necessary measures to making the treatments for darker skin as safe as possible. The total number of treatments will also depend on what part of the body is involved. Naturally larger surface areas such as chest and back will require more treatments then an underarm or facial area.

Conclusion

Advancements in laser hair removal technology has given people with dark skin the opportunity to take advantage of the best permanent hair removal methods available today. However it’s always a good idea to cover all your bases, ask questions and find the right clinic, laser and doctor before beginning any type of laser hair removal treatments.

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