A wide variety of medical lasers are in use for the removal of unwanted hair, but they are not all effective or safe for all types of skin. If you have dark skin and wish to have this procedure done, it is vital that you consult a medical professional and look for someone with the right laser and experience treating people with dark skin.
Why is Dark Skin an Issue for Lasers?
The fact is, laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment in the hair. Years ago that meant that people with dark skin and dark hair or with blonde and gray hair were not ideal candidates for laser hair removal. The lasers weren’t able to differentiate between the level of color of the skin versus the color of the hair.
In the early years of lasers, the ideal candidate was someone with dark hair and light skin. Because these lasers could not differentiate between the pigment in the skin and the pigment in the hair the risk for burns was exceptionally high and a dangerous proposition.
So Should I Avoid Laser Hair Removal if I Have Dark Skin?
Experience and Training Matter
Progress has been made in the field of lasers with regard to hair removal for dark skin. Those with dark skin can now have their hair removed safely, but there are certain things to be aware of before you begin laser hair removal treatments to ensure your safety and success.
You should make sure the treatment is administered by an experienced laser practitioner that is under direct supervision of a doctor.
Many states, like Georgia, now require anyone operating a laser have a laser practitioner license, you will need to check with your state medical board to see if such requirements are in place. Experience is key, do your research so that you can be confident they have treated many different ethnicities without complications.
Having the Right Laser is Very Important
Currently the safest and most effective laser for performing laser hair removal on dark skin is the nd: YAG laser. This laser is a 1064nm wavelength. In a nutshell, the wavelength is long enough to bypass the color found in the skin and only looks for color once under the skin. So it affects the hair and not the skin. A trained medical professional will have the knowledge to adjust the settings of the laser properly to provide you the best results from treatment.
Having a supervising physician is also important in the event you have an adverse reaction or complication you know how will be able to treat you. An experienced laser professional will also have the scruples to tell you honestly if you are not a candidate for laser hair removal. You can find laser hair removal deals practically anywhere, but please use caution and do your research, read reviews.
Because like the old saying goes “sometimes you get what you pay for.”
Are Today’s Lasers Dangerous for My Skin?
Today, long-pulsed lasers such as the YAG 1064 (yttrium aluminum garnet, referring to the crystalline material that focuses the laser at a wavelength of 1064 nanometers) are used to zap hair follicles from a deeper layer under the skin, bypassing the melanin on the surface. That minimizes the chances of surface damage. Safety features on some lasers, such as a tip that cools skin, help to make the procedure more comfortable. Other lasers are being developed to ignore skin-color cells.
You will find that, if you pick the right laser hair removal practitioner, its providers will understand the different needs associated with different skin types, hair types and textures, as well as health issues (for example, Pseudofolliculitis Barbae and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). You’ll also find that these practices often repair the damage done by less-experienced practices.
The fact is, no matter your skin tone, you can have your unwanted hair safely and effectively removed by a laser, as long as you do your research.