Laser hair removal is increasing in popularity the world over, with many women ditching their waxing appointments for this easier, less painful and more permanent option. When laser hair removal first came onto the scene, the ideal patient had fair skin and dark hair, so that the machine could easily pick up on the colour contrast and target only the pigment in the hair. This meant that at first, patients with dark or black skin were warned that the treatment would not be as effective on them. But with advancements in technology, laser hair removal is now a safe and effective option for all skin types. Here we’ll explain everything you need to know about laser hair removal for dark skin.
Skin Types Explained
Firstly, let’s have a look at your skin type. A common way of determining your skin type is by using the Fitzpatrick scale, which looks at your skin tone’s reaction to UV light. Before new technologies were introduced, skin types 4-6 were at risk of skin damage, or not achieving their desired hair loss. These skin types usually belong to people of Latin, Mediterranean, Indian or African backgrounds.
|The Fitzpatrick Skin-Typing Scale|
|Skin Type||Skin Colour||Reaction to Sun|
|1||Very white or freckled||Always burns/never tans|
|2||White||Usually burns/sometimes tans|
|3||White to olive||Sometimes burns/always tans|
|5||Dark brown||Very rarely burns/moderately pigmented|
Is Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin Safe?
The reason that skin types 1-3 were the best candidates for laser hair removal is because of the contrast between their hair and skin colour. Given that the darker the hair, the more light it will absorb, fair skinned patients could be treated at a higher intensity without any risk that their skin would absorb some of this light. Lasers couldn’t decipher between the pigment in hair and the pigment in skin, so patients with skin types 4-6 were previously susceptible to burns, hyper-pigmentation or other skin damage. However, laser hair removal is now an effective option for all skin types. This is thanks to new technology and therapists that have been trained properly to treat dark and black skin.
What Laser is Best?
Lasers with long wavelengths are best to treat dark skin, as the laser can bypass the darker epidermis and penetrate deeper into the skin where hair follicles reside. This significantly reduces the risk of damage to the epidermis (surface of the skin). At Simply Laser, we use the ND YAG machine, which has been specifically designed to treat dark skin. However, if you’re still concerned that your skin will not react well to laser hair removal, your therapist can conduct a patch test on a small area of your skin to ensure you’re happy with the result.
How Many Treatments are Needed?
While the number of treatments required varies from patient to patient, you may need 6-10 treatments every six weeks for hair on your body, and every four weeks for hair on your face. Facial hair can be hormonal, which is why you may need more frequent treatments on this area.
It’s worth noting though, that laser hair removal can improve or even eliminate many of the skin conditions that dark skinned women face using traditional hair removal methods like shaving, waxing or plucking. Many of our patients have seen a reduction in folliculitis (the skin condition that causes bumps, ingrown hairs, papules and pustules from hair removal) thanks to regular laser hair removal treatments.
Still Have Questions?
If you have any questions or concerns about laser hair removal for dark skin, feel free to get in touch with us. Either Leona or one of our highly trained beauty specialists will be more than happy to give you information specific to your hair and skin type. Simply Laser is committed to providing the latest and very best of laser treatments to its customers, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands with Leona and the team.