People with dark skin types are sometimes told that they cannot have safe laser hair removal, as standard salon lasers work best on pale skin with dark hair so the laser can easily ‘find’ the melanin, or pigment, in the hair.
Dark skin hair removal poses an increased risk for patients, due to the light absorbing properties of melanin. Melanin colours the hair, but also the skin.
Because the contrast between the colour of the skin and colour of the hair is lesser in dark skinned patients, practitioners must be careful to choose the right wavelength of laser. A portion of the laser energy is intercepted at the surface, so dark skin requires more specific technology and greater expertise to treat safely and effectively.
At Cosmetic Doctor, we have a Cynosure Elite Apogee machine, which allows us to choose between different light wavelengths. On pale skin we can use an Alexandrite laser which has a wavelength of 755mm-but what about darker skin types?
Why is wavelength important in treating darker skin types?
Wavelength choice on a laser determines how far down the laser light will penetrate into the skin.
In patients with fair to medium skin, the skin layers contain melanin mainly in the hair, so the laser ‘finds’ it and targets it effectively.
If you have darker skin, though, you’ll have more melanin pigment in the upper layers of the skin itself, and so using something like an Alexandrite laser might burn your skin, as it would be attracted to the melanin outside of the hairs.
Safe Laser Hair Removal on Darker Skin
For darker skin, Cosmetic Doctor use the ND-YAG 1064mm wavelength, because this will penetrate deeper into the skin, bypassing the layers of skin pigment and addressing only the melanin in the hair we’re targeting, so patients with darker skin can undergo safe laser hair removal.
When it comes to dark skin hair removal, it is critical to work with an experienced professional and the proper laser technology. Dark skin hair removal lasers (the long pulsed “Yag” laser) are especially designed to safely and effectively treat darker skin types by bypassing the surface of the skin, absorbing into the melanin contained within the hair.
Protecting Darker Skin
Cosmetic Doctor also cools the surface of the skin when performing hair removal treatment on dark skinned individuals: this helps to protect healthy skin from being damaged by absorbing the laser’s energy.
To protect dark skinned patients during laser hair removal treatment, we use laser equipment with a longer wavelength of light, the 1064 nanometre long -pulsed Yag lasers. Because melanin is especially effective at absorbing shorter wavelengths (such as UV light), the surface of dark skin is less likely to suffer side effects when treated with lasers that have longer wavelengths.
Call 01 685 3100 to book your appointment, and we’ll find the safest and most effective method of hair removal for you, no matter what your skin type.