Many patients with dark skin often enquire about laser hair removal; they have often been given misinformation about their skin type and the use of lasers. Whilst most of the information they have been given is accurate, often they have been led to believe that there is no options available for hair removal. We have brought you a list of the most popular questions we get asked about laser hair removal and dark skin types.
Why can’t I have laser hair removal in a beauty salon?
Beauty salons are great for most treatments, but when it comes to skin of colour we recommend you attend a laser clinic with a physician supervising treatments. We also recommend that you attend a clinic that has a medical grade laser. It is important to attend a clinic with highly trained staff who are experienced in the use of lasers with dark skinned patients.
Why am I not suitable for traditional laser hair treatment?
Dark skin is dark because it contains more melanin than lighter skinned people, melanin is the name of the pigment or colour of your skin. Traditional lasers penetrate to 755mm into the skin, this is the area in dark skinned patients where the most amount of melanin is located, therefore if a dark skinned patient were to have this treatment, the laser ( which loves dark colours) would be attracted to the abundance of melanin, and you would be left with a burn on your skin. Fairer skinned patients have a lot less melanin (or colour in their skin) they can safely have traditional laser treatments.
What laser is suitable for my skin?
A medical grade laser has the ability to go to 1064mm into the skin, this is known as an Nd:Yag laser, what does this mean? This means that the laser will penetrate deeper into the skin and completely bypass the layers of the skin full of melanin, it will target the hair farther down, and therefore leave your skin unharmed after treatment.
Is it as effective?
Yes Nd: Yag is quite effective in treating hair in people of colour, it may mean that you need perhaps an extra treatment at the end of your treatment plan, but you will be left with your hair reduced just as effectively as light skinned patients using traditional lasers.
I have some black spots on my skin, is it safe for me to have laser?
‘Black spots’ can often be one of two things, often in dark skinned people with excess hair, the hair can often grow inward resulting in ingrown hairs, this can lead to areas of pigmentation known as ‘Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation’ – this is basically a name for a mark that is left on the skin after some trauma that has healed darker than the surrounding skin. The marks can also be Dernatosis papulosa nigra- these spots are usually more raised in appearance, these are benign skin growths. You may have your laser treatment done over these marks; the laser will actually be effective in preventing any new hyperpigmentation on the skin as it will reduce ingrown hairs and any inflammation.
My skin is lighter in places, is it safe for me to have laser treatment?
Hypopigmentation is a bit more complicated, this means that your skin has lost colour in certain areas. We would need to discuss this issue with our resident doctor who will give us advice on the best course of treatment for you.
What laser do you use at Cosmetic Doctor?
At Cosmetic Doctor we use the Cynosure Elite Apogee laser machine, this is known as the gold standard in in laser hair removal, it is a medical grade laser which is one of the most effective machines in laser hair removal.
Is there anything I need to do before I attend for a patch test?
- You will need to ensure you are not taking any medication that could have a reaction with the laser; you can phone reception if you are unsure about any medications you are taking.
- You will need to be out of the sun for 6 weeks
- You will need to ensure you are not using any topical products containing hydroquinone or steroids or retinol – if you are unsure if any product you are using is not suitable, please contact us.
- You may continue with your treatment after the patch test shows you are suitable for laser treatment.
If you would like to book in for a patch test, or have some other questions that are not covered here, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01 685 3100!