Several people with dark pigmentation have suffered bad experiences with laser hair removal that caused skin burns and resulting in post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. For this reason, we hear that laser hair removal is not suitable for dark skin (type IV, V, VI). But most often, these burns are due to the use of a wrong type of laser.
Laser hair removal for dark skin – Question #1: Are there several types of lasers for hair removal?
Dr Tremblay: Yes, there are different types of lasers with different wavelengths appropriate for each skin’s pigmentation. Shorter wavelength lasers (800 nanometers, such as Lightsheer) are suitable for pale skin / dark hair combination.
The lasers of longer wavelengths (1064 nanometers, such as YAG) are recommended for dark / dark hair skin combinations as well as pale skin / hair blond skin combination.
Laser hair removal for dark skin – Question #2: Hence the importance to pay attention to choosing the proper hair removal laser recommended for our skin color?
Dr Tremblay: Indeed, the laser is a light beam which heats a specific pigment. Where a person has pale skin and dark hair, the laser will easily find the dark pigment, heat it and destroy hair since the hair stand out from the pale color of the skin.
However, when a person has dark skin, if we use the same laser as in pale skins, the laser will catch the color of the skin and burn it at the surface without ever reaching the hair. Skin is therefore an obstacle to reach the pigment in the hair follicle, the base of the hair.
Laser hair removal for dark skin – Question #3: The proper laser in hair removal for dark skins is called YAG?
Dr Tremblay: To overcome the obstacle of pigmented skin, one must use a laser with longer wavelengths that target the darker pigment of the hair instead of that of the skin. The heat from the laser will less be absorbed by the pigment of the epidermis and go directly reaching the black hair. The same principle applies also for pale skin combined with blond hair. We also use a laser with a longer wavelength, the YAG Alexandrite.
Laser hair removal for dark skin – Question #4: The advantages of YAG laser for hair removal on dark skin are obvious.
Dr Tremblay: The YAG laser is an effective hair removal solution for dark skin as we can use it safely and almost painlessly. It is also the solution to ingrown hairs often found in people with darker skin. Generally 6 to 8 treatments once a month are necessary month to significantly reduce hair growth. Given the power of the laser, it can only be provided under medical supervision, or in a medical aesthetic clinic.
To book your appointment for YAG laser hair removal, complete our appointment form or call at 514-739-7444