Is Laser Hair Removal Safe and Effective on All Skin Types?

For men and women who struggle with unwanted hair growth, laser hair removal is an ideal alternative to time consuming shaving or waxing. By targeting the melanin within each follicle, the treatments are able to painlessly eliminate body and facial hair permanently. If you are interested in this long lasting form of hair removal, the following guide can help you to decide whether laser hair reduction is the right choice:

Is It Safe And Effective For Everyone?

When laser hair removal was first introduced in the 1990s, the treatment was only suitable for individuals with both dark hair and pale skin. The limited laser technology meant that just a narrow range of laser light wavelengths could be created. These early lasers were unable to focus their light directly on hair follicles without a strong contrast in pigmentation between hair and skin. For individuals with tanned skin, the procedure was usually ineffective and could even cause blisters.

Fortunately, the industry has seen huge advancements in recent years. Newer lasers are able target hair more precisely by reaching follicles in lower layers of skin. Technological improvements have meant that even those with Mediterranean and Asian skin tones or blonde hair now respond very well to laser hair removal. In some clinics even very dark skin tones can be effectively treated.

Choosing The Best Laser For Your Skin Type

For optimum results and minimum side effects, it is crucial to choose equipment that is well suited to your skin tone. Understanding your skin’s type allows laser hair technicians to choose the most suitable laser and wavelength before your appointment. Skin tones are rated on a specific scale which increases in darkness from Skin Type 1 (light, pale white) to Skin Type 6 (very dark brown to black). The following are the three main laser options which have been approved by the FDA:

– The Diode Laser

A diode laser is used by the majority of cosmetic clinics because it is very effective on people with Skin Type 1 to Skin Type 4 (olive, moderate brown) coloring. In some cases, if specifically designed equipment is used, it can also be adapted for even darker skin tones.

– The Alexandrite Laser

The alexandrite laser is less often used by professional health centers because it is only suitable up to skin types 3 (white to light brown). While it performs very well on these paler tones, higher skin types are at risk of blistering and even hyperpigmentation.

– The Long Pulsed Laser

The long pulsed laser is generally considered the top option for anyone with darker skin, as it works successfully up to the highest Skin Type 6. It functions by targeting the lower layers of skin which contain less melanin to increase the laser’s focus on hair follicles.

To find out whether or not you are a suitable candidate for laser hair removal, it is a good idea to discuss the issue with a trained practitioner. Most clinics provide a laser hair removal consultation free of charge for those interested in the treatment so that you can ensure the best results and the safest outcome.

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