Laser Hair Removal for Dark-Skinned People

July 6, 2011 in Laser hair removal

Although laser hair removal is fairly popular because its precision in removing hair, the procedure could become difficult if a person’s skin is dark.

Before anyone gets the idea that this is racial discrimination, consider how the laser could dramatically affect the pigment of the skin. If the person’s skin has a dark pigment, the skin is more likely to burn from the laser. This happens primarily because light that makes contact with dark colors generally gets converted into heat energy.

Normally when a laser hits light skin, much of the laser energy can easily target the darker-colored hair on the skin. This allows it to easily remove the hair out of its shaft. With dark skin, the laser could just as easily burn the skin because of the immense surface area that can burn from the laser.

Throughout this entire process, it cannot easily target the hair anymore, unless the practitioner uses the proper adjustments on the laser. The laser obviously cannot adjust itself automatically to keep itself from injuring the person’s skin. Thus, the practitioner should identify the proper laser and the amount of energy to be emitted before doing anything else.

For darker skins, thorough knowledge of the laser removal process is especially important. The laser is specifically designed to only hit the melanin pigment in the hair shaft, not the rest of the skin. In order to specifically hit this area, practitioners use contact cooling to protect the skin.

Contact cooling involves the use of something to cool the surface of the skin. Laser operators can use a variety of methods to cool the skin, such as using two sapphire plates with water running between them.

Practitioners should be experienced at laser surgery, so make sure that the person is a board-certified physician before agreeing to a laser hair removal appointment. It is best if the surgeon is skilled at using a variety of laser machines, so that the person can find the proper laser to match the patient’s skin.

They must also use the longest wavelength of light when they are treating patients with dark skin. Usually an Nd:YAG laser is the best choice for dark skin, with a wavelength of approximately 1064 nm. They use this because the ability of melanin to absorb light decreases as the wavelength gets longer. This makes the operation less risky than if someone used a laser with a shorter wavelength.

However, keep in mind that the Nd:YAG laser is the not the best laser on the market. People have often commented that this laser is more painful than the other lasers. It is also more likely to cause burns, scarring, skin discoloration and swelling. It is also the least effective of all the lasers that are currently available.

With all that said, there are still plenty of other options available for people with dark skin. Shaving is still the most inexpensive alternative. People could also try out Waxing at a local salon or spa. They could even try out the hair removal sprays for a semi-permanent hair removal solution.

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