Laser hair removal for darker skin

Julie Fortune's picture
Laser hair removal is a wonderful treatment, and for years it has been assumed you have to have a particular skin and hair type for it to be safe. I'm excited to share this is no longer the case!1
Did you know that it is possible to have amazing laser hair removal results if you have darker skin?
You may have heard stories that tell you otherwise – when lasers first rose to popularity, they could not distinguish between the hair follicle and the surrounding skin when hair and skin colour were closely matched. This risked hyper pigmentation and scarring, but now technology has advanced tremendously.
There are ways to get a successful and safe laser hair removal treatment on darker skin – here's how.

Dual Alexandrite & Nd-YAG laser

Advanced technology means that newer laser systems operate at multiple wavelengths in comparison with earlier generations. The reason we can treat skin tones (Fitzpatrick 1 to 5) is that we have a dual laser.
We have 2 wavelengths available:
  • One that is extremely effective at treating high contrast between the hair and skin (the Alexandrite laser) for treating paler skin tones (1-3)
  • And one that uses a longer wavelength to bypass the surface of darker skin tones (4-5) to treat the root of the hair only (Nd-YAG laser) avoiding issues of low contrast between hair and skin
Visual indication of Fitz Patrick scale for skin tones

Nd-YAG laser: safe and comfortable hair removal for darker skin

laser hair removal armpits before and after

Laser hair removal works by targeting a substance called melanin. Melanin is responsible for pigmentation in hair, and the darker the hair, the higher the concentration of melanin. Pigmentation in skin is also determined by melanin, this is why other lasers cannot differentiate between the skin and hair.
What makes the Nd-YAG so effective is that the wavelength can go a lot deeper, bypassing the epidermis (surface of the skin) and aiming straight for the melanin in the hair follicle.

laser hair removal for bikini before and after

By adjusting the parameters of the Nd-YAG laser so that it just hits the melanin (which is generally darker in the hair follicle) we can preserve the surrounding healthy skin tissue. When the laser is fired, heat is then absorbed by the hair follicle to destroy the cells.
Additionally, Nd-YAG has a dynamic cooling system built in, which means the heat from the laser is controlled to a specific area - making it safer than other systems. The cooling system also ensures your treatment can be as comfortable as possible.

Book your patch test

We take great care to ensure that there is no risk associated with your laser treatment, that’s why booking a patch test a week before treatment is so important. Your patch test is also an opportunity to learn more or ask any questions you may have.
During your patch test we determine the power of the laser for your skin colour. It also gives us an opportunity to assess how your skin responds to it during the following week.
If there are no adverse reactions, your journey for permanent hair removal can begin!
Julie x
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