Is Laser Hair Removal Safe for Patients with Darker Skin Tones?
- Posted on: Jul 15 2018
Everyone knows that lasers are the best way to get rid of unwanted hair permanently. But in the past laser hair removal wasn’t effective for people with darker skin.
That’s not the case at Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal, however. We have the largest variety of lasers, and we can effectively remove hair on patients with all skin colors and types.
Here’s some more information on skin color and laser energy.
Early Generation Lasers
The early generations of lasers used for hair removal was not suitable for people with darker skin tones. In fact, patients had to fall in the 1-4 categories on the Fitzpatrick skin color/description scale. Here’s the scale:
1 — White or very pale skin. Blond hair. Blue, grey, green eyes.
2 — Pale white beige tint. Chestnut or dark blond hair. Blue eyes.
3 — Beige to light brown (olive). Dark brown hair. Dark brown eyes.
4 — Light to moderate brown. Black hair. Brown eyes.
5 — Medium to dark brown. Black hair. Brownish black eyes.
6 — Dark brown to black. Black hair. Black eyes.
Why Did Early Lasers Not Work with Darker Skin Tones?
Laser hair removal works by targeting melanin, which is responsible for the pigment in the hair. Unfortunately, at least for laser hair removal, melanin is also responsible for skin pigmentation, epidermal melanin. When a patient has high amounts of epidermal melanin, the absorption of laser energy by the target hairs can be compromised due to it being also absorbed by the melanin in the skin. This is still effective on the hair, but the skin absorption also causes burns, hyperpigmentation, and scarring.
For those reasons, early laser hair removal could only be done on Fitzpatrick scale patients with skin tones of 1 to 4.
Nd:YAG Lasers To the Rescue
That all changed with the development of the Nd:YAG laser. This laser operates at a much higher wavelength than any of the other lasers used for hair removal. Plus, it has some other unique characteristics that make it effective and safe for people with darker skin tones, 5 to 6 on the Fitzpatrick scale. Various studies using Nd:YAG lasers show they can be effective and safe for patients with darker skin tones, particularly 5 and 6 on the Fitzpatrick scale.
At Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal, we have 12 different lasers, including two different Nd:YAG lasers. That’s why we can safely and effectively treat patients of all skin colors and skin types. Facilities that do laser hair removal as a sideline can’t safely treat everyone.
Schedule a Consultation
Posted in: Laser Hair Removal