I often receive phone calls and emails from clients asking if laser hair removal works on Asian skin and whether it is safe. Be assured, it is!
When the correct equipment and treatment parameters are used, almost everyone can benefit from laser hair removal. However it is also true that there are special considerations and risks that people with dark skin must be aware of.
Laser hair removal systems are designed to act on the melanin pigment found in hair which also colours the skin. The darker the skin tone you have the more melanin is present in your skin. The skill and expertise of the practitioner is needed to set the laser in such a way that the hair follicles are targeted but the skin is mostly avoided by the laser.
Therefore it requires a highly competent practitioner with equipment designed to emit the correct type of beam to make sure that the laser does not damage the client’s skin. There is a risk of burns, loss of skin pigment (hypo-pigmentation), increased skin pigment (hyper-pigmentation) and potential scarring.
There are plenty of IPL systems and lasers on the market today offering laser hair removal treatment, but the quality of machine and provider can vary greatly. Cheap machines start at a couple of hundred pounds while top of the range ones pass the £70000 mark. Obviously the expected results cannot be compared. When doing your homework on a company, ask questions about the equipment they own and who will operate it. Most IPL systems cannot be used safely on Asian and African Caribbean skin due to the way the light beam is generated, subsequently causing the skin to heat up with harmful side effects. You are looking for a clinic that offers a true laser such as the long-pulsed Nd-Yag 1064. The YAG laser goes deeper into the skin not harming the superficial pigments, making this a safer option for darker skin tones.
For darker skin types it is also necessary that the energy of the laser is reduced. Appropriate energy settings are generally lower and appropriate pulse widths are generally longer to prevent damage to the upper layer of skin. As a result, a client with dark skin will likely require more treatments than someone with light coloured skin. Generally it takes 8 – 12 treatments to get the desired results with intervals of 4 – 6 weeks.
It is extremely important before you go ahead with any treatment you have a test patch conducted. This is to ensure you have no adverse effects to the laser and it enables your practitioner to find the best settings for you. Skipping the test patch means to compromise on the safety and efficiency of your treatment. It is important for people with skin of colour to be aware of the risks of working with lasers and to choose experts that you are confident with. If you take these precautions into consideration amazing results can be expected from laser hair removal.