Laser Hair Removal on African American Skin

By: I Love Laser | Posted: 03rd February 2010

Laser hair removal works best on white skin and dark hair. The reason for this is because the technician has to target each hair follicle individually and if they have trouble seeing the hair, it can be difficult to target and remove. This presents a problem for people with light hair and white skin, or people with dark skin and dark hair.
In regards to the last one, there are additional challenges for laser hair removal technicians when dealing with African American skin. The reason for this is because of pigment and the laser (read more at our Laser Hair Removal FAQ page).
To target the hair follicle, a laser has to go through the upper layers of the epidermis and hit the dark follicle. The wavelength is absorbed by the dark follicle and therefore the intense light destroys the follicle. However, with African American skin, there is a chance that the melanin, which is what gives skin its pigment, will absorb the laser light on the surface of the skin before it can ever get to the follicle. This not only prevents the best results from the session, but it can also injure the epidermis of the patient.
This does not mean laser hair removal is impossible for African Americans. There are methods like cooling the skin that can prevent the skin from being injured. Technicians can also use longer wavelengths. The reason for longer laser wavelengths is that melanin will absorb the short wavelengths, but allow longer wavelengths to pass through the skin to destroy the follicle.
Of course, if you are African American and you are thinking of laser hair removal, then you need to look at getting an experienced technician. The experienced technician will not only know what wavelength and laser to use, but how to target your hair follicles without damaging your skin. They will be able to make the procedures shorter and you will probably have fewer procedures. This means you get through the entire laser hair removal treatment faster, and that will save you money, which is always important.
You should make sure the technician uses a Diode Laser like Light Sheer, MedioStar, LaserLite, Epistar, Apex 800, F1 Diode, or SLP1000. These will provide good results but 10 or more treatments will be needed. For the best results, a Nd:Yag laser needs to be used including CoolGlide, MedLite IV, Varia, Athos, Lyra, or Image.
Laser hair removal is always improving and just a few years ago it was impossible for African Americans to have the procedure done. However, as time goes on, new technology comes out and more and more people can get the benefits of laser hair removal for themselves. As time goes on, you will see that it is easier to have the hair removed by laser and it will cost less as well. In the meantime, make sure your technician uses the right laser and has the right experience to make your laser hair removal experience much easier, quicker and, by extension, cheaper for you.About the Author
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Tags: money, challenges, melanin, hair follicles, pigment, laser hair removal, dark skin, dark hair, wavelength, laser light, hair removal treatment, light hair, african americans, upper layers, intense light