For most of us, strapping goggles on and laying down for your laser hair removal treatments has seamlessly become part of our beauty regime. For some though, there is a struggle to find an appropriate solution that doesn’t hold the risk of burns or skin discolouration. Let’s look at why darker skin tones require more caution, and how Eden Laser Clinics can help without the risks with previous technologies.
Lasers weren’t created with melanin in mind. Most treatments were best suited to those with light skin and dark hair, with laser wavelengths easily able to distinguish between the pigment in the skin and the pigment in the hair follicles. For those with darker skin tones, these previously technologies would have them running the risk of burns, scarring, skin discolouration and more. Thankfully in recent years, we have seen a huge increase in available technologies better suited to darker skin tones.
When referring to skin tones, we use the dermatological Fitzpatrick scale which divides skin tones into 6 categories based on characteristics, with 1 being the lightest and 6 the darkest. Skin types 5 and 6 hold the most risk as they hold the most pigmentation. If the laser’s wavelength is unable to distinguish between dark hair and dark skin, there is an increased risk.
With the advancements in laser technology, we found Candela’s Gentle hair removal technology. The GentleLase Pro is more reliable for darker skin types as it offers two wavelengths: 755nm and 1064 nm wavelength. The 1064 nm wavelength, also known as Nd:YAG, is not as highly absorbed by melanin when compared to other wavelengths. This means the wavelength is more reliable for treating all skin types because it deposits its energy deep into the dermis without relying on melanin to do so. Also, these wavelengths bypass the epidermis, so it has a better result with less reports of adverse reactions on dark skin.
But that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t be careful. We always recommend popping in to your nearest clinic for a FREE consultation and patch test. This involves treating a small, inconspicuous area with the laser and waiting 48 hours to assess the results. If there is no adverse reaction, we can proceed with your treatment.
Like those with paler skin, you should be sure to not use any medications that create photosensitivity for at least one week before your treatment to ensure we minimise the risk of an adverse reaction. And if you’re on Accutane, avoid laser for approximately two to four months after getting off the regimen.
Hair Removal for Dark Skin
Hair growth is noticeably reduced after each laser hair removal treatment, with best results seen after your full course. The number of treatments required will be based on your hair colour and type, body area, and skin tone. Typically, eight to twelve treatments are recommended for full clearance of hair, with one or two maintenance treatments required every year to maintain results.
After your laser hair removal treatments, your post-treatment care is crucial: applying a cool compress will help take out as much heat as possible to reduce the chance of burning, application of Eskin Soothing Gel is also highly recommended. You should also be avoiding any exercise or heat-inducing activities for 24 hours (think strenuous steam rooms or saunas), and sun exposure throughout the treatment series.
Before your treatment, it is important that you avoid direct sun exposure for at least a month and you also shouldn’t bleach, pluck, or wax for four to six weeks before your treatments. We need your hair follicle to be in place in order to treat it; shaving does not remove the follicle whereas waxing and plucking does.
Skin Rejuvenation for Dark Skin
For our melanin-rich patients, we finally have a solution to your stubborn skin concerns like sun spots and pigmentation, scars and birthmarks that will better suit your skin!
Our PicoWay laser uses Picosecond pulses which are exponentially faster than previous technologies: one Trillionth of a second! These ultra-short pulses vaporise their targets before the skin has a chance to overheat. This is crucial to a successful treatment as they lead to a ‘photoacoustic’ effect rather than ‘photothermal’. In layman’s terms, this treatment produces less heat onto your skin, meaning downtime and the risk of burning and scarring is significantly reduced.
This laser uses these pulses to essentially produce holes into the skin’s surface to create a controlled wound (like skin needling does). PicoWay literally works from the inside out. As the skin heals these micro-wounds, it will produce new, fresh collagen and elastin which improves the skin’s appearance.
Because the wavelengths reach under the skin, the outer layers of skin are not impacted to reduce downtime. You can resume (most) normal activities the same day, and even apply make-up to cover any redness.
Did you know that nearly 40% of adults have some degree of acne scarring hanging around from their teenage years? Our PicoWay treatments boost production of collagen to improve the skin’s appearance, resolving visible acne scars. In Candela’s clinical studies, 94% of treated areas improved and patients were highly satisfied with the results.
Scared of needles? PicoWay offers patients a needle-free solution to wrinkle-reduction thanks to the stimulation of new collagen.
Skin discolouration is common, but very treatable. Dark spots, known technically as benign pigmented lesions, like freckles, liver/age spots and café-au-lait (brown patches) appear in many people on different areas of the skin. Some spots are thanks to years playing in the sun, and some types of pigmentation, like Melasma, is due to hormonal factors such as pregnancy.
PicoWay treatment were voted 100% in the ‘Worth It’ category by patients in 2018 on RealSelf. Want to see what the hype is about? Call today to book your FREE consultation.
Available at Liverpool, Sans Souci & Hurstville clinics.