Laser resurfacing technologies are quite well known for their use in improving an individual’s skin tone, texture, and pigmentation of the skin. Although it is not the same as a facelift or dermal fillers, they can also help to address certain skin concerns like decreased volume and uneven skin texture or colour. Aside from these benefits of lasers, another aesthetic application of laser technology is through laser hair removal! More specifically, laser hair removal for dark skin.
It’s easy to understand why someone would get tired of short-term methods of hair removal like tweezing, plucking, or shaving and having to repeat those actions every week (or every other day). Long-term hair reduction can be achievable through laser hair removal, even for dark skin types where it previously was considered not effective and not recommended for such individuals with greater levels of melanin! A patient’s needs dictate the selection of the ideal laser, and this article will help you understand current laser hair removal procedures that can be undergone by dark skin types in Singapore.
The Best Lasers for Dark Skin
Safe removal of hair for dark skin will involve the use of Nd: YAG lasers, which are neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet lasers. These lasers are non-ablative, meaning that they do not cause any disruption to the surface layers of the skin and provide minimal downtime with good effects. While these lasers are typically used for skin pigmentation removal in Singapore as they can target melanin cells, they are also very good in the use of laser hair removal on dark skin.
The Fotona laser is effective for this. Hair removal lasers traditionally were designed for lighter-skinned individuals due to their mechanism of ‘selective photo thermolysis. This term means that there is a site-specific action happening whereby the laser pulses target different chromophores (the part of a molecule responsible for colour). When lasers are applied for hair removal, they target the dark colour of hair shafts and follicles. Older lasers were not suited for dark skin, as the lasers would not be able to effectively differentiate between the melanin in the skin and that of the hair cells.
The Fotona hair removal laser captures energy from the laser and distributes it to the surrounding follicular structures, causing the destruction of the hair matrix and hair root cells. This is done without damaging the surrounding skin around the hair follicles.
How to Prepare for Your Laser Hair Treatment
A laser hair treatment session will typically start with an initial consultation to ensure that you are suitable for this treatment. This makes it safe for you and minimises the risk of an adverse event happening! Your doctor will obtain a detailed clinical history of your medical history and skin type, including any medication that you are currently taking which can make your skin more sensitive to bruising or redness. Your doctor will also be able to understand your expectations regarding this treatment and clear up any misconceptions regarding laser hair removal. It is a permanent state of hair reduction and more than one session may be needed.
Some actions you may need to take before your laser hair treatment:
∙ Avoid hair removal through plucking or waxing for 6 weeks before the procedure.
∙ Apply sunscreen on the target areas for 6 weeks before the procedure, especially if your target areas are those which are frequently exposed (e.g. face, arms, shin regions).
∙ Shave the area before your procedure, but make sure that there is enough time for a slight stubble to appear. This helps the laser target those hair follicles without absorbing too much energy in the hair shaft itself.
∙ If you like, take some pre-procedure photographs to help evaluate your treatment response.
Risks of Laser Hair Removal on Dark Skin
With laser procedures, there may be some risks:
∙ The skin cells surrounding your hair bulb may also absorb the laser energy, which can cause some temporary swelling and redness after the procedure.
∙ There may be a burning sensation for a short period of time after the procedure in those with more sensitive skin, which can be addressed through the application of cold packs and cooling skincare.
∙ More serious adverse events can include skin blistering or pigmentation, and topical antibiotics may be applied if there is some skin injury.
To minimise the risks, consult with your doctor about your skin type and current skincare regimen. Use of facial acids or retinol may need to be stopped for a period of time before your laser hair removal session.
Cost of Laser Hair Removal
The cost of laser hair removal varies by area. Larger areas will cost more. For example, smaller areas like the upper lip or nipples can cost $200-$350 per session, but larger areas such as the full arm or leg can cost $1,150-$1,500 per session. While darker-skinned individuals may require more sessions, it really depends on your individual response.
Hair location also matters when it comes to the number of sessions needed. Areas with thinner skin like the underarms may respond better than the hair on the chest, which has thicker skin.
One thing to note is that hair is usually only sensitive to laser treatments during the anagen phase, which is the hair growth phase. This is why multiple sessions are needed because not all hair follicles are in the anagen phase during any one time. 4 to 6 sessions spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart is usually the minimum requirement to achieve good results.
Caring for Dark Skin After Laser Hair Removal
After laser hair removal, ice packs or cooling skincare can help to minimise pain and swelling. Strict sun protection and sunscreen use are definitely a must! Your skin may be more sensitive after laser therapy and this helps to prevent any hyperpigmentation if the skin areas are exposed to the sun.
Forget Daily Shaving, Consider Long-Term Hair Removal
After reading this article on laser hair removal for dark skin and you’re ready to begin to reduce the frequency of daily or weekly hair removal activities, get in touch with us at SL Aesthetic Clinic for a tailored assessment with one of our certified professionals! While long-term hair removal may require a couple of sessions, the benefits of time and effort saved are well worth it. Book an appointment with us by calling your nearest branch today.