Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal treatment is a new modality. Although laser treatment for white skin has been on the market for a number of years there were no lasers that could be safely used on back skin for hair removal. The ideal candidate for laser hair removal treatments would be a person with very white skin and black hair. In this case the laser energy goes directly to the chromophore or target, never the skin. In working on black skin great expertise is required and good knowledge in order to work within the right parameters of a black skin individual. The laser beam is attracted to the melanin within the hair shaft and the fact that black skin has numerous amounts of melanin deposited in its epidermal layer (the uppermost layer of the skin) the beam from the laser could easily target skin instead of the hair and that can result in a burn on the skin. Where there is trauma on the skin, for example from plucking, tweezing, shaving, threading or electrolysis the skin generally become hyper-pigmented (darker) and pose even a greater risk of severe burns and hyper-pigmentation. This generally results in a greater draw of laser energy to the affected site. Quite often the area being treated is burned without effectively treating the hair. Even with the right laser machine one must work within the right parameters of the skin in order to successfully treat black skin.

Individuals with black skin are restricted to the type of laser machines used for their treatments. For example the popular IPL system found in a number of spas and doctor’s offices are not laser although they are loosely referred to as lasers, cannot and should not be used on black skin. The light beam of this system is not selective and treats both skin and hair at the same time. Although IPL can be used for hair removal the treatments are generally not successful. They can be used for a host of other modalities but permanent removal of unwanted hair is not one of it uses. IPL uses short blasts of a polychromatic high intensity light which feels like the snapping of a hot rubber band on the skin. This could prove disastrous on black skin. Individuals with black skin require an increased number of treatments that are not as intense as treatments on white skin which require fewer treatments to treat and destroy the hair follicles. It also takes great knowledge and expertise in performing these treatments successfully.