Women use multiple methods of removing hair, such as waxing, shaving and tweezing. Those with dark skin may find that laser hair removal for dark skin at home is the best method. Laser hair removal is still relatively a newer rage, starting in the 1960s. Since then, more and more people are turning to this route. It is possible to laser remove hair at home as well.
African American, Asian and Latin people, as well as any ethnic group with dark skin tones, might feel discouraged about laser removal. Unfortunately, thousands of people have experienced damaged skin because of the procedure. Luckily, an increased number of trained laser technicians and better quality lasers make it a much safer choice for everyone.
- Why Does Skin Color Matter for Laser Hair Removal?
- Lasers, Wavelengths, Oh My!
- Understanding the Fitzpatrick Scale
- Tips for Properly Using Laser Hair Removal
- Ways to Reduce the Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal for Darker Skin Tones
Why Does Skin Color Matter for Laser Hair Removal?
Before you figure out the best way to laser remove hair at home, you have to understand what laser hair removal is. Laser hair removal is one of several methods to remove unwanted hair from your body. While it removes the hair, laser removal also causes damage to the hair follicle, which slows the growth of future hair.
As you might imagine, lasers complete the process, targeting the pigment, called melanin, that gives your hair color. It heats up the hair follicles and destroys them. The process behind its effectiveness is called selective photothermolysis. Wavelengths of light reach directly into the melanin of the hair.
Melanin is important, and chances are you have heard of it before. Melanin gives your skin its unique color. The darker your skin, the more melanin it contains. Because of the process of targeting melanin, many people consider laser hair removal unwise for those who have dark skin. The laser could target the melanin in the skin, heat up and burn.
Now, you might be wondering “is laser hair removal for dark skin at home possible?” The answer is a resounding YES! Those with dark skin can still use laser treatment at home to get rid of unwanted hair.
Lasers, Wavelengths, Oh My!
If you’re thinking about laser hair removal, then it’s very important that you understand what wavelengths are. If the laser has a short wavelength, it will be more effective at targeting melanin.
Longer wavelengths aren’t as effective, and they bypass the melanin in the skin while still targeting melanin in the hairs.
The original laser, referred to as the ruby laser, has a wavelength of 694nm, which is short by most standards. Those with pale skin and dark hair can safely use the ruby laser, but everyone else has to avoid it because it will target your melanin.
Luckily, there are other wavelengths available on the market!
If you have dark skin, wavelengths are important because it means that you can still use laser hair removal safely without possibly damaging your skin. Those with dark skin benefit from using the Nd: YAG laser.
Understanding the Fitzpatrick Scale
In the 1970s, T.B. Fitzpatrick developed a classification of skin colors and their reaction to UV light. He divided the skin types into six categories. Professionals use this scale to determine how to treat each of their clients best.
If you plan to use laser hair removal treatments at home, the Fitzpatrick Scale should matters to you as well. Skin types four, five and six have the largest risk of damage if the treatment is done incorrectly.
Tips for Properly Using Laser Hair Removal
So, what do you need to know before using laser hair removal? Here are a few tricks and tips.
Whether you are getting the laser treatment done with a professional or at home, a patch test is essential. A patch test is simply just a small area that you laser at different energy levels. Doing so helps you or the professional determine the right level of energy that will remove the hair without burning your skin. This zone tends to be narrow for dark skin people.
Avoid Intense Pulsed Light
When we talk about laser hair removal for dark skin tones, it is important that you avoid any IPL or intense pulsed light.
Unfortunately, IPL isn’t considered safe for those with dark skin tones.
IPL does work similar to laser treatment.
However, you aren’t able to control the energy levels as well with IPL. Lasers have specific wavelengths, so you are less likely to any laser hair removal side effects such as burned skin.
Multiple Treatments are Needed
While laser removal is a great choice for permanent hair removal for dark skin at home, several treatments are needed to get the results you want. Hair grows in cycles, so all of your hairs are in different stages. It is recommended to spread out your treatments over a period of six weeks for the best results.
Avoid Waxing and Epilating
Before you undergo any laser treatments, you need to have hair roots and follicles! That means there has to be some hair to remove. Shaving is fine because all of the hair roots and follicles and left intact.
HAIR COLOR MATTERS TOO
Hair color matters almost just as much as skin color. Blonde or light hair colors tend to have the hardest time finding an at-home kit that works effectively because the laser cannot pick up the pigment.
Ways to Reduce the Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal for Darker Skin Tones
Aside from the above tips and tricks, there are a few things you can do to lessen the potential side effects of laser treatment. Studies have been done, and these three points are important to remember.
At Home Laser Hair Removal Kits
If you are ready to try laser hair removal at home for dark skin, it is important to know that most kits aren’t going to work perfectly on dark skin. The best results typically come from professionals. However, companies are starting to catch up with the times and have provided a few choices for the best at home laser hair removal kit for dark skin.
Before you make a purchase, consider the price and ongoing costs. The upfront cost of these kits can be shocking and overwhelming. However, you should price out what several trips to a professional will cost you. Doing so will ensure you come out ahead.
Also, investing in a quality machine will avoid damaging your skin. If the kit requires replacement cartridges, be sure to price those out before you make a purchase. Cartridge-free kits are more expensive but could be a better choice for your budget.
Despite the price, Me Smooth is a great choice for those with dark skin. It is compact and won’t take up much space in your cabinets. There are three different power settings, and you get about one and half hours of treatment time out of each cartridge.
Me Smooth works with all six different skin types and seven different hair colors. Now, it does use a patented technology called Elos that combines intense pulsed light and “color blind” radio frequency.
The combined technology means that you are less likely to experience burns or any undesirable side effects. However, some people might notice a warming sensation.
It can take between four and seven weeks to get the results you truly desire. If you have thicker hair, it could take even longer to get rid of all of the unwanted hair!
The Silk’n Glide gives people who have darker skin tones another choice for an at-home hair removal device. However, it is important to remember that the company states the Infinity 400,000 is suitable for all skin colors and almost all hair colors.
So, this means there are some people won’t be able to use this device. A convenient chart lets you know if you are eligible to use the Infinity. It is not suitable for those who have both black skin (skin type 6) AND white or grey hair.
There are other pros to the Infinity. For example, you can use it on almost any area of your body. Both men and women can use this product safely and effectively. The pulse and glide method means that treatments take less time than traditionally.
The last choice for the best laser hair removal at home kit is the Tanda Me. It is a great choice for ideal African American laser hair removal before and after results. Tanda Me uses the same ELOS technology that the Me Smooth device utilizes.
You can use the Tanda Me on your face as well as your lower body. The head is rather large, so it covers wide patches of skin, meaning you don’t have to take too much time lasering. The cartridge delivers 500,000 pulses.
While the price is high, it is important to remember that the Tanda Me is one of the few choices listed as safe for all skin types. You do get a two-year warranty as well.
Works on all skin types
Silk’n Glide Infinity
Suitable for almost everyone
Emits up to 400,000 pulses
Usable for facial and body hair
Tanda Me My Elos Syneron
Emits 500,000 pulses
Usable on most body areas
Suitable for all skin tones
If you have access to an Nd: YAG laser or a product approved for your skin tone, then laser treatments are a fantastic way to get rid of unwanted hair. To increase your successfulness, follow the tips and tricks listed above and use an approved product.
Evidence shows us that laser hair removal for dark skin at home is great if you use an Nd: YAG laser, opt to use epidermal cooling and extend your pulse durations. The time has come for those with dark skin to enjoy permanent hair removal choices at home finally.