Laser hair removal has become established as a highly effective way that you can go about removing unwanted hair. If your hair is dark in color and treated with a wavelength of light that is absorbed by the follicle structure, then a thermal reaction is created that can cause the hair to stop growing.
One of the early challenges with laser treatments was getting the laser to interact with the pigment in the hair and not interact with the skin surface.
Consequently, when laser hair removal treatments first appeared, the devices used a wavelength of light that was highly absorbed by the outer layer of the skin, so the treatments were only safe in very fair skinned individuals. Even individuals who had fair complexions had to be careful because if they had a suntan before getting laser hair removal treatments, the skin would burn anyway.
As new generations of laser equipment have been developed over the years, the safety cushion has become greater and greater so that with the appropriate technology, individuals of all complexions and all skin types including Skin Types V and VI can be treated.
However, there still seems to be some confusion about whether it is ok or not ok to do laser treatments in skin of color, so here is are some excerpts from an article that I coauthored which was published on the subject in the December 2003 issue of the Dermatologic Surgery journal.
Background. Pseudo-folliculitis barbae (PFB) is a foreign-body inflammatory condition caused by in-grown hairs of the face and body. An effective treatment to alleviate this condition without risk of side effects has yet to be found.
Objective. The objective of this study was to evaluate the LyraÔ 1064nm long pulse Nd:YAG laser in the treatment of PFB on skin types V-VI.
Methods. Twenty subjects, twelve males and eight females, were given two treatments approximately 3-4 weeks apart and assessed by objective papule/pustule and hair counts at 1, 2 and 3 months after final treatment. Laser treatments with the LyraÔ Nd:YAG laser were applied onto 2x2cm regions on the upper and lower mandible and neck regions. Contralateral controls were used to assess overall effectiveness.
Subjective evaluations were also obtained from both subjects and investigators. Assessments of any abnormal side effects caused by laser treatment, including dyspigmentation and/or scarring were also evaluated.
Results. Reduction in the quantity of papules/pustules and hairs when compared with baseline data was statistically significant for treatment of PFB in the mandibular and neck regions at the 1, 2 and 3-month follow-up evaluations. Subject evaluations ranged from satisfied to very satisfied. Side effects included: transient hyperpigmentation, transient hypopigmentation, mild erythema and itching.
Conclusions. Use of the 1064nm long pulse Nd:YAG laser for the treatment and management of PFB on skin types V-VI is both safe and effective, with positive results lasting up to 3 months after 2 treatments.
This study demonstrated that laser treatments could be both safe and effective in individuals with darker complexions yielding a very high degree of patient satisfaction.
Additional studies over the past 9 years by various physicians have been performed on individuals with darker complexions with similar results confirming the safety and efficacy.
So, no matter what your complexion you should be able to enjoy the benefits of this wonderful technology.