Summer is around the corner, and it’s almost time to bare it all in the name of fun in the sun. You may have been hibernating all winter and letting all that body hair grow out, but the time has come to tame the beast. Although your first thought may be to call up your trusty wax professional, it might be time for something new. Why not consider laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal and waxing are two of the most popular methods for body hair removal. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, but in recent years, laser hair removal has become the preferred choice for many people. Laser hair removal for Black skin takes special knowledge and tools.

Photo credit: Amar Preciado

What exactly is it?

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that uses a beam of light to destroy hair follicles. The laser beam that is directed at the hair follicle is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, which then converts the light into heat. Thus, destroying the follicle and eventually stunting any further hair growth.

A small handheld device delivers the laser beam by emitting a burst of laser light against the skin. The procedure can be performed on any part of the body. Most common areas for laser hair removal are on the arms, legs, armpits and bikini area.

Many people prefer this method to waxing because it has long lasting and sometimes permanent results. This method of hair removal also decreases ingrown hairs. When you wax, the hair is removed from the root. When the hair grows back, it can get trapped under the skin, causing inflammation and irritation. With laser hair removal, there is less chance of hair growing back.

The process can be time consuming; however, laser hair removal requires multiple sessions to achieve optimal results. The number of sessions required depends on several factors. One is the thickness of the hair or the area that is being treated. On average, most people require between six and eight sessions, but that number can increase or decrease depending on the person. In comparison to waxing, you save money in the long run. With waxing, you need to have regular sessions every few weeks. With laser hair removal, you only need to have a few sessions over an extended time span to achieve permanent hair reduction.

Is Laser Hair Removal Safe for Black skin?

While laser hair removal is effective for most skin types, people with Black skin may have concerns about its safety and effectiveness. However, this does not mean that Black people should avoid lasers. Instead they have to make sure to do the research when choosing a dermatologist for the procedure.

Since the laser beam targets the melanin in the hair follicle, the issue of melanated skin becomes something to consider. The skin’s melanin also can absorb the laser light, which causes damage and burns. However, advancements in laser technology have made it possible to safely and effectively treat Black skin.

There have been lasers made specifically for darker skin tones. The Nd:YAG laser is one example of a laser made that can service darker skin. This type of laser has a longer wavelength that penetrates deeper into the skin without damaging the melanin. It also has a larger spot size, which gives it the ability to treat larger areas of skin faster. This is great for people with darker skin. The risk of skin damage is reduced due to the fact that the laser is used less times.

When looking to book your laser hair removal appointment make sure to talk to the specialist about the types of lasers they use. It’s important to let them know that you have darker skin and need special accommodations. Additionally, you can do research to see which dermatologists in your area service darker skin tones for laser hair removal.

After treatment, you must avoid sun exposure and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect the skin. It’s also important to follow the technician’s instructions for aftercare.