Laser hair removal has long been hailed as a revolutionary solution for banishing unwanted body hair. It offers the promise of smooth, hair-free skin with minimal hassle. However, accessing safe and effective laser hair removal treatments has been a challenge for individuals with darker skin tones. The aesthetics industry continues to grapple with a glaring inclusivity gap, leaving many individuals with darker skin tones underserved and overlooked.

Understanding the Laser Hair Removal Landscape

According to Chris Bustamante, DNP, Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner and founder of NYC medspa, Lushful Aesthetics, laser hair removal has indeed made remarkable strides in recent years. It now possesses the capability to safely and effectively treat individuals across the entire spectrum of skin tones.

“The key is understanding laser physics and having the appropriate devices,” he emphasized.

Despite the advancements in technology, individuals with darker skin tones still encounter significant barriers when seeking laser hair removal treatments. There are a lot of factors at play, when it comes to doctors giving the right treatments to their patients.

“Provider knowledge, experience, and education regarding laser physics is critical to providing a safe and effective treatment, particularly on patients with darker skin tones,” he explained. “Cost can be seen as another barrier because most practices that offer ‘cheap’ laser hair removal are utilizing outdated devices and more than likely there’s an inexperienced provider utilizing that device.”

Addressing the Inclusivity Gap

One of the primary contributors to the inclusivity gap is the lack of appropriate laser technology for darker skin tones. Bustamante emphasized the importance of practices prioritizing inclusivity by investing in state-of-the-art device, equipped with the necessary wavelengths to treat darker skin tones effectively.

“The technology exists, [but] it’s a matter if the practice is willing to invest in the latest technology,” he explained. “Laser devices on average cost about $250,000. Practices that want to provide optimal and inclusive care will make this investment, while many others won’t.”

Lasers can be utilized safely. The belief that they cannot be is a misconception. However, Bustamante reassured technological advancements have rendered this notion obsolete. By utilizing specific wavelengths, practitioners can perform laser hair removal safely and effectively on darker skin tones.

Central to ensuring the safety and efficacy of these treatments is the concept of patient-to-procedure matching. Bustamante emphasized the importance of experienced providers using the latest technology.

“Be sure you’re seeing an experienced provider in a facility with strong reviews and reputation,” he explained. “Darker skin tones are going to want to be treated with a Yag laser, while lighter skin tones will achieve better results with an Alexandrite laser.”

Addressing the inclusivity gap in laser hair removal treatments requires a concerted effort from both practitioners and the aesthetics industry. “The demand exists, and it’s up to practices to meet that demand with safe, inclusive, and optimal care,” he said.