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Beauty and Hair » Do’s and don’ts of laser hair removal for Black skin

Do’s and don’ts of laser hair removal for Black skin


Urban Skin RX owner Rachel Roff (Photo by Terrance Pratt for Steed Media Service)

If you’re a woman suffering from facial hair or a man with severe razor bumps, laser hair removal might be the solution for you, but there are a few things you should understand before seeking treatment. Rolling out reached out to Urban Skin RX and Urban Skin Solutions Med Spa owner Rachel Roff for the best practices for laser hair removal on Black skin.

Is there a certain laser that should be used when considering laser hair removal for clients of color?

Yes a Yag,1064 NM laser is the only device that should be used on tan and darker skin tones. At our Medical Spa Urban Skin Solutions, we use a Candela Gentle Yag and a Cutera Coolglide Yag. There are a few different companies that make Yag Lasers that are safe and effective as well.

Are there any safety concerns that should be considered before going through with the process?

Definitely. Just because someone is treated with a Yag doesn’t mean they are in the clear for a safe treatment. In most states, it is required that you are seen by a doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner that works for the laser center. They must give you an onsite physical exam to clear you as a safe candidate for treatment.

There are also many oral medications that cause you to be sensitive to light and possibly burn from the laser, [so] it is important that you always let the laser tech know of any medication or medical history changes since your last visit.

How long after treatment does it take for someone to start seeing the benefits of laser hair removal?

On average it takes 10-14 days after each treatment to see a reduction of hair growth. About 75 percent of our patients see a reduction in the first session.

Does the hair ever grow back?

Laser hair removal is FDA approved for permanent hair reduction. On average it takes 6-8 sessions each spaced 1-2 months apart. After completing your series of treatments usually a 90-100 percent reduction is achieved. However, most people need touchups to maintain those results. Many different factors can contribute to hair regrowth such as weight gain, medications, stress, pregnancy and other things that cause fluctuations in hormone levels. I always tell our patients to be prepared to do at least one touch up per year to maintain their results.

What are some of the common reasons you see people getting laser hair removal treatments?

We see a lot of women with facial hair growth that affects their self-esteem, as well as men getting laser hair removal due to shaving that has caused razor bumps and scars on their neck. But we treat the full body! We do scalps so men can stop wasting time shaving their heads, as well as women’s bikini lines that have darkened from shaving and waxing. Laser hair removal not only stops hair growth and saves time from shaving, but it also prevents scarring that the hair growth causes.

You shared that once your hair turns gray it’s too late to get laser hair removal treatments. Why is that?

The laser’s heat source is attracted to pigment! Blonde, gray, and white hair doesn’t have enough pigment to attract the laser heat to absorb in the follicle and destroy it. Electrolysis is the only method that works on gray hair.

How can you tell if someone is qualified to perform the treatment?

I recommend asking for before and after pictures of patients with the same skin tone as you treated by that technician.

Ask them how long they have been operating that particular laser as well as how many patients they have performed treatments on. I also recommend asking if you can get a test spot during your consultation and then waiting 48 hours before scheduling your treatment to make sure that you are treated correctly and your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction.

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