Laser hair removal is an effective treatment for permanent hair removal. However, for people with darker complexions, it's important to research and prepare before undergoing this treatment. Learn some of the steps you should take and why they're important.
Do your research on the types of laser technology used. The primary risks for people with darker skin tones are permanent scarring and discoloration. Certain technology significantly decreases these risks, while others can increase it.
Typically, a standard laser is the best option for people in this category because its energy emission level is controlled. Controlled pulses are important because they don't target the melanin on the skin, which lowers the risk of discoloration. Lasers that use Intense Pulsated Light (IPL) are not recommended, because their pulses are not controlled, which means they can harm the skin's melanin. Ask the spa what type of laser technology they use.
Schedule a Test Session
In the same manner that some people have adverse reactions to certain spa treatments and others don't, traditional lasers can also affect people of color differently. Speak with the salon to schedule a test session so that you can get a better idea of how your body will react. During the session, the technician will use the laser to remove a small patch of hair on a conspicuous part of the body, such as the underarms.
Typically, after the treatment, you will wait several days to see how your skin reacts. If you don't have any problems, you can continue with the treatment. However, if you do have a reaction, the technician might need to make adjustments to your hair removal plan.
Limit shaving in the weeks leading up to your hair removal appointment, particularly if you are of African descent. People of African descent generally have curly and coarse hair. This type of hair puts you at a greater risk for ingrown hairs, as the curly pattern of the hair makes it easier for it to grow into the skin, instead of away from it.
Shaving only increases the risk of ingrown hairs. It's harder to target these hairs with a laser, which could mean that the technician will have to go over the area more than once, which can increase the risk of discoloration. Wait until a couple of days before your appointment to shave, as generally recommended by technicians.
Speak with the laser hair removal technician beforehand about any concerns you have about your complexion and the removal process.