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Jennifer Roberts

Safe Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin Types!

Many people believe that laser hair removal doesn’t work for people with darker skin types. However, think again! This is just an ancient myth associated with laser hair removal. People with dark skin are often discouraged from getting laser hair removal procedures because of the reputation for damaging dark skin. Luckily that’s far from the truth. 


Recent advances in laser hair removal reveal new technology and techniques that have made it possible to treat nearly all skin types and tones. Now people who were told for years that laser hair removal isn’t an option for them are finally able to get treated with ease. Furthermore, certain skin and hair conditions that require medical laser hair removal treatment are more common in dark skin types.


So why was this procedure so problematic with dark skin in the first place?  Laser hair removal works by using the laser’s intense light to cause permanent damage to your hair follicles so it can no longer grow back. However, this works by targeting the pigments within your hair. It is the contrast between the darkness of your hair and the lightness of your skin. It helps the laser focus and hit the fair follicles perfectly. Making the ideal candidate someone who has dark hair and light skin. 


In the past, women of color have had to gamble with the success of laser hair removal. The device had trouble distinguishing the difference between the pigment in the skin and the hair. Meaning the laser could possibly damage dark skin by causing light or dark spots, blisters and even scarring. Luckily, much more sophisticated lasers have been invented since making laser hair removal accessible for all skin types. Whether you are in Montreal or Miami, your skin type is able to get laser hair removal. 


What laser’s should I look for? In recent years the Nd:YAG and diode lasers have been implemented to work for darker skin types. The Nd:YAG laser works by bypassing the pigmentations that are present in dark skin. The lasers know to pass the melanin in your skin, making it a very effective laser for dark skin. 


The diode laser has some perks of its own as well. Dermatologists say it may be more complicated for anyone who lands above a 4 on the Fitzpatrick scale. The Fitzpatrick scale is the standard measure of skin types that are used by dermatologists.



In darker-skinned patients, the diode laser’s energy had to be administered slowly per pulse, leaving the skin time to cool down. The laser is also equipped with an instant cooling device that protects the skin’s pigments from overheating and becoming damaged. Certain ethnic skin types can utilize the diode laser but this type of laser can only accurately target the correct melanin if the proper cooling attachments are integrated with highly specific and slowed pulses. 


In my opinion the Nd:YAG laser is the more effective laser that’s on the market for dark skin types. The longwave length allows it to bypass color in the skin and successfully target your hair follicles. A trained professional will have the knowledge needed to adjust the setting of the laser to provide the best treatment results. 


You will obviously want to minimize the chance of developing the most common laser-related side effects for dark skin: hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation or dark spots. These side effects are proven to be difficult to reverse. If you want to be on the safe side ask your laser hair removal specialist to do a test patch first to see how your skin will react. 


You’re probably curious as to how much this procedure will cost you. You should expect to need at least six sessions of laser hair removal for it to be permanent. Although darker skin can sometimes require more treatments than fair-skinned people, everyone is different. Your Montreal specialist should let you know just how many sessions you will need. The average cost per session in Montreal is around $293. However, this cost will vary depending on which area of your body you are targeting. Generally the larger the area, the larger the price.  At many practices, there is no cost difference for each type of laser, but it will vary. Talk to your specialist to determine the best process for your specific skin type. 


While I am always the one to search for a coupon before making an appointment, this is not the situation to do so! Trust me when I say this is not a procedure to cheap out on. Paying top dollar to see an expert laser hair removal specialist will ensure your skin isn’t harmed during the process. Furthermore, you will be provided with lasting results.


Once you have picked a specialist in Montreal you will need to prepare your skin for treatment. You will need to stop using your regular skincare products that contain harsh ingredients like glycolic and salicylic acids. You will need to stop using these products at least 5 days before your treatment because they can make your skin more sensitive to the lasers. You should also avoid being in the sun for extended periods of time. Getting a tan will put more pigment into your skin which can cause a different reaction to the laser.


Tips for new laser hair removal patients:

Be sure to tell your specialist about tattoos, micro makeup, and pigmented lesions

* Discuss potential risks for scarring and hyperpigmentation

* Make sure to tell your specialist about skin infections or sores

* Don’t wax or pluck for 4-6 weeks prior to your appointment

The invention of longer wavelength lasers helps a greater variety of patients obtain safe and effective hair removal. Many patients with dark skin tones might not be aware of this new, revolutionary technology that’s allowing them to get laser hair removal! I hope that this article has educated you on safe and effective laser hair removal for people with darker skin types.  Don’t wait to get the smooth skin you’ve always wanted!