With so many hair removal options out there, you might wonder which is the right one for you. Laser hair removal has a leg up against other hair removal methods as it is one of the only methods offering permanent hair reduction.
If you have unwanted body hair, you’re a candidate for laser hair removal, right?
Not so fast!
There are a few things to consider when deciding if laser hair removal is the right hair removal option for you..
In short, almost everyone is a candidate for laser hair removal. Individuals with lighter skin, darker hair, and are committed to following a treatment program are the best candidates.
Below, we’ll go into the finer details of what makes a great laser hair removal candidate.
If you’re looking into laser hair removal, here is what you should consider prior to making an appointment or buying an at-home device for laser hair removal.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
Hair removal lasers target melanin, the pigment that gives your hair its color. During treatment, the laser focuses a highly concentrated beam of light directly to the hair follicle. This is done in pulses to the entire area to be treated.
Over time, the hair follicles are damaged and hair growth stops. If you desire long term hair removal results, this is the method for you. What’s the difference between laser, IPL, and electrolysis?
As you can imagine, since the laser targets melanin, you may run into issues if your skin color is significantly darker than your hair. Luckily, technology has advanced and most people are now eligible for laser hair removal.
When considering laser hair removal, it’s important to identify your skin type. Many at home devices and salons suggest the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale when determining whether or not you are a candidate for laser hair removal. Skin types I-IV on the Fitzpatrick scale are the easiest to work with, and typically see the best results.
If you have lighter skin but are tanned, you need to wait until you are no longer tanned before undergoing laser hair removal. Self-tanner and lotion also counts, so avoid this as well. Save yourself the time, and avoid sun exposure if you are considering laser hair removal!
If you have darker skin, hope is not lost! You may still be a candidate.
Laser Hair Removal for Darker Skin
Today, there is a variety of lasers with varying wavelengths. The longer the wavelength, the better the laser can bypass the skin’s surface, but still target the melanin in the hair follicle. The most commonly used laser for use on darker skin tones is the Nd:YAG. Read through our guide to laser hair removal for dark skin.
This is very important when looking for a professional. Since there are risks involved, a professional will be able to determine what laser, pulse duration, and other specifics based on their experience and consultation. You should even ask for a patch test to ensure safety prior to getting a full treatment.
Hair Type and Color
Hair removal lasers work best on dark, coarse hair. Some with blonde, gray, or red body hair might not achieve desired results when undergoing laser hair removal. Lighter hair is more difficult to treat, and will require more time, money, and sessions. Even with the extra effort, there is not a guarantee that you will be happy with the results. White or grey hair might be untreatable, as no pigment exists.
Other individuals who might run into difficulties are those with very fine and thin hair. For example, “peach fuzz” hairs are untreatable. Be aware that you might not see the results you hope for if you are trying to treat fine hair.
Another important thing to consider regarding hair type is the location of the hair. The eyebrow is the only area that cannot be done.
Your hair type and color can affect your candidacy. If you have concerns, a professional can evaluate your hair to determine if you’re the right fit.
We hope we aren’t scaring you with this one, but it might be a good ideas to consider your pain tolerance when determining if you’re a candidate. Every person is different, and there are many mixed reviews when it comes to laser hair removal.
Some find it quite painless, others have likened it to having a rubber band snapped against your skin, and some find the pain unbearable. Since the laser is attracted to darker pigments, it is likely that those with very dark hair will experience a burning or stinging sensation. Consider this when undergoing laser hair removal, as you will need multiple treatments for results.
If you have pale skin and dark hair, you’ll be less likely to experience other side effects such as irritation, redness, and skin damage. This is why we suggest those with darker skin or light hair refer to a professional.
For more information on how to choose a professional salon, check out our tips for how to choose your laser hair removal center.
At-Home devices allow you to remove unwanted body hair in the privacy and comfort of your own home. It also allows you to afford professional results at just a fraction of the price.
If you’re considering laser hair removal, you might want to research different at-home devices that are currently on the market. Technology for these devices have definitely advanced over the years, and you really can achieve desired results. Here is our review of the Tria Beauty 4X Laser.
It is worth noting that at-home devices also typically recommend lighter skin tones and darker hair for effective use. If you’re curious if you fall into this category, once again refer to the Fitzpatrick scale. Most devices are for individuals who fall between I-IV. In fact, many devices now have safety features that will prevent them from pulsing if your skin is too dark. We don’t want you to waste money on a device you can’t use, so we recommend doing your research.
Another thing to consider is that some don’t respond to laser hair removal. While you might appear to be a great candidate, you might not respond to the treatment and hair might regrow. Determine, for the cost, if this is a risk you are willing to take.
Many will need multiple treatments before seeing desired results, and laser hair removal can be a pricy operation. You will likely need to commit to 4-5 treatments. A professional, based on your hair and skin type, will decide how many treatments you will need.
Those who are committed to sticking to a series of treatments, with lighter skin and darker hair will be the best candidates for laser hair removal. If you can’t afford a pricey salon, you can try an at-home device. Be aware, that these at-home devices are still designed for those with lighter skin and darker hair.
As we mentioned above, if you do have darker skin, you are still a candidate for laser hair removal. Find a salon with the right lasers and a professional who has experience working with darker skin. Do a small test patch before committing to a large area.
If you have any questions about whether or not you’re a candidate, it’s always safest to make an appointment at a salon you trust. A professional can evaluate you in person, and you are less likely to end up with side effects such as skin damage or swelling if you do your research properly.