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I would like to know if they can use the laser hair removal treatment on black skin...

Q:

I would like to know if they can use the laser hair removal treatment on black skin. I'm black but I have light skin and I wanted the hair removed from below my belly button on up to my breasts. It is so unattractive to have hair in those places.

A:

Laser hair removal is an excellent procedure for the removal of unwanted hair. The procedure works best with very dark hair and very light skin. The laser works by the absorption of light energy by the hair follicle, and the destruction of the follicle by the ensuing energy. The darker the skin, the more the interference with the transmission of the laser light energy through the skin and to the follicle. In addition, the darker the skin, the more the laser will have an effect on the melanocytes or pigment cells of the skin. This can lead to some discoloration to the treated skin. It is best to talk to your plastic surgeon about the capabilities of the laser that he or she uses for laser hair removal and the experience with "darker skin" individuals. He or she will be able to discuss other options with you.

Richard J. Greco, M.D.
Savannah, GA

A:

 

Dark or tanned skin requires a laser with a long pulse. A longer pulse means that more of the laser energy is delivered to the root of the hair rather than to the surface of the skin where pigmentation problems might occur with lasers designed to treat light skin.

 

In my Raleigh, NC medical spa we use the GentleYag by Candela lasers. We have had great success treating afrian-americians with this laser.

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