Laser is the preferred method of permanent hair removal, but can everyone benefit from it?
The combination of light skin colour and dark hair is ideal. Why? Laser destroys dark hair better than lighter hair because the darker the hair root is, the more laser is attracted to it. However, it could also be attracted to dark pigment in the skin itself which could cause damage. Therefore, lighter skin will tolerate higher treatment levels and will respond more quickly because of it. Dark skins can benefit equally from laser provided that the hair is relatively coarse. In fact, skins that are Fitzpatrick type IV with coarse hair, can have superior results, often requiring fewer than the recommended 6 – 8 treatments. This is because the hair in dark skins is intensely black. Body hair responds very predictably, and facial hair less so. It is recommended for darker skins to begin with laser before they proceed to electrolysis if there is a significant amount of coarse hair. Is it safe? Hyper-pigmentation is a skin’s response to injury, and the treatment of a follicle with heat is just that on a very small scale. Fitzpatrick type V skins may react this way, resulting in a speckled or mottled appearance for a number of weeks or even months. Generally Type IV do not. Laser may be less likely to cause hyper-pigmentation in dark skins than electrolysis will. Finer hair will respond well to electrolysis with very minimal after effects while coarser hair responds more slowly and with temporary hyper-pigmenting (due to the higher power setting necessary to treat coarse hair). The converse is true for laser, which achieves best results with coarse hair.
Is it possible that the laser could stimulate hair? Studies indicate that ‘paradoxical stimulation’ very occasionally occurs. The same question arises about electrolysis. Although at Genie Solutions we are vigilant, we have not found any clear cut cases. What we do observe is that stress can stimulate hair growth, as well as certain health conditions, weight gain, natural hormonal changes and medications. Waxing and tweezing are also culprits. Often fear about hair growth tempts one to consider all kinds of causes; shaving, climate, sunlight, diet and more, none of which are.
If there is a concern about laser hair stimulation occurring, treatment frequency should be limited and the client should not shave before a treatment.