Summary: A common challenge among consumers interested in laser hair removal is the confusion associated with determining which laser is most appropriate for their skin type. African American patients require a very different laser than a Caucasian skin type. The olive skin types in between – Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern and East Indian – may be appropriate for more than one type of laser. From the consumer perspective it can seem impossible to discern one laser from another, especially with every medical practice claiming that they have the latest and greatest laser for permanent hair removal. It can also be hard to decide which practices to consider for the service.


Types of Lasers for Permanent Hair Removal

Lasers work by preferentially targeting one part of the skin and leaving other areas unharmed. The concept is called “Selective Photothermolysis” and in the case of laser hair removal, light energy from the laser is absorbed in the melanin, which colors the hair, causing the base of the hair follicle to get very hot. The heat generated during the treatment disables the cell growth mechanism responsible for the development of new hair, thereby causing permanent hair removal. Because all skin is neither the same color nor hair the same coarseness, different types of lasers will have differing effects on the skin.

It’s important to differentiate these TYPES of lasers from BRANDS of lasers. There are many different laser manufacturers that make Diode lasers, but there is only one type of light produced by a Diode laser. As a consumer, it’s important to identify what type of laser works best with your skin first and then determine which practices local to you use that type. There are three common types of laser for hair removal. The Alexandrite at 755 nanometers, the Diode at 810 nanometers and the Yag at 1064 nanometers. For skin types I-III (Scandinavian – Mediterranean), the Alexandrite laser works very well and is safe. For Skin types I-IV, the Diode lasers works very well and is safe. Finally, the Yag laser is safe and effective for skin type V and VI.

It’s Not Only the Laser That Counts

Consumers sometimes become overly focused on the type of laser being used for their procedure rather than how it’s being used and by whom. Recently a patient asked, “Well, aren’t the treatments the same for everybody” while referring to the fact that as long as she gets the same lasers, she will have the same outcome. Nothing could be more wrong. Laser hair removal is a professional service with service being the key word. The laser can’t think, that’s the responsibility of the nurse physician or technician providing your treatment. The effectiveness of a treatment can vary greatly from practitioner to practitioner even when the same laser is being used. So, while the type of laser being used is very important, what’s equally important is the experience of the person performing the treatment.

Do Your Laser Hair Removal Homework

The type of laser used for your hair removal procedure is extremely important in determining whether or not you achieve permanent hair removal and there are three types of laser that are common for the job. The Alexandrite, Diode and Yag lasers are the most common and most effective types of lasers for hair removal. Although the type of laser is very important, the brand of laser is not so important as there are many brands of Alexandrite, Diode and Yag lasers. Finally, it’s best to find a medical practice that has a good number of years of experience with laser hair removal. Even if you manage to find a practice with the right type of laser for your skin, if the staff is inexperienced, you may still be at risk of not achieving permanent hair removal.

3 responses to “Which Laser for Hair Removal Best Suits Your Skin Type?

  1. I’m quite hairy. I’m actually even quite hairier than my brothers. I’ve always wanted to get rid of the hair on my arms and legs, but I’m terrified about pain and I don’t know if I should. I also have quite some stache, but it’s not that visible compared to the ones on my arms and legs. What hair removal type should I be getting?

    1. Laser hair removal is generally quite low on the discomfort scale, so it’s something you could consider–though, only a qualified cosmetic surgeon would be able to tell you whether it’s a good fit or not.

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