While the model and Instagram star Chrissy Teigen might not mind shaving twice a day, permanent hair removal is a game-changer for most women, especially in the summer months. But until recently there weren’t many options for those with darker skin tones. Fortunately, the industry has advanced and there plethora of lasers available making laser more accessible and effective for all (all most).
Light based hair removal, including IPL (Intense Pulse Light) and laser use specific wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the pigment in your hair. The light travels down the hair shaft until it reaches the root, where the build up of heat kills the cells in the roots. While IPL scatters the light rays and is less predictable, lasers provide an intense beam of light and are thought to be more effective in their results.
While the principal hasn’t changed, the quality and efficiency of the machines have advanced. “They are more precise and faster,” says the laser expert and skin specialist Debbie Thomas. “Plus, they’re better at cooling down the skin, which results is safer, less painful treatments.” The goal for manufacturers now is to create a device able to treat a larger area with little irritability to make the sessions more tolerable,” explains Nicholas of Pure Skin Beauty Salon “At the moment, patients are usually required to have around 6 sessions.”
For years laser hair removal was a luxury for those with pale skin and dark hair as the bigger the colour contrast the more successful the treatment. Fortunately, technology has come a long way and now there is a laser hair removal system that works on virtually all skin tones and hair types.
For light-to-medium skin tones: If you have pale to Mediterranean tones, you can use most of the light devices available as long as there is a contrast between the colour of your hair and your skin. The experts at Pure Skin Beauty use Soprano Ice Platinum, which is one of the most renowned brands and offer various lasers for different areas of your body.
For darker skin tones: If you’re black, Asian or Indian, you need to be more specific with the type of laser you opt for and skip IPL altogether. Nicholas recommends a Soprano Ice Platinum Laser, which uses all three wavelengths and is less aggressive on the skin. In their clinic Pure Skin Beauty uses the Soprano Ice Platinum, which works as long as the hair is darker than your skin tone.
The exceptions: “If you have blonde, white or grey hair, the treatment will have little or no effect,” says Nicholas. Red hair is another tricky colour to treat. While it’s not impossible, the results are more varied.
The Soprano Ice Platinum works on all wavelengths and is fine for all skin types and body parts. It can even be used on tanned skin, unlike most lasers.
Laser hair removal is now painless. With the newer machines, you will have less no time and can still enjoy the gym after.