What You Need To Know About Laser Hair Removal For Darker Skin Tones

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Historically, there has been a lack of education and understanding about Black skin care. Take laser hair removal, for example. According to Brigstock Skin & Laser Centre, laser machines are programmed to target the dark pigment of hair follicles, which makes it difficult to distinguish between the hair and melanated skin. This posed a hazard, making darker-skinned individuals more prone to laser burns, scars, and discoloration because "too much heat is absorbed across the whole skin instead of just the follicles," according to nurse practitioner Jill Canes (via Healthline).


And while this major flaw in beauty technology also affected those with blonde or very light-colored hair, common side effects for them were redness and some sensitivity; burns, however, were rare.

Fortunately, in recent years, the beauty industry has made great strides when it comes to honoring a wider range of skin tones in cosmetics, and there have even been improvements in laser machinery as well. Now equipped with smarter wavelengths, new laser technology can now better target Black and brown girls' unwanted fuzz.

Seek a skilled professional with the proper machinery

According to experts at Careaga Plastic Surgery, the safest laser treatment for brown-skinned babes is the Nd:YAG technology, which has proven to be one of the most successful in removing hair from melanated skin. The Nd:YAG is "a long-pulsed laser with a weaker melanin absorption rate" that goes beyond the skin's surface layer bypassing pigmentation, and therefore protecting skin from burns.


Certified skin and laser experts at My Ethos Spa say the problem with older laser hair removal machines was that their short wavelengths catered only to those with fairer skin and dark hair. Now we know that longer wavelengths with a lower frequency can still remove dark hair but will not harm dark skin.

A greater number of cosmetic professionals have gained a stronger understanding of treating darker skin and are using ND: YAG technology in their medical spas. Be sure to schedule a consultation with your aesthetician and ask about the lasers used in their machines before sitting under one.

You can safely remove hair at home

If you're more private about removing your hair and would rather do it at home, it is possible. Experts say that IPL, or intense pulsed light, machines can remove hair by producing a range of wavelengths between 500 and 1,000 nanometers (via My Ethos Spa). IPL machines are not perfect by any means, or nearly as advanced as ND:YAG technology, but there are some devices on the market that are safe for at-home use by brown babes. 


The FDA-certified MiSMON hair removal gadget is available on Amazon and uses IPL technology to permanently zap away hair. It claims to be able to remove 90% of hair in three months. For a more painless experience, JOV's X handheld gadget produces unlimited IPL laser flashes followed by a sapphire light cooling system. For a few hundred dollars more than the MiSMON, it promises to safely target hair on all skin types while also moisturizing and rejuvenating the skin.

Now melanated women no longer have to worry about burns, scars, and hyperpigmentation when zapping away unwanted hair.