Laser Hair Removal for Different Skin Types

Posted on: October 31, 2023

Laser hair removal is a very popular treatment used by men and women of all ages looking for a long-lasting hair removal solution. During this treatment, unwanted body hair is removed using a laser machine, targeting the hair follicle at the root for long-term hair reduction in the treated area. This is a popular solution for people who are looking for permanent hair removal for the arms, legs, face and stomach, to name a few.

It works by targeting the hair follicles with laser energy, which is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in the hair, ultimately damaging the follicles to inhibit hair growth. However, the effectiveness and safety of laser hair removal can greatly depend on a critical factor: your skin type. To make things more complicated, not all laser machines are created equal.

The good news is, by informing yourself about the different types of laser hair removal technologies, and by understanding your unique skin type, you can avoid wasting money on disappointing outcomes and get the hair-free results you’re looking for!

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal involves targeting pigment in the hair follicles with concentrated beams of light. The laser light generates heat which damages the follicles, destroying their ability to grow new hair. Multiple sessions are usually needed to achieve a long-term reduction in hair, since the treatment is most effective on hair that is actively growing (the active growing phase is also known as the anagen phase).

The amount of treatments you will need will depend on your skin and hair type, as well as the area you are treating. For example, while underarms might need 6 to 8 sessions, arms could need 4-6. This is due to a difference in the coarseness of the hair in these areas of the body.

Laser hair removal is most effective when used to treat people who have a high degree of contrast between their hair colour and skin tone. This is because the laser is attracted to colour, so the laser can easily target the visible pigment in your hair follicles when it contrasts with your skin tone. The level of contrast between your hair and skin tone will affect how effective laser hair removal is for you, as well as how safely it can be performed. 

The Six Skin Types and Characteristics

Skin types are divided into six distinct types that are characterized by hair colour, skin tone and the likelihood of burning or tanning in the sun. One of the most common skin type classification systems is called the Fitzpatrick scale. The Fitzpatrick scale is a method used to determine a person’s risk of burning when exposed to UV light and is also used by dermatologists to assess a person’s risk of skin cancer. 

  • Type I – Type I includes people who have red or blonde hair and blue eyes. They burn very easily in the sun and are unable to tan. People with Type I skin often have freckles and extremely fair or pale white skin.
  • Type II – Type II includes people who have fair sandy or red hair and green or blue eyes. They burn when exposed to the sun but can sometimes maintain a tan. These people may also have freckles and have fair or white skin.
  • Type III – People with Type III skin have brown, fair or sandy hair and blue, green or hazel eyes. They are slower to burn and can maintain a tan. This skin type is the most common in North America and includes people with medium or olive skin.
  • Type IV – Type IV includes people with dark brown hair and green, brown or hazel eyes. They are slow to burn in the sun and they tan very easily. These people have olive skin. 
  • Type V – People with Type V skin have dark brown or black hair and brown or dark brown eyes. They may never burn and they tan extremely easily. This skin type includes people with brown skin. 
  • Type VI – Type IV includes people with black hair and dark brown eyes. They have deeply pigmented dark brown or black skin. They never burn in the sun and tan easily. 

Laser Machines for Different Skin Types

There are four different types of laser machines that are commonly used for laser hair removal treatments: Alexandrite, Ruby, Diode and Nd:YAG lasers. Each type of machine is best for treating a different range of skin types. 

The Alexandrite laser is the most common type of laser machine used for hair removal. Alexandrite machines can only treat skin types from 2-4. This makes it incompatible for anyone with very fair or darker skin types. Two other common types of laser machines are Ruby and Diode. Ruby laser machines can only be used to treat lighter skin types from 1-3, while Diode laser machines can only be used to treat darker skin types from 4-6. 

Nd:YAG (Neodymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnet) laser machines are known for their versatility as they are suitable for a wide range of skin types. Nd:YAG lasers have a longer wavelength (1064 nm), which makes them suitable for treating a wide range of skin types, including darker skin tones. This longer wavelength is less likely to affect melanin in the skin, reducing the risk of unwanted pigmentation changes or burns. 

Why Nd:YAG Laser is Our Top Choice for Laser Hair Removal

If you’re looking for the best laser hair removal in Ottawa, keep in mind that the equipment used will play a huge role. At You Derma, we love the Nd:YAG because this top of the line laser can be used to treat almost every skin type safely and effectively, all while providing long-lasting results. It also is effective at targeting coarse, dark hair, making it suitable for those who have thicker or more stubborn hair.

Since laser machines target the colour in the hair follicle, some may be unsafe for darker skin types as the machine may also accidentally target the pigment in the skin. This can lead to burning or peeling of the skin. The Nd YAG machine heats the hair follicle, however its absorption into skin pigmentation is poor, reducing any risk of burning or injury. This makes laser machines with Nd:YAG laser modes the most versatile — being both an effective machine choice for those with skin types 4-6, while also being able to easily and effectively treat people with skin types 1-3. 

Nd:YAG lasers also provide long-lasting hair reduction results, with many individuals experiencing a significant reduction in hair growth after a series of treatments. This treatment also is less likely to come with common side effects such as temporary redness or swelling, making recovery quick and painless!

You Derma Medical Aesthetics Clinic Offers Laser Hair Removal in Ottawa for All Skin Types 

We believe that everyone deserves to feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin. At You Derma Medical Aesthetics Clinic in Ottawa, we pride ourselves on being able to offer services in a comfortable, safe environment for patients of all ages, genders and skin types. 

This is why  we use Clarion’s Fotona Laser for all of our Ottawa laser hair removal treatments. By using Nd:YAG technology, we can ensure our laser treatments are effective and safe for all skin types, so that you can see the results you are looking for. We also offer a complimentary consultation for anyone looking to learn more about laser hair removals. Book your Ottawa laser hair removal treatment here. 

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You Derma is a Medical Aesthetics Clinic offering laser hair removal, facial treatments, laser treatments, and cosmetic injectables in Ottawa.

Visit Our Medical Aesthetics Clinic in Manor Park

435 St. Laurent Blvd Suite 204
Ottawa, ON K1K 2Z8

(613) 741-0073

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