A table at the bottom of this page will help you identify your compatibility to laser treatment.
The absolute necessity, to be able to follow a laser hair removal treatment, is to present a hair darker than the surrounding skin. If your hair is quite fair or slightly blond but when shaved it appears a bit darker (beige), you could consider laser hair removal after a positive opinion from you laser physician.
The easiest cases are those where conditions are best: thick and dark hairs (a lot of melanin) on a fair or non-pigmented skin. People who fit within this category will probably experience a shorter treatment of about 4 or 5 sessions. In this particular case, the laser will focus on its specific target, hair melanin; only the hair and not the skin will absorb the laser energy. It is also possible that discomfort associated with hair destruction could be reduced.
Red and Blond hairs are more difficult to treat. In most instances, it is impossible to treat them effectively. In these particular cases, if your hair is lightly pigmented, a laser treatment may take more sessions, up to 10 is not uncommon. White hair cant’ be seen by the laser beam, so it’s not treatable.
All those who follow heavy beta-carotene diets will have to change their habits in case they want to begin a laser hair removal treatment. In fact, beta-carotene in vitamin A, carrots, sweet potatoes (yams) and all orange vegetables will produce a photosensitive pigment in the skin, which will react with a melanin-targeting laser. These foods are to be discontinued during a laser hair removal treatment in order to maximize efficacy and minimize risks of complications.
Complications may also come from suntan. The skin contains a lot of melanin that will react with the laser. The melanin in the skin will compete with the melanin in the hair such as the laser beam is reacting with both, but less effectively on the hair and too effectively with the skin. The consequence of a laser session on a beautifully suntanned skin results is similar to a process in which the melanin in the skin is cooked by the laser. Since melanin is a protein included in some cells of our epidermis, when cooked, it changes color and becomes violet of Bordeaux, sometimes brown. It usually disappears in 7 to 20 days with a soothing cream but in no instance this area must be exposed to sun. SUN TAN is consequently the MAIN CONTRA INDICATION to laser hair removal treatment. Once the suntan has faded away, laser sessions may be resumed. The best season to begin a laser hair removal treatment is November through June or just before a known and prolonged sun exposure. Usually, it takes on average 2 months for a suntan to fade enough to make the skin ready for a laser treatment. Finally, real blonds who watch their hair turn a bit darker towards the end of the winter could ask their laser physician if they could be candidates for laser hair removal.
FIND OUT IF LASER HAIR REMOVAL IS FOR YOU !
Are you a good candidate for laser hair removal?
In a sophisticated and laser physicians operated laser center, you will find all laser types (not flash lamps) capable of treating fair as well as dark skins and both will reach good results.
Find out what is your photo type and your compatibility to laser treatment. For fair skins a laser emitting in 755-810nm is standard (Alexandrite or diode lasers, such as Cynosure Apogée or Candela GentleLase lasers) , for dark skins (phototypes V and VI) an NdYAG 1064 nm LP is standard (such as Cynosure Elite or Candela GentleYag):
Please note that the table above shows a probability and not what is actually possible on your skin. Only your laser physician will determine what is possible in your specific case and what laser he/she will use. That choice will be made according to: (*) New NdYAG 1064nm LP lasers such as the Cynosure Elite Modular, the Candela GentleYAG or the ALTUS CoolGlide Vantage allow dark and black skin laser hair removal without running the risk of targeting melanin. Burn marks are consequently eliminated.
-Your individual characteristics,
-Your acceptance of variable results knowing that a treatment can’t be guaranteed to yield a predefined percentage of hair reduction,
-Your desire to be treated in a center that will design a treatment protocol adapted to your needs and individual characteristics,
-Your desire to be treated in a center used to treating sensitive patients,
-Your desire to come to a center that invests in new generation lasers,
-Your desire to come to a center participating in laser medicine research often involved in clinical trials.
If your laser physician is not able to recommend a laser hair removal program for you due to specific limitations, electrolysis (electric hair removal) will be your only other effective permanent hair removal alternative.