What is Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin?

Laser hair removal is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure during which a laser specialist uses concentrated light beams to damage or destroy hair follicles in the skin. This is done by targeting the dark pigment of the hair. 

Laser hair removal for dark skin didn’t exist a few decades back. This meant conventional lasers for hair removal worked only on light skin and dark hair. When used on darker skin tones, this laser technology not only failed to produce results but also proved unsafe.

However, the advancements in laser tech now allow people of colour to benefit from this previously no-go treatment to reduce unwanted body hair. Today, individuals with darker skin tones can choose from multiple laser hair removal options to achieve desired skin appearance.

Nonetheless, it is imperative to be mindful of a few things before considering laser hair removal treatment for dark skin. 

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work for Dark Skin?

Here is a breakdown of how the process works:

The laser device emits a specific wavelength of light that is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in the hair follicle. Melanin is responsible for giving hair its colour.

After that, the absorbed light energy is converted into heat, which damages the hair follicle, particularly the cells responsible for hair growth (the hair bulb, and the hair matrix).

The damage caused to the hair follicle inhibits or delays future hair growth. It is important to note that laser hair removal is most effective on hair in its active growth phase (anagen phase).

Most laser hair removal devices come with a built-in cooling mechanism, such as a cooling gel or a contact cooling tip, to protect the surrounding skin and reduce discomfort during the treatment.

It is worth mentioning here that while laser hair removal can reduce hair density, it doesn’t remove all hair. This treatment only reduces the amount and density of hair in the treated area but doesn’t altogether remove it. 

How to Prepare For Laser Hair Removal?


First, find a reputable dermatologist. Remember, experience is crucial when choosing a practitioner. Likewise, the track record of a laser therapist also plays a vital role in assessing his value as a practitioner. And these attributes are especially important for dark skin tones. 

Share Your Ethnic Background

Aside from taking your complexion into account, the doctor will ask about your ethnicity. This is because people of different races may respond differently to laser hair removal treatment, even if their skin tone appears similar. For instance, your skin may be comparable to the mark-4 on the Fitzpatrick scale but respond to laser hair removal like a mark-6 complexion due to your particular racial background.

Be Candid During Appointment

Inform your dermatologist about any medications or supplements you are taking, as some may affect your skin’s sensitivity to the laser.

Once your appointment is scheduled, follow these instructions to prepare for the procedure. 

  • Avoid skincare products containing retinoids, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and other harsh ingredients for at least five days before the procedure.
  • Avoid sun exposure to the utmost. If you must go outdoors in the daytime, apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF to the skin.
  • Refrain from waxing, plucking, or electrolysis for at least 4 weeks prior to the treatment.
  • Shave the area to be treated 24-48 hours before the procedure. This will allow the laser to target the hair follicles effectively.
  • Avoid using any fake tanning products or self-tanners for at least two weeks before the treatment.

What Is Laser Hair Removal Post-Treatment Care for Dark Skin?

Post-procedure care is essential for ensuring the best results and minimising any potential side effects after a laser hair removal session. Here are some recommendations for post-treatment care:

  • Limit sun exposure on the treated area for at least two weeks following the procedure. And while going out, use sunscreen.
  • Laser hair removal causes redness and swelling in the treated area. Use cold compresses or ice packs on the treated area to reduce redness, swelling, and discomfort. 
  • Apply a soothing cream or gel, such as aloe vera or a topical corticosteroid, to alleviate irritation and promote healing.
  • Moreover, you must keep the treated site moisturised with solutions containing vitamins E and K and aloe vera.
  • Do not wax, pluck, or use any other hair removal methods on the treated area until your dermatologist advises it’s safe to do so.
  • Stay away from skincare products containing retinoids, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or other irritants for at least one week after the procedure.
  • Refrain from engaging in strenuous activities, such as exercise or sports, that may cause excessive sweating for at least 24 hours after the treatment.
  • Be gentle with the skin.

Your dermatologist may provide additional post-treatment care instructions based on your skin type and the specific laser hair removal procedure. Be sure to follow their recommendations closely.

Which Laser Hair Removal Machine Is Best For Dark Skin?

Several modern-day laser hair removal machines help reduce unwanted hair on dark skin, but GentleMax Pro Laser has proved to be the best among the lot. The reason is that this machine uses 755nm and 1064nm wavelengths. The 1065nm, or ND: Yag wavelength, is particularly effective in reducing hair on dark skin.

ND: Yag laser targets deeper skin layers, leaving the top layers undamaged. This allows targeting melanin deeper in the skin, usually at the hair follicles. This selective targeting means that even if you have dark skin, the laser beam won’t get absorbed and transformed into heat before reaching the intended skin depth.

Is Laser Hair Removal Safe For Dark Skin?

Laser hair removal was not a safe hair reduction procedure, particularly for people of colour. But now, this treatment is safe even for complexions falling in the 4-6 range on the Fitzpatrick Scale.

Contemporary laser hair removal devices can produce concentrated light beams of longer wavelengths in longer-duration pulses. These machines also employ cooling mechanisms to reduce side effects and improve efficacy.

Interestingly, laser hair removal can relieve the painful side effects of conventional hair removal methods, such as post-inflammatory discolouration and folliculitis.

That said, Dermatologists’ expertise still holds paramount value in ensuring procedural safety. They give your skin just the right amount of laser beam exposure and apply appropriate cooling to keep risks and complications at bay.

How many laser hair removal sessions are required to get rid of unwanted hair?

Because hair grows in cycles, and not all hairs are in the active growth phase at the same time, multiple treatment sessions are usually required to achieve optimal results. The number of sessions needed varies depending on factors such as hair colour, hair thickness, skin tone, and the treatment area.

What are the Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal Treatment?

It is possible that you may experience common complications, such as blistering, pain, or signs of infection in the treated area, which are normal and can fade away within a couple of days. However, if they persist, contact your dermatologist immediately to alleviate your symptoms. 

Bottom Line

Unwanted hair is no longer a nightmare if you are resolute in getting rid of it. The laser hair removal treatment can make your dark skin look more pleasant, charming, and attractive than before. To book your appointment, please pick up the phone and dial +971 4 394 5422