Laser is a light-based treatment and like any light it is attracted to darker pigmented objects and reflected by lighter fairer objects.
In the body our hair and skin colour are made up of melanin and the more melanin our skin or hair contains the darker it is.
Therefore, the perfect candidate for laser to work, is to have dark hair to attract and absorb the maximum amount of heat from the laser, and light skin to encourage the laser light to focus solely on the hair follicles. It will not work on grey, white, light blonde or ginger hairs as it will not be able to pick up on any melanin.
An example of this is to picture a hot sunny day. If I was to wear black top and black trousers, I am going to attract the sunlight and feel very hot, however If I was to wear white top and white trousers, I would reflect the sunlight keep me cooler. This works the same with hairs, the darker the thicker the hair the more effective the laser will be. The lighter the finer the hair the less effective the laser will be.
Bareskin told us that the bigger the contrast between hair and skin colour is also more beneficial. If the skin is light and the hair is dark it will be easier for the laser to attack the hair whilst keeping the skin at a very low risk of damage. However, if the skin is dark and the hair is dark then the laser will be attracted to both skin and hair therefore lower settings have to be used to protect the skin which means results can take longer to see.
Some laser machines can now be used safely and effectively on afro Caribbean skin types and successful results can be achieved however it is important to remember that due to the nature of how the laser works, it is likely that a permanent reduction will take a lot longer on average to see.
This is the same if the skin is pale and the hair is light, the laser will be completely reflected from the area having very little impact.
We cannot laser over tattoos, regardless of colour or size. Due to laser being attracted to darker pigment, the laser would cause burns and blistering if it was to be applied to an area with a tattoo. If the tattoo is small then the laser can be carried out safely around the area. However, if the tattoo is large and there is a risk of the laser touching the tattoo then we could not carry out treatment near that area.
If you suffer from keloid scaring, depending on skin type and hair colour, we do not always recommend laser.
Finally, if you’re pregnant although the treatment is safe, it is recommended to wait until after the birth of your baby before carrying on with laser treatments. This is mainly due the fact that laser hair removal and its outcomes can be dependent on hormones and during pregnancy hormone fluctuation can course hair growth, having a negative result on laser effectiveness, so it is best to wait until hormones resettle after pregnancy to get the best results.