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Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin: Everything You Need to Know

By Viktoria
July 23, 2023
7 minutes

Everyone is opting for laser hair removal for its long-lasting results and convenience. It uses a laser to target your hair follicles and destroy them, slowing the growth of your hair, and eradicating them. But, in the past, the option was only available for light-skin-toned people. While those with dark skin had to go for shaving, waxing, or epilation.

How nice it would’ve been if this option was available to everyone, right? Well, it is now available to everyone. So, in this article, we’ll discuss the reliability of laser hair removal for dark-skin-toned people, its cost, and possible risks.

Is Laser Hair Removal Suitable for Dark Skin?

laser dark skin In the past, when laser hair removal started, it was only possible for those with light skin tones to get it done. The lasers used for hair removal are dependent upon the melanin present in your hair. But if the skin color is dark too, the laser was unable to distinguish your skin and hair pigment. So, there were chances that it could target your skin causing skin burns.

Fortunately, now there are some lasers with longer wavelengths that can work on dark skin tones without causing any damage. The lasers with longer wavelength has less energy, and better penetration without harming the skin.

So, yes! People with dark skin tones can also undergo laser hair removal to get a hairless, smooth body.

Which Are the Best Lasers for Dark Skin?

There are different types of lasers used for different skin and hair procedures. For hair removal ruby laser, alexandrite laser, diode laser, and Nd: YAG lasers are the most used ones. The type of laser depends upon your skin type. The following are the lasers most suitable for dark skin.

Nd: YAG Laser

The best one for darker skin tones is the Nd: YAG laser. It has a longer wavelength of 1064nm. This gives it an advantage over other lasers in that it can penetrate deep without disrupting your skin’s surface. This means when Nd: YAG laser is used for hair removal, it safely bypasses your skin’s pigments and targets only the melanin in your hair follicles present deep in your skin.

Diode Laser

Another laser that can be used for dark skin is the Diode laser. Although this laser can be used, it is only safe for those up to 4 levels on the Fitzpatrick Scale (a scale used to measure your skin type with a total of 6 tones). It is slightly complicated to use as the practitioner needs to deliver the energy slowly per pulse and leave time for your skin to cool down.

So, if you have any skin tone between 1-4, you can go for a diode laser but make sure the practitioner is skilled enough to use it.

Cost of Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin

laser dark skin The cost of laser hair removal for any skin tone mainly depends upon the location, area of treatment, number of sessions, and the treatment area. People with darker skin tones usually require more sessions than those with light skin and dark hair.

On average, the cost for a single session ranges between $200 to $1200 depending upon the area you are getting the laser hair removal done for. You might require 6 sessions at least or even more than this.

Furthermore, it is a cosmetic procedure so your insurance company will not cover this cost. To learn about the details of laser hair removal for each body part, click How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?

Dark Skin Laser Hair Removal Risks

Laser hair removal is safe for everyone now, but there are still some possible risks you should be aware of. Let’s get to know them.

Pigmentary Changes laser dark skin

After undergoing laser hair removal, you are prone to hyperpigmentation or even hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmentation may be the result of the wrong laser used for the treatment, or the reaction of your body caused by heat energy. Moreover, due to damage to the skin surrounding the treated area, you are also prone to hypopigmentation.

Excessive Hair Growth

You are getting your laser treatment for hair reduction, but in some cases, it can do the opposite. Some say that the exact cause is not known while others say that it might be because your hair follicles sometimes get more active after the first few sessions. It happens rarely, but it is best to know all the possible side effects.

Skin Burn and Scarring

As discussed earlier, laser hair removal depends upon the compatibility of your skin type with the laser. But, if the wrong laser is used for darker skin tones, it can cause burns on your skin and even scarring. It can also be due to a mistake on the practitioner’s end.

Precautions to Take Before Laser Hair Removal

Schedule A Consultation

Any person is now safe to go for laser hair removal, but for dark people, it is best to take some precautions. When you are choosing the right place for your treatment, you need to schedule a consultation first.

Ask the practitioner about his experience, the type of laser they will be using, and any creams or medicines you might require. You can also ask them to show the results of their previous work to ensure it is safe.

Patch Test

Practioners are skillful enough but you should still prefer to go for a patch test first. You can ask the person to perform the procedure on any area first and then wait for 2-3 days. This will help you decide if the procedure is right for you to do or not.

Shave before treatment

shave dark skin It is advised to shave before laser hair removal. It is to minimize the chances of burn, discomfort, and pain. The technicians usually prefer that the laser doesn’t reach the skin above hair follicles so when you shave, the hair above the skin is removed. As a result, you are safe from any burns. Also, don’t shave some hours before the treatment. Shave a day before it.

Avoid Chemical Products

Lastly, you need to avoid products using retinol, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. These chemicals can make your skin more sensitive and prone to reactions after the laser session.

Aftercare of Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin

Cold Compressions

You might face irritation or inflammation after your session. So, you can apply cold compressions on your skin to soothe skin and reduce inflammation. Instead of directly placing ice, you can use a towel or any clean cloth to hold the ice and apply it to the area.

Avoid Direct Sun Exposure

avoid sun exposure After undergoing laser hair removal, your skin gets sensitive and needs some time to heal. Direct exposure to the sun can increase the risk of sunburn and hyperpigmentation so prefer not to go out for some days. But, if you need to go, then make sure to apply sunscreen and wear a hat and clothes covering your whole body.

Avoid Bleaching, Plucking, or Waxing

When you bleach before your appointment, it interferes with your pigments thus complicating the hair removal procedure, Furthermore, for effective results, your hair follicles must have hair but plucking or waxing removes them entirely rendering the procedure ineffective.

Discontinue Exercise

Laser hair removal makes your hair follicles sensitive. When you exercise, sweat can irritate them or lead to the entry of bacteria. Also, the heat produced can contribute to itchiness and rashes. So, avoid exercise completely for 24 hours and then slowly start with light exercise.

Is there any Machine for At-home Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin?

Ulike Laser hair removal itself is difficult to perform, especially handling the Diode or Nd: YAG laser for dark skin. So, mostly it is done in clinics. If you want any at-home laser hair removal device, it is unfortunate to say that no devices are safe enough to use for dark skin. But, you can go for IPL devices.

IPL devices like Ulike Sapphire Air3 IPL Device can get your smooth skin in just 12 weeks without any pain. Its cooling technology soothes you and the device is enough to use for only 7 minutes per session. Those with light skin can use it. For darker skin tones, you can go for one of these:

Silk’n Infinity

The Silk’ n Infinity is clinically proven to show 92% results after completing all your sessions. It is effective for all skin tones. It comes with a Bluetooth pulse counter. So, if you want at-home hair removal for dark skin, you can go for Silk’ n Infinity.

Braun Pro 5 IPL Device

You can also check out the Braun Pro 5 IPL device that also works for all skin types and is also FDA-cleared so completely safe to use. In just 4 weeks, you can see visible hair reduction. Also, it can work for over 20 years. For a detailed review, click Braun IPL Review.


Laser hair removal for dark skin is now as effective as that for light skin tone. Normally, Nd: YAG laser is used while Diode laser can also be used for up to Skin tone. It costs up to $1200 per session and those with dark skin tones require more sessions. Although there are some risks of laser hair removal, you can minimize them with proper research, a small patch test, and taking care of your skin before and after the procedure is done.

Unfortunately at-home Laser hair removal devices for dark skin tone are not available right now but there are some IPL devices like Braun and Silk’n Infinity that works well for all skin tones.

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