While the technology used for laser hair removal has come a long way since it was first FDA approved in the late 1990’s, there are still some circumstances where laser hair removal will not work. Before you waste any time with a free consultation (where you will likely be told that you are not a good match for laser hair removal), here is a list of factors that will prevent you from getting laser hair removal. If any of these apply to you, any reputable laser hair removal practitioner will not perform the service for you for your own safety.
While the best candidates for laser hair removal have pale skin and dark hair, advancements in technology have made it safe for people of color to undergo laser hair removal as well. However, it is still true that if you have gray/white, light red, or blonde hair, laser hair removal won’t work as well. This is because the laser targets the melanin in the hair follicle, which is the part of the hair that gives it its color. If the hair is light, the laser won’t identify the melanin, making the treatment less effective for these hair colors. While laser hair removal is not always the best bet in these instances, consider electrolysis if you have light hair–bear in mind, however, it is a longer and more expensive process than laser hair removal.
Peach fuzz also falls under the “too light” category. A lot of women think laser hair removal is viable option to rid themselves of the small white hairs that grow on their face–however, this is not the case. Again, the lasers will not pick up on light pigments, making the treatment pointless and a waste of money. In fact, it has been found that laser hair removal can sometimes stimulate hair growth on the face–so it’s best to let peach fuzz be.
The biggest no-no of all for laser hair removal is tanned skin. Even if you have dark hair, if your skin has a tan we will not be able to do a laser treatment on your skin. A laser treatment on the tanned skin can result in scarring or burning because sun exposure does not mix with lasers. The rule of thumb is to avoid the sun two weeks before and two to three weeks after a laser treatment. Wear a high, broad spectrum SPF and cover the treated area if you can’t avoid the sun in between treatments. Oh, and self-tanners, spray tans, and lotions count too, so DO NOT use these products or go to a tanning salon if you want laser hair removal. If you are using these products, you must wait at least a week to undergo laser hair removal. Again, it’s for your own safety.
Finally, if you are hoping to get laser hair removal on your eyebrow area, you’re going to be disappointed. The eye area is the only spot on the body we cannot touch with the laser–and unfortunately, that means that brows are off limits. If this was the area you were planning on targeting, bear in mind that you can get any other place on your body that you wish, so take advantage of that. Perhaps someday technology will advance to the point where the lasers will be safe enough to use on brows, however, we are just not there yet. Until then, don’t cancel your threading/waxing appointment, and don’t chuck those tweezers.
If any of these factors apply to you, you may want to consider different avenues for your hair removal needs–unless you are a sun bunny, in which case start staying inside so you can get rid of your excess hair!