When is the best time to start laser hair removal?
The best time to start laser hair removal is after the summer months for most people. However this depends on your skin type. Laser hair removal works best when your skin colour is stable. Very pale and very dark skin remains pretty stable the whole year-round. These are safe to start at any time. Light -Medium skin types can change a lot throughout the year. This is most noticeable in the summer months when skin is exposed. These fluctuations will depend on how much sun exposure you have. In most cases, people will have 1-2 sun holidays from April – September. During this time they will be exposed to the sun at home and when they go away. This repeated exposure over a short period will result in a tan developing. These skin types if tanned would be safest when sun exposure is limited.
Laser can affect pale, medium and darker skin tones in different ways
If you have light-mid coloured skin you can have laser during the summer months if you don’t sun expose your treatment areas. For example the underarm area, this area is shielded from the sun the majority of the time so the skin colour is unlikely to change. In contrast, the facial area will be more difficult to keep out of the sun. For this reason, it may be a better option to start this in the autumn. It’s important to choose the best time that’s right for you before starting laser hair removal.
Skin tones are categorised into 6 different colours
How laser treats each skin type
Pale skin tones
Laser on pale skin is extremely successful. An Alexandrite laser is used to treat skin types 1-2. An Alexandrite laser is designed to absorb rapidly into melanin (dark pigment in hair). When this laser is pulsed over the skin the light from the laser targets the dark pigment contained within the hair. Due to the the contrast between dark hair and pale skin the laser finds it easy to seek out this dark pigment. Because this skin type has no melanin present in the skin it remains unaffected. Because this laser is so targeted towards melanin it is not safe for darker skin.
Medium skin tones
These skin types will be started off on Alexandrite for best results. Caution is needed for skin types 2-3 if they have recently been exposed to sun. Before sun exposure these skin types would typically be treated with an Alexandrite laser. However if a treatment area has been sun exposed and a tan has developed this laser may not be suitable. If the skin tone has changed settings will have to be adjusted for safety reasons. A patch test is needed after any periods of sun exposure for these skin types.
Darker skin tones
Laser hair removal treats dark skin safely. For skin types 4-6 an Nd:YAG laser is used. This wavelength of laser is designed to target the blood supply to the hair. This laser does not absorb into melanin like the Alexandrite. If an Alexandrite was used on this skin type too much heat from the laser would be absorbed by the skin. The YAG is focused at targeting the blood supply that connects to hair and leaves the surrounding skin unaffected. This laser filters energy into the skin bypassing melanin making this a safe treatment for darker skin types.
How changes in skin colour can affect your laser treatments
A course of laser hair removal takes several months to complete. At the start settings on the laser are selected based on skin tone and hair colour. A safe setting is established when you have your first patch test. If your skin tone was to change after this point this setting would not be safe to use. If there is a change another patch test must be performed and settings adjusted for safety reasons. After each treatment settings are increased the whole way through your course. As hair is becoming lighter and finer this is necessary. Due to this more energy is needed in order to target hairs. If skin colour changes midway through your course when settings have been increased this may pose a risk to your skin.
You choose when is the best time to start laser hair removal
To get the most out of your course it’s best to start at a time that’s right for your skin type. If you have a medium skin type and know that you have sun holidays coming up it’s best to wait until after you come back. If you start at a time that is not right for you there is a chance you may become frustrated by the process. For best results treatments should be spaced out at every 4 weeks on the face and 6 weeks on the body. Treatments should be kept at these intervals for the first 5-6 sessions. If you take longer gaps than this because of sun exposure this will slow down your results temporarily. Settings after sun exposure will also have to be reduced to keep your skin safe.
We successfully treat different skin types on a daily basis. We use different types of laser to ensure we keep your skin safe. If you are unsure if your skin is ready for laser hair removal come and see us. We will assess your skin and give you honest advice. Our consultations are free of charge and you will be assessed by dedicated hair removal specialists. Patch tests are vital before you start in order to protect your skin. Book your consultation online today.