Safe and Effective Laser Hair Removal For Dark Skin

Health News Digest

by Health News Digest | August 16, 2010 @ 01:00PM

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DarkSkinThanks to a new kind of laser procedure, a growing number of people—especially those with darker complexions—are able to receive treatment for unwanted facial and body hair.

Lasers have quickly become one of the most popular methods of removing unwanted hair from the face and body. However, until recently, the use of lasers for people with darker skin had been limited, due to such potential side-effects as pigmentary changes and scarring.

Darker-skinned populations suffer from a higher incidence of hair-related disorders, including hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and pseudofolliculitis barbae ("beard bumps"), a condition affecting up to 80 percent of African-American men who shave regularly.

Fortunately, a new treatment is making permanent hair reduction feasible for people with all skin colors and types. Eliot F. Battle Jr., M.D., a Harvard Medical School fellow of Dermatology, conducted a study to determine how to best use lasers to remove unwanted hair from patients with darker skin, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Italians, and Mediterraneans. He found that the key to safe and effective treatment in these populations was the use of a longer pulse width, combined with aggressive skin cooling.

One laser that works, as Dr. Battle's study indicated, to treat dark skin is the LightSheer™ Diode Laser System, which delivers energy into the hair follicle very slowly to destroy the hair without causing damage to surrounding areas. The laser's patented ChillTip™ also provides contact cooling to protect the outermost layers of skin.

Treatments with the LightSheer can greatly improve these embarrassing and often painful conditions. The laser, manufactured and marketed by Lumenis Inc., can also be used for cosmetic hair removal on areas like the upper lip, underarms, and back. Permanent hair reduction with lasers provides a welcome alternative to other messy and temporary options, such as waxing, plucking and chemical depilatories. Typically, just three to five laser treatments are all that is required for permanent results.

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