Until very recently laser hair removal was really only suited to people with light skin and dark hair. However recent developments now mean that almost anyone can get good results provided the most modern laser machines are used. Even people with darker skins and grey hair are now suitable as candidates although best results are still achieved for those with lighter skin and darker hair. It is still the case however that you should attempt laser hair removal when you skin is at its lightest color i.e. you are not tanned and have not recently been in the sun. This will be the time when you are likeliest to achieve the best results and need the least number of treatments to achieve a permanent result.
Certain medical conditions can prevent you from being a suitable candidate for laser hair removal. These include lupus, diabetes, active herpes infection etc. Medical advice should be sought in these cases.
When you visit a laser hair removal clinic your skin will be classified according to a scale called the “Fitzpatrick Chart” a system that classifies you according to how light or dark your skin is:
TYPE I: Very pale and prone to burning, never tans.
TYPE II: Very sensitive to sun, often burns, hard to tan.
TYPE III: Sensitive to sun, sometimes burns, tans slowly to light brown color.
TYPE IV: Not particularly sensitive to sun, rarely burns, tans to moderate brown.
TYPE V: Not sensitive to sun, rarely burns, tans well.
TYPE VI: Insensitive to sun, never burns, deeply pigmented.
For skin types I, II, III, and IV results will be excellent provided that their hair color is black or brown. On lighter hair colours such as red, blonde and grey only the most modern laser technology is likely to have successful permanent results. For skin types V and VI which were not traditionally associated with successful permanent results from laser hair removal methods an opinion should be sought only from doctors offering the removal using the latest technology.
It is important to remember that good results may be achievable for non traditional candidates, but that it may require more consultations and shopping around to find the right doctor by visiting several laser hair removal clinics. You should ask to see photographic evidence of results achieved for other patients before parting with any money and should also query that type of machine that is being used in the clinic. Some clinics have been known to promise results that are not actually achievable. Also remember that laser hair removal should be thought of as permanent hair reduction rather than complete permanent hair removal for all hair and skin types.