SHR for dark skin : is it possible?
Laser hair removal therapy for people of colour was somewhat unheard of only a few decades ago. Lasers were not manufactured with melanin in mind and were thus safest for individuals with fair skin and follicles of dark hair. But in the years since the early aughts, technology has advanced tremendously. Thanks to the growing focus on inclusivity and technological advancements, for those whom laser hair removal was a no-go are now finally able to get the treatment.
Nevertheless to ensure that they receive the safest laser treatment, it is also equally important for those with dark skin to be well-informed. Raise your concerns; do not hesitate to ask the technician specific questions and follow the right pre/post procedure guidelines.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Laser radiates intense light to the follicle, causing permanent damage so that hair does not grow anymore. But because they target the hair pigment, the contrast between dark hair and lighter skin helps the laser focus on its bullseye, someone with fair skin and dark hair has historically been the perfect candidate. The key disconnection was that hair follicles and skin pigment were not adequately differentiated by the lasers, so patients who are dark-complected could be at risk of scarring, light blisters, discolouration, and more. For that reason, it's important that you go to an expert that carries that right laser device.
Super Hair Removal, SHR differs from the standard laser technology. It does not depend on the colour pigment of the hair alone. Using a side to side motion technique, SHR steadily heats the skin until the optimal amount of energy is supplied to the hair follicle. As the low energy light is pulsed through the skin, the applicator is brushed back and forth continuously around the specified field, ensuring maximum coverage. As opposed to conventional lasers, hair follicles are not affected by a single high energy pulse, but by repetitive application of 20-30 low energy shots that raise the temperature of the dermis gradually and for longer. This ensures that hair stem cells and blood supply are specifically targeted - causing terminal damage. As a result, re-growth of the hair are prevented.
So it’s okay for dark skin…right?
SHR is safe for both lighter and darker skin types. Alma Soprano XL was designed specifically for laser hair removal. It dispense lasers of 810nm diode and is FDA cleared to treat all skin types, namely skin types between I to IV. For skin type V and beyond, the effects may vary. Many earlier laser technologies for hair removal can cause skin discoloration, especially in patients with darker skin tones. However, because of the unique technology behind the Alma Soprano XL, the hair removal treatments are safe for almost all skin types and can be performed any time of year. The bonus of this machine is that they have settings that allow a constant pulse to go in rather than a hard targeted pulse like other lasers. This means with a good technician, who knows how to set the machine properly, this can result in stronger better treatment for darker skinned customers.
SHR with the Alma Soprano XL is a safe procedure. Most experience no significant discomfort and only feel a warming sensation on the skin. This is primarily due to the unique cooling technology incorporated into this laser for hair removal, which makes the procedure comfortable and prevent damaging healthy tissues of surrounding areas.
The procedures are relatively quick. Each treatment takes between 15 minutes to an 1 hour, depending on the targeted area. For better outcomes, successive sessions are generally recommended for 5-8 times. Each spaced out about 4 weeks apart. Multiple treatment sessions are necessary because hair on the body grows in cycles, and while some follicles may be growing hair, others may be in a resting phase. To achieve optimal results, it is best to focus on the same stage per session.
Visible results will vary depending on individual’s skin type, hair type, hormones and hair cycle. Some customers experience noticeable effects just after a few treatments! However, individuals with finer hair texture or lighter colour follicles may have their efficacy impacted. Likewise, individuals with hormonal changes including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome condition can also trigger renewal of their hair growth. These individuals can still achieve excellent results, however they may require a longer treatment and maintenance programme. This will be promptly addressed by the therapist during the initial stage of consultation.
Alright! What are the steps I need to prepare?
Shaving is required 2-12 hours prior as SHR is most effective during the active growth stage. Any sooner can result in heightened sensitivity during the process. Avoid bleaching, tanning cream, plucking, waxing, epilation and any other forms of hair removal for 3-4 weeks prior. Also, clients must advise the SHR therapist of any current intake of medication or medical conditions for appropriate advise.
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