Oct 04, 2018 Heather McWilliams Comments Off on Debunking Myths About Using Laser on Darker Skin Tones
Even though there is scientific proof that laser treatments can be used on darker skin tones, there are still two myths that are doing the rounds amongst uninformed patients and inexperienced dermatologists.
Let’s look at these two myths so that you know exactly what the facts are.
Myths about laser treatments & darker skin
Myth 1: It’s not safe to use a laser on darker skin tones
Myth 2: Skin colour is the only consideration when making a decision about laser treatments
Both of these statements are untrue.
Skin colour is just one aspect that is considered when a dermatologist evaluates a patient’s skin. Ethnicity, medical history and sun exposure also all play a role in how safe and successful a laser treatment will be.
Patients will all respond differently to laser treatments depending on their genetics as well as their history of sun exposure.
If a patient with darker skin has experienced side effects from a laser treatment, it’s more likely down to the clinic’s lack of knowledge as well as the equipment that they’re using. For example, laser genesis treatments in Perth at MIRA Clinic can be performed on all skin types.
A closer look at skin
Every person has the same amount of melanocytes in their skin, regardless of their skin tone. Within the skin cells, there are structures called melanosomes and within those structures, you will find melanin. The size of the melanin, how they’re dispersed in the skin and how they’re packed into the melanosomes will all determine how someone’s skin reacts to a laser treatment.
A person’s ethnicity and their level of sun exposure will affect the melanin in the skin, which is why these factors also need to be considered before administering a laser treatment.
Patients with lighter skin tend to have smaller melanosome structures, while those with darker skin will have larger structures that are present in every layer of the epidermis and not just the basal layer, as is the case with lighter skin.
Melanocytes react to cold and heat, which means if they’re closer to the surface of the skin, there’s a greater chance of them being damaged. The melanin in the skin is what’s responsible for pigmentation changes and scarring and it responds to laser waves, which is why not all types of lasers can be used on darker skin tones.
Resurfacing, IPL and vascular lasers are not ideal for darker skin tones.
What about laser hair removal?
Again, there are laser hair removal options available to those with darker skin tones but different wave lengths will need to be used. Your professional administering the treatment will decide which wave length is preferable before your treatment.
If you do have darker skin and are considering a laser treatment, be sure to choose a reputable cosmetic clinic that has proven experience with the treatment that you have in mind. It’s also never a bad idea to ask to see photos of past patients who have a similar skin tone to yours to gauge the clinic’s experience and results.
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