Why worry about shaving, ingrown hairs, expensive razors, or painful waxing? Laser Hair Removal is comfortable, effective, permanent AND affordable. Learn how we selected a laser technology specific for common skin types in Hawaii, how laser hair removal works – and how affordable it is!
In the past decade, laser hair removal has rapidly grown to become one of the most popular aesthetic procedures. In fact, there was a 51 percent spike in laser hair removal procedures from 2012 to 2014, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. While laser hair removal technology has been around for approximately two decades, we are still learning how to best treat patients effectively including individuals with dark skin and hair.
EVALUATING LASER OPTIONS
A study at Scripps Clinic concluded that the best laser hair removal treatment for all skin type (including dark skin) is a 1060nm diode laser.
At Ko’olau Clinic we use a dual diode laser than delivers laser energy at both 805nm and 1060nm giving us the capability to treat the widest range of skin types.
Longer wavelengths are better at treating darker hair and skin, while shorter wavelengths are better for lighter hair and skin. That is why we have BOTH!
Treating dark skin successfully requires a skilled practitioner and the correct laser. Anyone can all treat dark skin but giving them a result without any side effects is the challenge. At Ko’olau Clinic, we researched and selected a laser that is best suited to treat the common skin types we see here in Hawaii’s diverse population. With a dual diode laser, we can safety treat most skin types.
During the consultation, making an assessment of your skin condition is crucial. For some individuals we may recommend to treat a small a test-patch and waiting 24-48 hours wait before treatment. Darker skin types have a one to two day delay in side effects. We can start on a low-fluence and gradually tease the skin to accept a higher fluence which allows us to safely treat nearly all skin types.
For many, the promise of a permanently stubble-free bikini line simply isn’t worth the wrath of a laser that stings like a box jelly. That’s why Ko’olau Clinic introduced the Light Sheer Duet (Starting at $50). Our laser utilizes vacuum-assisted High-Speed Integrated Technology (HIT)™ which reduces discomfort.
In mili-seconds prior to delivering the laser energy, the skin is pulled by a vacuum against the hand-piece. This offers multiple benefits, first means you only feel a quick sensation of the vacuum, not the pain of older-type lasers. It also increases speed and effectiveness of the treatments. Small areas like underarms only take 1-5 minutes.
A smaller attachment is required for certain crevices, and a patented cooling tipped system minimizes irritation, and aesthetic Nurse Vicki Garrett’s Soul Cycle–instructor–like encouragement—“You’re doing great!” “Almost done!”—gets you through it.
FITZPATRICK SKIN TYPING
The Fitzpatrick Skin Type is a classification system used to determine your skin’s response to UV radiation exposure. In general individuals with light skin, and dark hair are the easiest to treat. However with our advanced LightSheer diode laser we can overcome the higher epidermal melanin concentrations in dark skin providing safe, comfortable and efficacious treatments. *Laser will not treat white hair.
Fitzpatrick skin type 1
- skin color (before sun exposure): ivory
- eye color: light blue, light gray, or light green
- natural hair color: red or light blonde
- sun reaction: skin always freckles, always burns and peels, and never tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 2
- skin color (before sun exposure): fair or pale
- eye color: blue, gray, or green
- natural hair color: blonde
- sun reaction: skin usually freckles, burns and peels often, and rarely tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 3
- skin color (before sun exposure): fair to beige, with golden undertones
- eye color: hazel or light brown
- natural hair color: dark blonde or light brown
- sun reaction: skin might freckle, burns on occasion, and sometimes tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 4
- skin color (before sun exposure): olive or light brown
- eye color: dark brown
- natural hair color: dark brown
- sun reaction: doesn’t really freckle, burns rarely, and tans often
Fitzpatrick skin type 5
- skin color (before sun exposure): dark brown
- eye color: dark brown to black
- natural hair color: dark brown to black
- sun reaction: rarely freckles, almost never burns, and always tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 6
- skin color (before sun exposure): deeply pigmented dark brown to darkest brown
- eye color: brownish black
- natural hair color: black
- sun reaction: never freckles, never burns, and always tans darkly
PREPARING FOR TREATMENT
Sunscreen is an imperative element for everyday skincare even if you aren’t undergoing laser hair removal, but if you elect to have the treatment done, it’s absolutely necessary. Our aesthetics nurse, Vicki Garrett BSN, RN suggests applying a broad spectrum SPF that protects against both UVA and UVB rays daily — even on an overcast day or a day when you on’t expect to spend a lot of time outside. You’re better off safe than sorry!
Untanned skin that has been shielded from the sun for a few weeks is best, but we know that just isn’t possible in our beautiful tropical weather! We recommend avoiding treatment if sunburned, or you were just at the beach. Prepare for laser treatment by wearing sunscreen and avoiding prolonged sun exposure or tanning beds. Sun exposure makes the skin darker and more sensitive to heat, which we want to avoid in laser treatment.
And if after laser hair removal you experience routine dry skin, Nurse Vicki says you should use a fragrance-free lotion to keep your skin hydrated.
If you wax, we recommend avoiding waxing for at least one week to two weeks prior to your visit. You will need to shave 24-48 hours prior to the visit depending on how quickly your hair grows. For the best results avoid using sunless tanner. The lighter the skin the more effective the laser is at targeting your hair follicles. On the day of treatment, clean the skin prior to your visit but leave it free of lotions or cosmetics.