Avoid Laser Hair Removal Hyper Pigmentation
One of the most unpleasant laser hair removal side effects to avoid is hyper-pigmentation. This side effect of laser hair removal can be avoided, by following some basic rules. Knowing what triggers the hyperpigmentation, and who are the high risk group to suffer from it after a hair removal treatment, can reduce the chances it will break out in a severe way.
There are many kinds of hyperpigmentation, which are caused from numerous reasons, I found 16 different reasons and causes for hyper-pigmentation on Wikipedia. Here you can read how to avoid laser hair removal hyperpigmentation, if you have a skin discoloration without doing any laser treatments to remove hair then you should seek medical advice.
Dark Skin Candidates Beware
People who have dark skin, are the high risk group for laser hair removal hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is caused when the melanocytes cells at the skin, which produce the melanin, ‘freaks out’ of control and begin to produce more and more melanin.
The melanocytes cells have an important role protecting the body from the sun. By adding a dark complexion to the skin, the sun rays get naturally blocked. People who have less melanin produced get easily sun burned (pale people get red baked skin after 1-2 hours in the sun).
Home laser systems use a laser with is a single wavelength beam (880 nanometer). This light beam can reach deep into lower skin levels, and trigger the melanocytes cells. During laser hair removal the skin is exposed to an immense light energy. The TRIA Laser for example has 24 joules of light energy, emitted at each square cm. Other home systems like the DM7000 laser by Avance has 130 joules!!
The result of using laser hair removal systems, is that the melanocytes cells feel they are under ‘blitz’, and begin to over produce melanin to help the body defend from the light.
>>So the first thing to avoid laser hair removal hyperpigmentation is to make sure you are the right candidate for the system’s specification. People with dark skin (type 4-5-6) should not use the TRIA laser system, or any other home laser systems to remove hair.
People with dark skin should use IPL systems which are approved for darker skin complexion treatments like the Me my ELOS IPL hair removal system. This system is currently the most safe hair removal system for home use for dark skin types.
Laser Hair Removal and Hyperpigmentation
The hyperpigmentation might not erupt in a severe way, if the skin is not exposed to the sun daily. The sun can do more harm and damage to trigger the hyper-pigmentation than any other reason.
Here are some safety rules which can reduce the risk of skin discoloration from laser hair removal.
Plan your hair removal treatment to winter season
Doing laser treatment at mid summer means you skin has more chances to be exposed to direct UVB sun light, which can trigger hyperpigmentation. Laser hair removal is done over 2-3 month, so plan your sessions to be during ‘dark’ short days winter month, when the sun UVB (tanning rays) are at minimum level. Your body will be smooth and hair free when the summer comes.
During the winter the body gets less sunlight and naturally less melanin is created, (that’s why we get pale during the winter) so the hyper pigmentation has less chances to appear.
Do not tan before treatments
The best candidates for safe laser hair removal treatment would be people with pale skin and dark hair. When you sun tan you ‘practice’ your melanocytes cells in producing melanin.. Tanning also makes the laser treatment less effective and more painful.. The skin tissue might get heated instead of the hair, which will cause other unwanted side effects.
Do not expose the skin to the sun after treatments
Most people do not know that the hyper-pigmentation which will develop will appear over the face an hands, even if these areas were not treated by laser!
The hyperpigmentation will develop where there are concentration of melanocytes cells. Forehead, chin, cheeks and hands have naturally more cells so the discoloration will occur there!
The most important guideline you should know and follow strictly, is to avoid the sun 2-3 days after a laser hair removal treatment. This is true especially if you have a darker skin tone.
- You should stay inside and totally avoid mid day sun light!
- Walk only in the shade.
- Wear a hat with a wide rim.
- Wear long sleeve shirts + sun glasses.
- Wear gloves when driving (your hands are exposed to endless sun light when holding the wheel).
- Use sun protection creams! The best creams that are recommended need to have UVB & UVA protection. Regular SPF +15 sunscreens are cosmetic junk and will not block the UVA rays. See recommended sunblock cream here.
You CAN avoid laser hair removal hyperpigmentation by following these rules and guidelines. Using the right system for your skin tone, planning the best time for undergoing these treatments, avoiding the sun before, during and after the treatments, will give you the highest chances to complete the laser hair removal treatments without skin pigmentation side effects!
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