Laser-based skin of color treatment in Washington DC
Laser skin rejuvenation is the first choice of many people who want to restore their skin while avoiding surgical options. The choice of cosmetic laser skin treatments is easier for those with lighter skin tones than for those with skin of color.
Persons with darker skin must consider certain risk factors before opting for laser therapy, including:
- Higher injury risk of burns
- Keloid scars
- Blotchy skin
This does not mean that persons with darker skin tones should avoid laser treatments. However, it is advisable to verify if the dermatologist providing laser skin treatments has adequate experience in treating skin of color.
Laser treatment uses
Irrespective of skin tone, later therapy is used for
- Removing unwanted body hair
- Skin tightening
- Removing scars and undesirable skin pigmentation
The same laser technique cannot be applied to all skin types, irrespective of treatment being undertaken. This point is to be noted.
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Laser skin rejuvenation process
A wide range of superficial skin therapies are included in the generic term, “laser skin rejuvenation”. The main purpose of the laser in these therapies is to apply energy on skin and make its surface more appealing. Simpler techniques are applied to reduce the occurrence of
- age spots
- blemishes caused by acne
- facial veins
More complicated technology is involved in
- hair removal
- vein removal
The three possible reactions of the skin to lasers are as follows
- assimilation (the laser enters the inner tissues of the skin)
The type of laser used, and the patient’s skin tone will determine the reaction of skin to the laser. Instead of removing the skin’s outer layer, in laser skin rejuvenation, a soft laser beam enters the skin’s outer surface and stimulates collagen production below.
Laser skin rejuvenation for patients of color
A few of the lasers used are unsafe for African Americans and persons of color. Their skin types are prone to soaking too much of the laser heat, thereby damaging the skin and causing hyperpigmentation. Sometimes, due to the injury caused by the laser at specific locations, the skin forms a glossy raised permanent scar known as keloid. Other effects of laser treatments include herpes, fever blisters and cold sores.
Since certain laser skin rejuvenation treatments act upon the region below the outer layer of the skin, they offer excellent scope for patients of color to enhance their skin’s glow. Some professionals recommend using cool lasers or those with low power for dark skin tones.
Dark skin reacts fast to irritants and care should to be taken to reduce rawness, tenderness and erythema while using laser because these conditions can lead to hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
In Caucasians, such problems resolve with time, but that may not be the case with persons with dark skin. The risk of hyperpigmentation and dark spots is high. Therefore, keeping the heat below the erythema and inflammation threshold is vital.
Laser Therapy for hair removal
FDA has approved two laser wavelengths for colored skin:
- the diode laser
The diode lasers are becoming safer with each passing day but for people with dark skin, Nd:YAG continues to be the safest laser option available today. This doesn’t mean that diodes are unsafe but just that NdYAG may be the safer of the two.
Dermatologist consultation—a key step in your decision process
Despite the risk, laser skin rejuvenation offers many benefits to persons with dark skin. The best way to go forward with the treatment is to identify a dermatologist with experience offering such treatment to patients with highly pigmented skin.
They can recommend the right course of therapy for you based on your skin tone. The consultation is also an opportunity for you to clarify your concerns, which will help you decide whether laser skin rejuvenation is an option you wish to use.Back to Skin of Color Page