No matter what anybody claims, there is NO permanent hair removal laser that can treat tanned skin. We recently had a client come up from the states that was absolutely irate because she admitted to being tanned and we refused to treat her. Why would we do that? I mean, she’s willing to pay for the treatment – why wouldn’t we take her money? Because we didn’t want to burn her! Kudos to you, Adrienne, for standing your ground!
This is the way permanent lasers like the Lightsheer work: the laser emits a beam of energy that is attracted to the melanin (pigment) in the hair follicle. Enough energy is released to destroy or permanently disable the follicle from producing hair in the future. Now, when your skin is tanned, there is excess melanin (pigment) at the surface of your skin. The laser cannot determine if the melanin is in the hair follicle or your skin. It doesn’t care. All the laser cares about is the pigment. So if the pigment is in the skin cells (rather than the hair follicle), the energy produced will be absorbed by the skin cells resulting in one or a combination of three things: 1) Permanent hypo-pigmentation meaning that when your tan fades, you will have noticeable lighter spots where the laser killed the melanin in your skin; 2) Permanent hyper-pigmentation, meaning the laser didn’t kill the melanin, and when your tan fades, you will be left with square freckles because the laser only damaged the melanin in your skin and made it worse; 3) The energy (heat) from the laser is too intense and cannot be released due to the amount of melanin in your skin cells and you will be left with blistering burns that can leave permanent scars.
This is something we stress in consultation and ask every time someone comes in for re-treatment. “Do you have sun exposure?” or “You cannot be tanned and receive Lightsheer treatment for X reason”. For some reason, this particular customer couldn’t understand why we would be looking out for their best interest and not for our own wallet. To us it makes more sense to say no to treatment than to risk permanently damaging our clients skin. I simply can’t wrap my brain around why someone would be so mad at us for looking after their best interest.
The good news is I’m done ranting, and can offer two alternatives. The first is wait a couple of weeks until your tan fades. That way, you can be assured there is no risk to permanent damage to your skin. The second is the Softlight laser. The Softlight, while being non-permanent, will remove the hair without the risk of injuring your skin. The Softlight is a low level laser that only treats the superficial pigment of the hair. It has excellent results for both coarse and fine hair, even on tanned or darker skin types. Although it is not permanent, you can expect great results for months!
Here’s a video – hope it works 🙂
You can see the hair instantly turns blonde and he doesn’t even flinch! It’s a great alternative to the Lightsheer if you have a tan.
Anyway, this rant is long enough. If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call at 604-421-3111 or check out our hair removal page on our website. Thanks, and look forward to seeing you soon!