In fact, it might be best avoided altogether if you have a deeper skin tone. “Since dark pigment is the target, there is an increased risk of heating up the dark pigment in the skin, and therefore it is risky in darker skin types,” says Heather Woolery Lloyd, MD, a dermatologist in Miami. On the line? You could risk discoloration, hyperpigmentation, and potential scarring, says NYC dermatologist Gloria Lin, MD.
In fact, any darker area on the body requires special consideration, skin tone notwithstanding. “Any area that is darker on the body—for example, groin and armpits—should be lasered with caution, as the laser needs to be able to detect the difference between the skin and the hair color,” she says. (So avoid tanning before you do it.) And, on the flip side, those with light hair and light skin may not see results, either, since there’s not much contrast for the laser to identify.
If you’re planning to DIY your hair removal, proceed with caution—even with the best laser hair removal devices. “After treatment, skin can be more sensitive than usual,” says Dr. Graf. “That’s why it’s best to stay away from shaving, direct sun exposure, and active treatments that increase sensitivity for a few days after using a device.” (Translation: Stock up on sunscreen!) With all that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best at-home laser hair removal devices with expert backing and rave reviews to back them up.
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