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Why is laser hair removal more difficult for people with dark skin?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
The laser used in hair removal destroys any brown it encounters. It doesn't know the difference between hair and tanned skin. The darker the skin, therefore, the more the blistering. When the skin is hit by the laser, it responds by making pigment. This can be a big problem. It turns out that people with olive complexions have the most severe problems with hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal. Southern Asians, Puerto Ricans, and southern Italians all have problems with hyperpigmentation. People with darker skin should use the lightening cream hydroquinone for at least two weeks prior to laser treatment to decrease the chance of this troublesome side effect.
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

The public’s recent exuberance toward cosmetic surgery has spurred an unprecedented demand for appearance-changing procedures. But how can an average consumer discern the hype from solid truth? ...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.