Best alternative to laser hair removal for dark skin?

If you have fairly dark hair the simple answer is a 1064nm Nd:YAG laser (Cynosure Elite, Candela Gentle YAG and Cutera Coolglide).  As long as the hair is darker than the skin you should be able to treat it with no problem.  If there is little difference between hair and skin pigment then a test spot is usually in order.

As mentioned before the Nd:YAG laser may take a few more treatments (8-10) to really clean an area up well.  This is because it has less absorption in melanin (the pigment than gives both skin and hair their color).  Because it has less absorption it will not damage darker skin but it also does not provide as much heat to the hair shaft which is why it generally takes more treatments.

If your skin is a type IV (Hispanic or Asian) you may also be able to use and 810nm Diode laser such as the Lumenis Light Sheer.  Diode laser fit in between the super high absorption 755nm Alexandrite and the moderate absorption of a 1064nm Nd:YAG.  They are a good balance of safety and effectiveness in patients with moderate pigmentation.  Either way you are likely a good candidate for hair removal it will just require the right tool for the procedure.

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