The guide to laser hair removal for women and men with dark skin

Table of Contents

1. Let’s go back in time

2. The most effective lasers for darker skin tones

3. Be aware of all the risks

4. Does it add up?

5. Preparation

This October we are celebrating 34 years of black history month, and we wanted to give a brief guide/history on laser hair removal for dark skin.

Let’s go back in time

Removing unwanted hair has been practised since the dawn of time. In early Egypt, if you were a man with an unkempt beard and a woman with body hair, you were uncivilized. The upper-class Egyptians worked hard to keep their body hair at a minimum by using hair removal methods like flint and bronze as razors and tweeters made from pumice stones and seashells.

Fast forward to now, laser hair removal technology is more sophisticated and practical, with success rates going up to 95% permanent reduction of hair growth in most clients. Even though there have been so many advances to laser hair removal, one question continuously has been asked is, is laser hair removal suitable for dark skin?

The most effective lasers for darker skin tones

There are two types of lasers – Nd:YAG and diode (the Spec3 hybrid – used at Envie Clinics UK) that works for dark skin and darker hair. 

Diode laser is a bit more complicated for anyone above a four on the Fitzpatrick scale (the standard measure of skin type used by dermatologists, with one being the lightest and six being the darkest.)

The diode laser’s energy has to be delivered slowly for patients with dark skin, leaving more time for the skin to cool. A great feature of the Spec3 Hybrid laser is it has an instant cooling feature that protects pigment from overheating, prevents damage to the skin and eliminates any pain or discomfort whilst having the treatment.

Be aware of all the risks

A common laser-related side effect can be hyperpigmentation (darker spots) and hypopigmentation (pigments lightens.) Hypopigmentation can be harder to treat, although sometimes it can resolve on its own. 

Paradoxical hair stimulation and rashes – these risks were infrequent and could occur if the settings on the machine weren’t correct. Speaking to Envie therapists will give you an understanding of any potential risks. It is essential to go to trusted and experienced clinics with a good understanding of dark or black skin.

Does it add up?

On average, you need to get six sessions minimum before you can see significant results. Laser hair removal is the most cost effective way of reducing hair. The prices of treatments differ on whether it is a small area or large area.


So, going down the  to-do list:

  • Research on lasers (check)
  • Being aware of the risks (check)
  • The cost (check)

Now that you have ticked all of the boxes, it is time to prepare for your session. Before your treatment, do not use harsh ingredients such as glycolic and salicylic acids, benzoyl (to name a few) at least a few days before your treatment. These ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to laser energy.

Shave the treated area before the session and no body cream before your treatment.

Before treatment, you should avoid the sun or, at the very least, use  sunscreen, which is SPF30 or more. Having a tan means more pigmentation, which encourages a different and potentially dangerous reaction to the laser.

So the question is, “is laser hair suitable for dark skin?” 

We are here to tell you – it is!


Laser hair removal works effectively for:

  • Thick hair on dark skin
  • Fine hair on dark skin
  • Facial dark hair on dark skin
  • Body dark  hair on dark skin

Read also: How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?