The Reason Why Your Skin Type Affects the Type of Laser to Use
Lasers have a wide variety of applications, but the major ones are in aesthetics and hair removal operations. The main determinants on which laser to use on who is determined by the capability of the skin to absorb heat and its capacity to withstand burns and tanning.
The ability of skin to withstand ultraviolet light is a significant element to consider while deciding on what type of laser to use on a patient. It is important if the treatment will involve targeting the underlying red pigments like in varicose veins treatments to put that into perspective. The best bet to avoid damaging your skin is doing a patch test to see how your skin responds.
The Fitzpatrick scale classifies or categorizes skin into 6-types and assigns some physical characteristic which each skin type depicts;
- Skin type I: Pale white skin, blue eyes and easily burnt by the sun
- Skin type II: White and hazel eyes
- Skin type III: Cream white and fair eye color
- Skin type IV: Moderate brown
- Skin type V: Dark brown
- Skin type VI: Darkest brown and does not get burnt by the sun
The amount of melanin determines the skin color and the more there is, the darker the skin. Darker skins absorb more heat and are more likely to get burns and other side effects associated with lasers. As such it is advisable to use lasers at lower fluence settings when dealing with a dark skinned person.
Light skinned people, on the other hand, have little melanin and as such the heat is only directed to the targeted cells without being absorbed by the other skin cells. Light skin is likely to develop acne scar, and there are lasers meant to insert melanin into those lesions on the skin.
Despite those factors, there are some lasers which can adjust their protocols automatically, and thus they can be used for any skin type. For example the Q-switched ND.YAG laser used in hair removal can be used on any skin type.
Lasers are of different varieties, and there are those that are used on outer skin, medium or innermost parts of the skin. Most of the ablative lasers are used on the outer part of the skin and depending on the type of your skin a different laser might be utilized; for example, carbon dioxide lasers have been known to cause hyperpigmentation on people with darker skin.
As far as lasers treatments are concerned, it has been unanimously agreed that dark skinned people respond well to laser treatments but fewer options are available for them to choose. For example in acne treatment light skinned people can use a variety of discoloration lasers but darker skinned people’s best choice is only the Aerolase lightpod NEO.
Laser treatments in susceptible areas like around the eyes are discouraged on people who have a darker skin since excess absorption of ultraviolet rays and the heat may cause temporary blindness or excess sensitivity of the eyes. Injections are most preferred for resurfacing operation under the eye.
If an unqualified person uses a wrong laser or a right laser, then there are chances that you will develop complications. These may vary from temporary inflammations to permanent incidences like loss of sight and discolorations.
Due to these risks associated with laser treatments, book a consultation with a wellness practitioner and ensure you adhere to the pre and post treatment advice given. Though your skin color and type might influence the outcome, there are many lasers on the market designed to treat every kind of skin.