The core concept behind laser hair removal is the color contrast between skin and hair. Since the laser targets the pigment in the hair, the sharper the contrast, the better. Thus, ideal candidates for laser hair removal thus are people with fair skin and dark hair. Although, modern laser hair removal technology now allow to treat tanned and darker skins. However, what about blonde hair? Can you undergo laser hair removal if you are blonde? Does laser hair removal work on blonde hair? That is what we are going to answer today!
Laser Hair Removal & Blonde Hair
1. How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Contrary to electrolysis which has been around for more than a hundred years, laser hair removal is a fairly new permanent hair removal method. Laser hair removal is very safe and more affordable than most may think. The method uses a laser that produces a beam of light energy. This energy will target pigments in the hair to reach the hair follicle. When damaging the hair follicle, the energy will actually cauterizing the blood vessel feeding the hair matrix. No blood, no fuel, no hair growth.
Laser hair removal needs two essential things to work. Number one is hair in the catagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Indeed, the catagen phase is the only time when the hair and the follicle connect. The hair acts as a conduit, driving the heat to the hair follicle. In the other two phases, the hair is separated from the follicle. Thus, the heat can't make it to the follicle. The second key element in the procedure is pigment. The laser targets pigments in the hair.
2. Why Laser May Not Work On Fair Hair?
There is a reason why laser hair removal technician strongly advise clients to not ever bleach their hair before a session. Or just in general. Bleaching remove the color pigment in the hair. As previously mentioned, the color pigment in the hair is what attracts the light energy produced by the laser machine. If there is no pigment to target, laser hair removal will not work.
There are many different shades on blonde hair. While platinum blonde is very close to white, some other blonde hair will get closer to light brown. Laser hair removal works by preferentially targeting the melanin in hair follicles. Thus, the lighter the hair, the less pigment it holds. Laser hair removal may not always work on faired hair people because there may not be enough melanin in the hair to target.
Furthermore, an important factor in the success of laser hair removal treatment is the contrast between skin color and hair. Although, improvements in laser hair removal technology allows women of color to undergo laser hair removal, it is a bit trickier for blonde hair. Dark hair holds pigments to target. Fair hair may not. Thus, it may be harder for the laser to differentiate light hair from surrounding tissues.
However, blonde hair can still undergo laser hair removal. Pigments are scarcer but it does not mean the machine will not be able to target any hair. It will just take more time to get through the treatment. While dark haired people will need six to eight sessions for their lower legs, blonde people may need between ten and twelve.
3. Not All Blonde People's Hair Is Blonde
One big reason why blonde people can still undergo laser hair removal is because not all hair on their body will actually be blonde. Blonde people will have hair in different shades of blonde on different areas of their body. You probably have noticed how your leg and arm hair is lighter and thinner than your bikini and underarms hair.
The body has two types of hair: vellus hair and terminal hair. Vellus hair is the short, fine and practically invisible hair that cover our entire bodies. Terminal hair on the other hand is ticker and pigmented. Typically, terminal hair is on the face, the underarms, around intimate parts, on the legs and arms. Laser hair removal removes terminal hair.
Even if your terminal hair may still be blonde, it will be of a darker blonde on some areas of your body than on others. Bikini hair is always darker, thus richest in pigments. Same for your underarms hair. Therefore, you can absolutely undergo laser hair removal on those areas and the results will be as good as with dark hair. Some will dye their light hair a shade darker to ensure better results. However, as we are about to cover below, this may not be necessary.
4. There Are Lasers For Blondes
Laser hair removal machines have improved so much that what was impossible before is now possible. For a long time, it was believed that women of colors cannot undergo laser hair removal due to the lack of contrast between skin complexion and hair color. The coming of new technology now allows for a safe and efficient laser hair removal treatment for darker skins.
Due to the lack of pigments in fair hair, it may be tricker for the laser to detect the hair. The absence of pigments may hinder the efficiency of the process. Thus, it happened that fair haired people dyed their hair in a darker shade before a laser hair removal procedure. However, new laser hair removal technologies such as Nd:YAG laser can now successfully remove light-colored hair. No need to dye your hair anymore.
Nd:YAG laser devices have a longer wavelength that is highly sensitive to all color and melanin. This means it can more precisely penetrate hair follicles without damaging surrounding tissue. Indeed, it deposits its energy deep into the dermis without relying on melanin to do so. That is why it is safe for darker skins too. And now increases the chances of success of laser hair removal treatments on blonde hair.
5. What About Ginger, Grey And White Hair?
However, one challenge remains. Technology advancement in laser hair removal machines has not yet been able to fully get around this one challenge that represent ginger, grey and white hair. The reason is simple, as already mentioned above. Laser hair removal devices cannot differentiates ginger or grey hair from the surrounding tissues. Indeed, lasers work best on light-skinned, dark-haired individuals because the light from these lasers is absorbed by the dark pigment in the hair.
Ginger and grey hair have less pigments than dark hair, while white hair has not pigments at all. Both ginger and grey hair will absorb less energy, producing less follicular damage. Thus, they will need more treatments in order to permanently reduce unwanted hair. Laser hair removal will work on a natural redhead with a darker tone of red hair or thicker hair. Yet, redheads should be prepared to do at least eight consecutive sessions of laser hair removal.
Ginger and grey hair may be tricker but it is still possible to undergo laser hair removal. If you have either, you should schedule a free consultation with a laser technician to assess what can be done. Speaking face to face will allow you to know whether you can undergo laser hair removal, how many sessions you will need, the cost of laser hair removal for you and the chances of success of the procedure.
In conclusion, blonde hair can undergo laser hair removal as long as the right technology is available in the clinic blonde patients choose. Some areas of the body, such as the underarms and bikini, usually have darker hair, so laser hair removal will work fine on those. On other areas with lighter hair such as the legs and arms, blonde hair may need more laser hair removal to see permanent hair growth reduction.