Which Laser is Best for My Skin Type?

Group of women with different body types and ethnicities in underwear on pink background

When you’re new to laser treatments, the number of options can make your head spin. CO2, Er:YAG, non-ablative, fractional, picosecond, IPL – which one is best for your skin? We’re all unique, with personal needs, different lifestyle factors, and other components that impact the way our skin ages and what it needs to thrive.

No one laser necessarily fits a specific range of individuals. But that doesn’t mean you don’t benefit from learning more about which lasers are typically ideal for which needs. This will help you become more informed before your first consultation and ask in-depth questions about treatment. We’ve shared information about which lasers are typically right for which skin types and tones below.

How can I know what my skin needs?

The most important step is to meet with a skin care professional. We start each new skin rejuvenation client with a Visia digital skin analysis. This device creates a 3D map of your skin, evaluates both superficial and deeper layers, and compares your data to over 200,000 other individuals to tell you more about your skin’s aging. The rotating camera captures left, right, and frontal facial views, and UV lighting is used to record and measure signs of aging within deeper layers of the skin.

Learn more about your skin’s:

  • Sun damage and UV spots
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation and dark spots
  • Enlarged pores
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Porphyrins from bacterial growth

Best Lasers By Skin Tone

Laser technology continues to advance, allowing individuals of all skin types and tones to see excellent treatment results. But different skin types will still see different results with laser treatment. Some lasers are preferable to others depending on your complexion. For many lasers, lighter-skinned individuals have a lower risk of side effects because there is less of a chance of pigmentation changes after skin injury/inflammation. This is due to the lower amount of melanin in the skin.

There have been concerns in the past about laser treatments for people of color (skin types ranging from 3-to-6 on the Fitzpatrick Scale). Today’s lasers are more effective and safer to use on all skin tones, with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

Best lasers for lighter skin tones

Lighter skin is typically easier to treat because the laser can easily target hyperpigmentation and hair follicles (in the case of laser hair removal). Lighter skin tones can receive IPL treatments, laser skin resurfacing, Laser Genesis, and more. At the same time, these patients must maintain excellent sun protection, especially after laser treatments, to prevent additional pigmentation and sun damage from taking hold.

Best lasers for medium skin tones

Individuals with medium skin tones – including ethnically Asian skin tones – can find laser treatment more difficult. The primary concern any provider should have is ensuring that there are no side effects or long-term damage to the treatment area. We’ve seen excellent results with the PicoSure Focus laser because it delivers energy in incredibly short pulses to minimize collateral damage. This laser improves melasma, wrinkles, scarring, and more.

Best lasers for darker skin tones

Individuals with darker skin tones can still find success with laser treatments, but they need to find the right provider and the right laser. Be sure that your provider has the experience and technology to provide you with the superior level of care that you deserve. Laser treatment of any kind poses the risk of side effects including hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation – dark spots and light spots, respectively. Your provider should perform a test patch on a small area of skin before treatment to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

  • For laser hair removal, an Nd:YAG laser is typically going to deliver the best results. This laser type delivers energy below the epidermis so that it doesn’t affect the superficial layer of your skin, but still damages hair follicles to reduce growth.
  • For laser tattoo removal, a picosecond laser is typically ideal. Fading a tattoo rather than removing it entirely (if you’re preparing it for a cover-up) may be necessary so as not to damage your skin. Speak with a laser tattoo removal provider directly to learn what they recommend for your skin.
  • For laser skin rejuvenation, you should avoid IPL as the broader energy delivery has a higher risk of spreading throughout the skin and causing damage. It’s important to speak with a professional to get personalized guidance and perform test patches on your skin before moving ahead with any treatment.

Have questions about which laser might be best for you? Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more about your options and receive a digital skin analysis. We look forward to meeting you!

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