Comparison of Adverse Events of Laser and Light-Assisted Hair Removal Systems in Skin Types IV-VI

January 2007 | Volume 6 | Issue 1 | Original Article | 40 | Copyright © January 2007

Jonith Y. Breadon MD, Chad A. Barnes

Photoepilation, utilizing lasers and noncoherent light sources, is designed to irradiate as much of the follicular unit as possible, with melanin as the target chromophore. Wavelength absorption should generate energy sufficient to heat and destroy the hair follicle, while preserving the surrounding tissue. When performing photoepilation on African- American skin (Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI) a greater risk of potential epidermal adverse events, such as dyspigmentation, blistering, crusting, edema, and subsequent scarring, is possible. To reduce epidermal melanin absorption of energy longer wavelengths are considered safer for use on Fitzpatrick skin types IV to VI. This article reviews and compares the reported incidences of adverse events in African-American skin, utilizing lasers and noncoherent light sources for assisted hair removal.