Does Laser Hair Removal Work If I Have Blonde Hair?

Laser hair removal has traditionally been a treatment for patients with fair skin and dark hair tones. This is simply because of the way older laser machines were built, using the contrast of pigmentation between the dark hair color and the fair skin tone to let the laser heat damage the hair follicles effectively.    

Many patients ask, “does laser hair removal work if I have blond hair”? Traditionally, the answer has been no – laser hair removal is not effective and is potentially dangerous for patients with blonde hair. However, recent advancements in laser hair removal have started to make this possible. Yes, laser hair removal works for unwanted blonde hair growth.

Why Traditional Laser Hair Removal Doesn’t Work with Blonde Hair

Traditional laser hair removal is designed to work with pigmentation in the hair. The laser zapped at the skin emits laser heat energy to the treated area, which can cause damage to the skin.

A cooling gel is applied to the skin to ensure that the heat doesn’t burn the skin, but the laser is also naturally attracted to the pigmentation of the hair. Once attracted to the pigmentation, the laser heat travels down the hair into the hair follicle, destroying the hair follicle bulb.

This is why it is important for hair to have pigmentation, which blonde hair doesn’t have. Without pigmentation, the laser can’t find its way down to the hair follicle, leaving the heat on the surface of the skin to burn the skin. Not only does this make the treatment less effective for patients with light skin, but it also makes the treatment more dangerous.

However, recent advancements in laser technology have made way towards providing laser hair removal for blonde patients.

How Laser Hair Removal Works on Blonde Hair

Over the last few decades, laser technologists have worked to solve the problem of laser hair removal for lighter hair. The core problem is the focus on pigmentation – without the strong pigmentation of dark hair to attract the laser, the laser heat energy cannot travel down the hair and destroy the hair follicle, and instead ends up causing damage to the epidermis or the patient’s skin.

Thankfully, recent advancements in laser hair removal technology have partially solved this problem in certain ways. These include:

Laser Dyeing

Blonde hair is difficult to treat with laser hair removal because there is no pigmentation in the hair to attract the laser. To work around this, certain lasers have been developed to dye the targeted facial or body hair with a kind of artificial pigmentation before the laser energy is pulsed onto the skin. While the artificial pigmentation isn’t as effective as the natural pigmentation of darker hair, this has proven to be slightly effective.

Long Pulse Lasers

Traditionally, lasers for laser hair removal were built with short pulses, meaning shorter wavelengths. Over the last few years, laser technologists have found that lasers that shoot longer pulses create a safe environment for patients in general, making the procedure safer for individuals with blonde hair. Long pulses are safer for the following reasons:

  • Less Melanin Selective: Melanin is found in the epidermis, and the struggle with laser hair removal is ensuring that the laser energy is absorbed by the follicle rather than the skin. When absorbed by the skin, this leads to damage. This means that with longer wavelengths, there is less need for a strong pigmentation from the hair for the laser heat to avoid damaging the skin.
  • Deeper Penetration: Longer wavelengths naturally travel deeper than shorter wavelengths, meaning there is an even lesser chance for the heat to stop at the epidermis. With longer wavelengths, the laser can more easily bypass the top surface of the skin and travel down to the dermis where the follicle bulge or bulb is located.
  • Greater Cooling Time: Lasers that emit longer pulses and wavelengths also allow for greater cooling time for the skin between each pulse. This extended cooling time has been found to be crucial towards increasing the overall safety of the procedure for the patient.

It is important to remember that while recent advancements in laser technology have made it easier for patients with lighter hair to get the procedure safely, there is no guarantee that you will experience the same results as what someone with darker hair might experience.

While the procedure is much safer for patients with blonde hair than it once was, results may still vary, with lighter-haired patients requiring more treatments than darker-haired patients for similar results.

Other Options for Blonde Hair Removal

If you are still looking for other options for blonde hair removal, there are still some alternatives you can consider. Aside from the traditional methods of shaving, waxing, and threading, you can also consider the US FDA-approved treatment of electrolysis.

Unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis doesn’t rely on the pigmentation of the facial or body hair to cause damage to the hair follicles. Instead, electrolysis uses electrical currents and radio waves sent into the individual hair follicles through inserted fine tubes. The fine tubes are inserted into each hair follicle in a patient’s targeted area, and the electrical current is sent through the tunes to cause damage to the hair follicle, leading to a permanent stop to hair growth.

While electrolysis has the advantage of being the only truly permanent solution (since laser removal requires maintenance treatments once or twice every year after), there are quite a few drawbacks to this procedure. These include:

  • Greater Pain: Patients typically report experiencing greater pain from electrolysis than laser removal procedure.
  • More Treatments: Since electrolysis involves a much finer and more detailed treatment procedure, each session covers much less overall skin than laser removal. This means more treatments to cover the same area; in some cases, patients can expect upwards of 30 electrolysis treatments.
  • More Cost: While each individual treatment of electrolysis typically costs less than a laser removal session, the greater number of treatments means the average patient will end up paying more for electrolysis than they might pay for laser removal.

Ethos Spa: New Jersey’s Premier Laser Hair Removal Provider

If you are in the Summit, New Jersey area and you would like to learn more about laser hair removal, book your free consultation with Ethos Spa today. We are the premier providers of laser hair removal in New Jersey and have assisted thousands of patients with laser hair removal and other skin and laser procedures.

Learn more: Does Soprano Ice Laser Work on Blonde Hair?

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