Something we have been saying for a long time is that laser hair removal works on all skin tones and hair color. Sure, your results may vary and your treatment may require more sessions because of your skin or hair color. However, as long as there is pigment to target and your certified technician uses the right laser machine, the procedure will work for you. However, the question of whether laser hair removal works on blonde hair and why it would or would not, remains.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. Indeed, the FDA does not categorize laser treatments as permanent hair removal methods. A treatment including at least six sessions will reduce hair growth by up to 90%. Furthermore, a lot of patients do actually experience permanent hair removal.
The procedure relies on a concept called selective photothermolysis. It is a precise microsurgery technique used to target tissue in a specific area. It matches the specific wavelength of light and heats the tissue and destroys it with a laser without affecting or damaging surrounding tissue.
During a laser hair removal session, the laser emits light energy that targets the pigment in the hair. Once the melanin has absorbed that energy, the latter travels down to the hair follicle, under the epidermis. There, it turns into thermal energy and anchors itself to the follicle. It is the heat that will damage the hair follicle, which will prevent any further growth.
Regardless of whether you have blonde hair or dark hair, it is important to remember that laser hair removal is only effective on hair in the anagen phase of growth. This is because it is the only time the hair connects to the follicle, allowing the energy to go from the former to the latter. Another thing to know is that only 20% of all body hair is in the right stage of growth at any point in time.
As a consequence, a session can only target up to 20% of hair. This is why laser packages always come with six sessions and that the latter are six weeks apart. This time gives time to the hair to move into the right stage of growth.
Does it work on blonde hair?
Laser hair removal relies on the melanin to target the hair and for the energy to find its way to the hair follicle. The thing with blonde hair is that they are usually very low in pigments. Therefore, there is not, first, that sharp skin-to-hair contrast that would help the laser pick up the hair. Second, there may not even be enough pigments to target.
This is a reason why certified technicians always tell prospective and current patients to avoid bleaching their hair prior to a session. Simply because bleaching removes the pigments in the hair altogether and there would not be anything left for the laser to target.
There are of course several shades of blonde, the lighter being platinum blonde which is very close to white. The lighter the hair, the less pigments it holds and the hardest it is for the laser to target the hair and for the energy to get to the follicle. Furthermore, since people with blonde hair tend to also have fair skin, there is also the case of a very low skin-to-hair contrast.
Indeed, this contrast helps the energy to pick up the hair. Its absence may confuse the laser which could send energy directly onto the skin, increasing the risks of burns. However, all of this does not mean that people with blonde hair are not eligible for laser hair removal. As briefly mentioned above, it also depends on the laser machine used by the certified technicians.
I have fair hair, can I still do laser?
Yes, people with fair or blonde hair may still undergo laser hair removal. Simply because there are plenty of shades of blondes, some close to white, some close to brown. Thus, depending on your particular shade of blonde, you will be able to undergo the treatment. This is also true depending on the area of the body you treat.
Indeed, even the same individual may have hair of different blondes on different areas of their body. For example, while arm hair is bound to be very light and leg hair usually is lighter too. On the other hand, pubic hair and underarm hair tend to be much darker. There is also another hair distinction that is important.
People have both vellus and terminal hair. Vellus hair is very short and practically invisible. It covers the entire body. Terminal hair on the hair hand is thick and pigmented. While laser hair removal can not treat vellus hair, it is on terminal hair that it is effective.
In conclusion, whether you are eligible for laser hair removal will depend on several factors: the area you wish to treat, your unique shade of blonde, your hair growth cycle, the melanin in your hair and the laser machine used during the treatment.
What lasers work better on blonde hair?
Overall, blonde hair holds very few pigments and offers a low skin-to-hair contrast. Thus, it may be trickier for the laser machine to pick up the hair. However, provided that your certified technician uses the right machine for your skin and hair color, you will still see good results.
A short-term solution for people with fair skin and blonde hair would be to dye their body hair on the treated area prior to their session. However, let’s be honest, it is quite an inconvenient solution. Worry not, if you have blonde hair, you will not need to go to such an extent.
Indeed, diode lasers and ND:YAG lasers that have a 755nm wavelength will be able to treat fair hair safely and effectively. Both can successfully remove light hair as their wavelength is highly sensitive to all color and melanin. This means that the skin-to-hair contrast does not mean to be that sharp anymore.
Indeed, diode lasers and ND:YAG do not rely that much on melanin to deposit energy deep into the dermis and to get to the follicle. They can more precisely penetrate the skin without damaging surrounding tissue. Before you start your laser treatment, make sure the laser spa has the right machines for your hair color.
Does laser hair removal work on ginger, grey or white hair?
Laser hair removal will not work on grey or white hair. Simply because there won’t be any pigments to target at all. As people age, their hair no longer holds pigments. As opposed to blonde hair that still had a few pigments, white and grey hair do not at all. The treatment would therefore not be efficient and may even be risky, increasing the odds of burns and other side-effects.
Even though ginger hair is very light, it will still absorb energy. However, the energy getting to the follicle will be less and will produce less follicular damage. ND:YAG and diode laser will still make the treatment possible. However, redheads will need more sessions in order to permanently reduce unwanted hair. Laser hair removal will work better on natural redheads with a darker tone of red hair though.
Should you have ginger hair and be unsure whether you can undergo laser hair removal, we recommend that you read our blog post specifically dedicated to that topic. You can also schedule a free consultation at Spektrum Laser Spa and speak with a certified technician to address all your concerns. They will be able to give you an estimation of how many sessions you will need.
Can people with blonde hair undergo laser hair removal? Yes, they can. There will be different factors to take into account. The hair must be terminal, not vellus. It must be a shade of blondes that is not platinum or too close to white. The laser machine used must be a diode laser or ND:YAG. However, treating blonde hair remains trickier and therefore may require additional sessions.