Tanning and Laser Hair Removal

In winter, the uptake in clients using tanning booths and sunless tanning products increases, putting patients at a higher risk for burns and scarring. Proper understanding and screening is necessary to prevent this.

As laser technology is becoming more advanced, lasers are becoming increasingly good at detecting and targeting unwanted hair. The Candela GentleLASE series is one of the most advanced on the market. Few other lasers are able to match its speed, efficacy and versatility. Its 755nm alexandrite laser is able to spot-target a larger surface area with more precision.

During the winter there is a noticeable increase in the number of women and men using self-tanner or visiting tanning salons to get a faux summer glow. The winter season is also when there is an increase in laser hair removal precisely due to the lack of sun. It is very important for laser technicians to be vigilant and ask clients if they have been exposed to tanning salons or self-tanner.

The reason for this is that self-tanning products darken the surface of the skin in the same way as normal tanning through UV rays. When the skin surface darkens, it creates a competing target for the light energy of the laser – with the other competing target being the colour in the hair. By darkening the surface of the skin, more laser energy will be absorbed at the skin’s surface rather than at the base (bulb) of the hair follicle. When too much light energy is absorbed at the surface of the skin, it creates unwanted heat which can then cause blisters or burns.

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