Medical aesthetics providers have long known that darker skin, whether due to pigmentation or tanning, can present additional challenges for treatment. For example, in some cases, laser treatments don’t work because the laser can’t distinguish between healthy and discolored skin. In addition, some energy- and light-based procedures that target melanin may cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) in patients with darker skin types. PIH typically causes discolored, flat spots that are darker than the surrounding area.
Due to these issues, patients with darker skin may not have had as many options for aesthetic procedures in the past, but new innovations have made safer treatment possible for a wider range of patients.
When performing these treatments, providers should still approach the settings and parameters cautiously. It is essential that test spots are performed to evaluate the skin’s reaction before continuing with an initial procedure. Consider using different intensity levels to determine which is most effective and tolerated by the skin. Check for reactions 48 to 72 hours post-treatment, as pigmented skin may take longer to produce a response.
In addition to these general parameters, there are specific recommendations you should follow regarding certain procedures for patients with darker skin. Here is a closer look at some of these solutions and tips to keep in mind when treating skin of color:
While various lasers may be used for laser hair removal, research suggests that diode lasers are the most successful at removing hair from patients with dark skin. Diode lasers appear most effective for mature, dark hair and have a quicker repetition rate, which allows faster treatment of larger areas.
Make sure to consider the two critical measurements: pulse duration and wavelength. Shorter pulse durations and wavelengths are more likely to damage the epidermal layer of darker skin and result in PIH or hypopigmentation. Additionally, stay within the manufacturer’s recommended parameters for intensity when treating skin of color.
It’s also smart to do a test spot on a patient before moving forward with the initial treatment. Wait for some time to check for PIH, as pigmented skin may take longer to show a response.
Venus Velocity™ and Venus Epileve™ use diode lasers for hair removal both at 800nm and is safe for all skin types. Pulse duration settings can be controlled by the operator so that it can be tailored to safely treat patients with darker skin tones.
Non-invasive lipolysis treatments that use diode lasers can be effective and safe for all skin tones. The diode laser heats the fat layer under the skin to induce lipolysis, shrinking and destroying the fat cells. The debris is then removed by the body’s lymphatic system. When working with patients who are concerned with stubborn fat and have darker skin tones, choose a device that utilizes diode lasers—such as Venus Bliss™—for a lower risk of PIH.
Previously, skin resurfacing wasn’t an option for patients with darker skin. Luckily, radio frequency-based skin resurfacing procedures can now be used for darker skin tones. Venus Viva™ uses NanoFractional RF™ technology to create micro wounds deep in the skin for effective ablation and resurfacing. Energy is delivered through a small footprint per pin (160 x 38 µm2) at variable energy densities in a single tip, reducing the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and leaving sufficient intact tissue in between, for faster wound healing, and uniform post-treatment tissue appearance.
Keep in mind that your patients may not be aware of recent, innovative treatment options. It could be to your benefit to educate your client base about these procedures.
For more information about choosing machines best suited for patients with darker skin tones, reach out to Venus Concept today. We offer a full range of medical and aesthetic devices, as well as a Practice Enhancement Management (PEM) program, ongoing education, and marketing support for our customers. We are happy to help you find the right devices for your practice. Contact one of our experts today.