This is my ND:YAG hair removal laser review. I got ND:YAG laser hair removal done on my legs, underarms, stomach, full Hollywood or Brazilian bikini area in the front and back, my toes, and my lip. This is a review of my experience getting laser hair removal using the ND:YAG laser as a person of color with brown skin and a darker tone.
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What is ND:YAG laser hair removal?
ND:YAG is the golden standard for lasers on darker skin tones. It’s the laser that penetrates the deepest compared to other lasers. There is also BBL now but that is more of an IPL and does affect the skin.
How do ND:YAG lasers work for hair removal?
With dark hair, the darkness of the hair attracts the laser light and heat travels all the way down to the hair follicle, damaging or destroying the hair follicle. With a damaged hair follicle, the hair cannot grow back.
In lighter skin tones there is only melanin concentrated in the hair so it’s easy for the laser to be channeled and beamed directly to the hair follicle without burning the surrounding skin.
The problem with darker skin tones is that the laser light would get attracted by the rest of the skin and heat up the skin, thus burning the skin. This is especially true for lasers that don’t travel deep into the skin.
Now, even though we have different skin tones on the surface of the skin in the epidermis, we are all the same skin color deep down the lower skin layers. If only we had a laser that could penetrate the lower skin layers…
Enters ND:YAG laser for effective hair removal on dark skin
ND:YAG is one such laser that is able to travel deeper down to the skin layers with no melanin except for the hair follicles and burn only the hair follicles, without affecting the surface of the skin at all if done correctly.
Because ND:YAG lasers gets channeled only to the hair follicle. This is great news for people with darker skin tones.
Warnings about laser burns
However great ND:YAG might be, be warned that your skin could still burn on a few different cases, mainly due to the incompetency of the therapist.
Even though the laser targets the hair follicle, heat can travel to the rest of the skin causing first degree burns if the skin isn’t pre-cooled with ice.
Your skin might also burn if it is sensitized from using certain skin supplements and topical treatments.
The laser beams can also be misdirected if the technician didn’t use the proper settings, or didn’t use enough conducting gel.
Can people with white or lighter skin tones use ND:YAG laser?
Yes, since we are all the same skin color at the deeper level, ND:YAG is ideal for everyone except those with lighter hairs such as redheads.
But, be warned that for the duration that you’ll be going for laser hair removal sessions, you will not be advised to tan and you need to use a broad spectrum sunscreen or stay covered with clothes.
How to prepare for laser hair removal
- Shave a day or two before your session. You need stubble for the laser to get directed through your hair shaft. Some lasers require the hairs to be longer. My hair can grow slowly, so I would use the trimmer head on a Braun Silk-epil 9, on the day of my laser because shaving made my skin sensitive and there was the risk of nicking my skin. Don’t epilate or wax or tweeze the hairs.
- On the day of your laser, have a thorough shower. You could perhaps scrub and exfoliate the night before. But on the day of laser use a non-greasy shower-gel that leaves no residue. Don’t apply any body lotion or deodorant if doing your underarms. If you have thrush or get really wet in your bikini area, you can wear a tampon and tuck the string inside inside inside, if you know what I mean. This is a bit more advanced, but I used this trick since my ‘dancing’ days. Imagine an @Critiquebabe dancing, lol This will save you from embarrassment. make sure to check with a mirror down there to make sure there is no residue stuck on your skin.
- Don’t use any beauty products that would peel the skin or make it sensitive for the duration of your laser hair removal course.
So, what to do after laser?
- Depending on the area, you had laser, you need to wear sunscreen for sensitive skin and not tan at all. This also means wearing sunscreen indoors because UVA, which penetrates windows, could tan you. Here is an article I wrote about UVA sunscreens with recommendations.
- You can apply gentle lotions but it’s best to stay away from any creams with regeneration if you can, so that the hair follicles don’t heal.
- Again, Do not tan! You will have to shun the sun for months. Period!
- Refrain from using hair growth supplements. Although, I will say that I think one hair growth supplement I was using actually helped keep my hair in the andogen phase which when the hair is attached to the hair follicle. This could make the laser hair removal more successful, because when the hair is not attached to the hair follicle, the laser won’t reach the hair follicle.
My personal non-sponsored experience using the ND:YAG laser.
I will begin by saying that I’ve tried different places with different lasers for a few different reasons. Also, I paid for each of my laser and beauty sessions with my own money. If, I am ever lucky enough to do sponsored experiences, I will disclose that.
My ND:YAG Laser hair removal review
The first place I got laser done was a skin clinic with physicians but not dermatologists. Most of the doctors were homeopaths. That’s not really a big issue, even no doctor consulted me on the laser.
The laser was going well for the first two months and big patches of hair were falling out, until I moved apartments and had to use a different branch.
Anyway, the next place I went to near me was bigger. They assigned one of the new therapists to me. This therapist had complained to me about how they kept moving her to different branches and she couldn’t build long relationships and better commissions.
I guess the therapist had been under a lot of stress, because she burned me on two occasions.
I got burned with ND:YAG laser? What?
I didn’t suspect that ND:YAG could ever burn me. But, this new therapist managed to burn my skin.
I didn’t notice the first time got burned, but i wondered why i had a dark mark down there.
The second time she burned me, I realized that it was very familiar to the first mark I had gotten.
I was doing nude modeling at the time and the whole ordeal put me out of commission and ruined my self-esteem.
One of their doctors did see me and prescribed one of their red light therapies free of charge.
It all healed well except the first burn which I hadn’t noticed early enough.
She didn’t admit to any wrong doing and suggested lower settings. In response to this, I decided it would be better for me to travel a longer distance to the first branch I used.
Can you change your mind about doing laser after the first session?
Once you go bald, you can’t go back. The problem with laser hair removal especially like ND:YAG is that is that the hairs are almost permanently reduced in patches so it would be unsightly if you stopped before getting most hair reduced.
Always have a monetary and informational back-up plan in case you ever become dissatisfied with your current laser facility or staff.
This is why you cannot have to find another therapist before your next session is due, if anything goes wrong. I also advise having enough saving to cover all your sessions at full price two times over. Some laser places have steep pricing. You don’t want to be in a situation
I went back to my first laser clinic after the mess the new place caused me.
So, things went great at the initial laser place. But, it being so far from me and me having worked full time, on the second last session, I couldn’t get an appointment in 6 weeks and went after 7 weeks so by that time, the hair removal was unsuccessful because of the new hair growth cycle.
How does hair grow and how does it affect laser hair removal results?
Laser hair removal is only guaranteed to result in 90-95% reduction.
So after I’d done 10 sessions total since my laser hair removal journey started, I decided to try another smaller laser company at the shopping center down the road from me.
I had already been getting electrolysis sessions with them and one of the aestheticians reassured me that their Diode laser would be great.
What is the difference between Diode and ND:YAG lasers?
Now, the only reason I wanted to switch laser places was because, although I was getting laser done on my bikini / Brazilian area, I found the therapist to be uncomfortable doing the inner labia which was the area I wanted to get rid of the most and caused me the most irritation and was the most difficult to shave or wax.
This other place said they’d do a more thorough job of getting hair in the inner lips.
So, I didn’t decide to stop going to the other company because of their laser or ND:YAG. I just wanted to get better service and to feel like I had dignity.
I don’t know if you know how it feels to be treated like you’re dirty.
I mean, granted that it was during the epidemic, when I got burned down there on my bikini area, the doctor that consulted me was a complete snob and looked at it from a long distance. She really made me feel dirty and a reject.
They say, people remember the way you made them feel, more than the things you did.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.Maya Angelou
Anyway, the awkwardness made me go somewhere else.
But, guess what?
Let’s just say they started with low settings on the diode laser and actually stimulated hair growth where I had successfully had no more hair growth.
This set me back on my laser hair removal journey and was a waste of my hard earned money which I had saved up for months. But, I kept going, even though it’s like I was throwing money into the furnace. I had even bought a package because they pressured me into it during my first session.
Oh well, I won’t say much about the diode here or this company in question. They also burned me, by the way.
I left them to continue my laser hair removal journey somewhere else.
Laser hair removal is such a commitment. It takes money, time, pain and post laser aftercare.
I’m kind of proud of myself for not giving up on my laser treatment.
I decide to google ND:YAG laser for bikini. So, I found another clinic.
I’ve been going for quite a few sessions since I had more hairs growing with all these set backs.
This new place I’m going to is more expensive so I decided not to get my legs done and only do my underarms and bikini.
Things are looking good.
I think I don’t have to go anymore because I literally only have like 5 hairs on my arm pits. There’s just very fine vellus blond hairs now which is normal.
I also kinda have pre-mature greying. So, I’ve been going gray since I was 19-years old. My bikini area has a few gray hairs too, which is what really makes me feel embarrassed. This was the only thing that interested me in hair removal at all. I can’t get rid of the gray hairs with laser, so I started going back to the electrolysis place to get my gray hairs removed.
I took a video getting ND:YAG laser on my lip.
The therapist changed the bigger cooling plate with a smaller one.
When the therapist uses a bigger cooling plate, she just places it on the area (the bikini region in my case) for a few seconds and moved it to an adjacent area instead of swiping it on the skin as in this video.
If the laser is done on your face, you can usually smell burnt hair. Sometimes you can see small smoke streak. But, it is only destroying the hair folllicles and not the skin at all.
How to know if the laser burned your skin?
The laser does prick similar to tweezing really quickly. But, the pain only lasts a few seconds.
You can usually tell if your skin got burned, if the just-got-waxed-or-tweezed sensation lasts and/or goes on for hours or days.
In this case, it’s best to use cooling cream or tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil cools the skin and prevents inflammation.
Anyway, this is the end of my review.
If you have any questions or remarks, leave a comment or contact me.