Written By FIORELLA VALDESOLO
ALEXANDRITE, DIODE: “These are the two gold standards right now for permanent hair removal, but they are only meant for people with light skin and dark hair [the contrast is key so the laser doesn’t accidentally target the skin],” says dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe.
YAG: This long-pulsed laser is ideal for darker complexions because its energy levels are deliberately lower. The treatment process will take longer, but the reduced energy ensures the laser is safe and won’t target the pigment in the skin.
MIRASMOOTH: Currently FDA-approved for underarm hair only, this new color-blind laser was originally developed to treat sweating (an added bonus), and its microwave technology has proven particularly powerful. To wit: One hour-long treatment gets rid of 70 percent of hair growth. “In the past we had no way of treating someone who has a dark skin tone or blond, gray, or red hair, so this is very cutting edge,” says Bowe, who adds that the company is currently developing the technology for other areas of the body.
A host of DIY IPL devices like the Luma Rx and Remington iLight Pro Plus (both boast the FDA’s stamp of approval) offer a budget-friendly (albeit slower and much more tedious) alternative to office visits. They’re less potent than their in-office counterparts, so you will probably need more treatments to achieve the same results, but they are also safe (built-in sensors tell you if there are any areas to avoid) and wallet friendly. And, Fusco reports, “I have many (shy) male patients who appreciate being able to use these devices in the privacy of their own homes.”
IDEAL FOR: Spot treating small areas with a few hairs—especially fair, red, or gray ones. “If you have a couple of stray hairs in a small area, like around the nipple or jawline, it’s great for electrolysis,” says Bowe. “It doesn’t make sense for big areas of body hair because it’s more expensive, more time consuming, and more painful than laser.”