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Considering Laser Hair Removal? Know Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type First

By: Beauty Coordinators


With life getting busier and busier, we are always looking for ways to save time, be more efficient, and stretch the hours we have each day. Shaving has long been considered a tedious and time-consuming daily chore for almost everyone, but one that is necessary. Thanks to the exciting developments in technology over the past several years, laser hair removal now offers men and women the opportunity to be hair free and save precious hours each week.

Am I a candidate for laser hair removal?

The expert team of estheticians at Body+Beauty Lab in Philadelphia, PA have successfully treated countless patients of all ages and backgrounds with laser hair removal. One of the most common questions people ask when considering laser hair removal is whether or not they are a good candidate for the treatment. The best way to determine how effective laser hair removal may be for you is to be evaluated by one of our knowledgeable and experienced technicians. In general, patients with lighter skin and darker hair respond more rapidly to laser hair removal, but that is not to say that patients with darker skin can’t be treated.

Arguably the most important factor in your laser hair removal journey is your skin type. Unlike many other places, most people are candidates for laser hair removal at our facility. Body+Beauty Lab is committed to using the most cutting edge and state-of-the-art technologies and techniques, and our wide variety of lasers – including the elos Plus sand Nordlys by Candela – allow us to treat all skin types.

What is my skin type?

During your initial consultation and at each subsequent laser hair removal treatment session, your skilled esthetician will begin by assessing your skin type, choosing the appropriate laser, and calibrating it accordingly. Since various skin tones and hair types respond differently to the laser, this is an essential step in a safe and effective course of treatment.

Your skin type will be determined using the Fitzpatrick scale. This relatively simple yet scientific numeric scale is comprised of six different Fitzpatrick skin types, each of which correspond to a different skin tone, with I being the lightest and VI being the darkest:

  • Fitzpatrick skin type I: This is the lightest and fairest skin type on the scale. Patients with type I skin never tan and always burn with sun exposure. Most patients with type I skin have red or blond hair.

  • Fitzpatrick skin type II: Patients with type II skin are also white and fair, though not quite as severe as type I patients, and they usually burn with sun exposure but can tan in some instances.

  • Fitzpatrick skin type III: This is the usually the most common skin type seen in patients seeking laser hair removal and a very common skin type in general. With beige to medium skin that does tan but can burn, type III patients typically respond very well to treatment with one of the many advanced lasers used at Body+Beauty Lab. However, because people with type III skin do tan relatively easily, they may be pushed into the type IV category after sun exposure. Only a qualified and experienced esthetician can accurately determine your current Fitzpatrick skin type and choose the appropriate laser based on that.

  • Fitzpatrick skin type IV: Patients with type IV skin have medium brown or tan skin even without sun exposure. In the sun, they almost never burn and instead tan to a dark brown. As mentioned above, type III patients who have had sun exposure can be pushed into the type IV subset. This makes determining type III vs. type IV more complex than evaluating the differences between types I, II, and III. One variable which separates a natural type IV from type III is ethnicity. Patients should expect to be asked about their family’s background and race in order to help determine which laser to use for their treatment.

  • Fitzpatrick skin type V: Type V skin almost never burns, tans, easily, and is very dark brown. Some facilities aren’t able to treat patients with type V or VI skin, but Body+Beauty lab is proud to offer safe and effective laser technologies for patients with all Fitzpatrick skin types.

  • Fitzpatrick skin type VI: The darkest skin tone, type VI is considered dark black skin that never burns. Patients with type VI skin may need a larger number of treatment sessions than other skin types.

What should I expect from laser hair removal?

Once your esthetician has determined your Fitzpatrick skin type, he or she will choose the appropriate laser and begin your treatment. Depending on the area(s) being treated, each session can take about 5-60 minutes, and patients typically need between 5-8 sessions to be hair free. This can vary based on your skin tone, hair type, and other factors.

How do I get started?

If you think laser hair removal may be right for you, the first step is to be evaluated by one of our friendly and skilled estheticians. Call our convenient Philadelphia location to schedule your consultation today, and learn more about how laser hair removal can help you save time and throw away the razor for good!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.