Laser Hair Removal Treatment: Types of Hair & Skin Colors

Types of Hair on the Skin

There are 3 types of body hair on the human body:
  • Terminal Hair
  • Vellus Hair
  • Lanugo Hair

When we commonly speak about hair, it refers to mainly Terminal Hair and in some cases Vellus Hair. Lanugo Hair is found on fetuses and this hair generally falls off within a few days to a week after birth.

For the purposes of Laser Hair Removal Treatments, the type of hair that we need to know about would be primarily Terminal Hair and to some extent Vellus Hair.

Terminal Hair

Hair on the head and hair visible on the arms, legs and on the torso, is generally referred to as terminal hair. Wherever terminal hair is present on the skin, it is connected to oil producing glands called sebaceous glands. Androgenic hair is a subtype of terminal hair.

Vellus Hair

This hair is very fine and short, and is generally not more than a tenth of an inch, in length. This type of hair is normally referred to as peach fuzz. In addition, this type of hair, which covers all surfaces of the body, is not easily visible to the eye, as it is typically light blond or translucent in color. 

However, two areas, where you may be able to definitely see this type of hair is either on the upper lip or on the back of the neck, and you can find this type of hair mostly on women and young children.

Hair Colors

Depending on the ethnicity, the color of body hair, can be black, brown, blond, red, gray or white.

Human Skin Colors
  1. Ranges from very dark brown to very light pinkish-white hues.
  2. The pigmentation in the human skin is the reason for the natural selection of skin colors.
  3. A direct relationship exists between the geographic distribution of the ultra violet rays and the types of skin colors, as the UV rays have a direct effect on the pigmentation, present in the skin.
Laser Hair Removal
  1. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, laser hair removal treatment is the third most sought after treatment.
  2. Many people opt for the Laser Hair Removal procedure in order to remove excess growth of body hair or to remove hair visible on certain parts of the body, which could otherwise be embarrassing.
  3. In the nascent stages when this treatment began, many ethnic groups like Latin, African-American, Asian and other ethnic groups with dark skin tones were often discouraged from undertaking this treatment, because of poor quality control and poor training of laser technicians, damage to the skin was caused.
  4. Technology has since advanced with newer and more advanced types of laser hair removal lasers available in the market. Consequently, it no longer matters what skin color an individual has and the daunting fear of skin damage can also be put aside.
  5. Laser hair removal treatment does not work on the Vellus type of hair, due to its characteristics. However, the laser hair removal treatment works just fine on terminal hair.
  6. The laser light in the laser to be used on ethnic skin tones and dark skinned individuals, will have long wavelengths and long pulse widths too.
  7. Lasers with shorter wavelengths such as the 810mm diode will be more effective on some lighter ethnic skin tones.
Prior to undergoing the Laser Hair Removal treatment it is important to discuss the following points:
  1. Your skin type.
  2. Your expectations.
  3. The types of conditions that could affect the treatment outcome.