Why can’t I tan during laser hair removal?

It’s not entirely true. You can tan during laser hair removal but with several caveats. Tanning increases the melanin in the skin. The laser is attracted to melanin, so if the skin has increased melanin it’s difficult for the laser to distinguish between hair and skin. Tanning can also cause complications such as burning or discoloration of the skin as well as sun bleaching hair which is not desired as laser hair removal still isn’t effective on gray, blonde or red hair.

The advanced laser technology used at Inkfree, MD has settings that allow technicians to more easily treat darker skin types. It is possible to tan and still receive laser hair removal. However, because the color of the skin is closer to the color of the pigment, the laser’s settings cannot be as aggressive as they would be if you didn’t tan.

That means you’ll probably need to schedule more sessions to ensure all hair is completely removed. Also, some body parts receive more sun exposure than others, such as the arms and neck, so the technicians may need to use different settings on different body parts. Whether you look tan or not, your skin can become much more sensitive to heat without you knowing it, so you plan to receive laser treatments, please stay out of the sun for 72 hours prior.

Following a laser hair removal procedure, you do need to avoid the sun for at least 7-10 days – otherwise, you risk the chance of pigment problems in the treatment areas and other adverse events such as a heat rash. After the treatment, you are more prone to sunburns, so you need to be careful – shirts and cover-ups are key for this as well as a sunblock with an SPF of at least 30.

Our advice is to wait on the tan until you’ve removed any hair that you wish to lose. If you already have tanned, it’s not a big issue, but we would advise to try staying out of the sun the week’s prior to your appointment to prepare for optimal results. Additionally, it is crucial that you let your technician know about any sun exposure you may have had so she can tailor your treatment session.