Politis Plastic Surgery

Laser Treatment Do’s & Don’ts for Dark Skin Tones

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Key Takeaways:

  • Avoid IPL, BBL, CO2, and some Fraxel lasers for melanin-rich skin due to risks of hyperpigmentation.
  • MOXI laser treatments are safe for dark skin tones, offering benefits like improved brightness and reduced hyperpigmentation.
  • A proper consultation and Fitzpatrick scale assessment are crucial before starting laser treatments.

Many people with melanin-rich skin are interested in laser treatments for various skin concerns but are unsure which treatments are safe for their skin type. As a plastic surgeon in Tampa, FL, I often get questions about this topic. Let’s explore the do’s and don’ts of laser treatments for dark skin tones.

Understanding Skin Types and Laser Treatments

The Fitzpatrick Scale

The Fitzpatrick scale is a classification system used by dermatologists to determine a person’s skin type based on their response to sun exposure. It ranges from Type I (very fair skin that burns easily) to Type VI (very dark skin that rarely burns). Knowing your Fitzpatrick skin type helps in selecting the appropriate laser treatment.

Risks of Inappropriate Laser Use

Laser treatments can be risky for darker skin tones if not done correctly. Inappropriate use of lasers can lead to complications like hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin), and even scarring. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose the right type of laser and have treatments performed by experienced professionals.

Lasers to Avoid for Dark Skin Tones

  • IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) – IPL is not recommended for dark skin tones because it targets the pigment in the skin, which can lead to hyperpigmentation or burns.
  • BBL (BroadBand Light)- Similar to IPL, BBL can cause adverse effects on melanin-rich skin, such as hyperpigmentation and burns. It is best avoided if you have a darker skin tone.
  • CO2 Lasers- are very aggressive and can cause significant damage to dark skin, leading to hyperpigmentation and scarring. These lasers are best suited for lighter skin tones.
  • Some Fraxel Lasers – Not all Fraxel lasers are safe for dark skin. Fraxel lasers that target the pigment can cause issues with hyperpigmentation. It’s important to consult with a professional to determine if a specific Fraxel laser is safe for your skin type.

Safe Laser Treatments for Dark Skin Tones

MOXI laser treatments are considered safe for dark skin tones. This laser is “colorblind,” meaning it does not target pigment in the skin. MOXI treatments can help improve skin brightness, reduce hyperpigmentation, and address fine lines. The treatment is quick, typically taking about 20 minutes, and is recommended in a series of three sessions for optimal results.
MOXI is effective for dark skin tones because it works at a wavelength that is safe for melanin-rich skin. It stimulates collagen production and helps to rejuvenate the skin without the risk of causing pigmentation issues. Patients can expect to see improvements in skin texture, tone, and overall radiance.

Importance of Consultation and Skin Assessment

Before undergoing any laser treatment, it is essential to have a thorough consultation with a qualified professional. During the consultation, your skin type will be assessed, and your treatment goals will be discussed. This step is crucial to ensure that you receive a safe and effective treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Fitzpatrick Scale Assessment
A proper assessment using the Fitzpatrick scale helps determine your skin type and guides the selection of appropriate laser treatments. This assessment is critical to avoid complications and achieve the best possible results.

Laser treatments can offer significant benefits for dark skin tones when the right lasers are used. It is essential to avoid lasers like IPL, BBL, CO2, and some Fraxel lasers, which can cause hyperpigmentation and other issues. Instead, opt for safe treatments like MOXI, which are effective and safe for melanin-rich skin. Always consult with a qualified professional to ensure a tailored and safe treatment plan.

If you have dark skin and are considering laser treatments, I invite you to schedule a consultation with me at Politis Plastic Surgery. Together, we can develop a plan that meets your aesthetic goals and ensures the safety of your skin.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Effie Politis, please contact our office:
Call us at: (813) 542 – 2587
Visit us: 5016 West Cypress Street, Suite 200, Tampa, FL 33607


  1. Politis Plastic Surgery. (n.d.). MOXI. Retrieved from https://politisplasticsurgery.com/injectables/moxi/
  2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Laser Skin Resurfacing. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing
  3. AEDIT. (n.d.). Best Laser Skin & Hair Removal Treatments for Darker Skin Tones. Retrieved from https://aedit.com/aedition/best-laser-skin-hair-removal-treatments-for-darker-skin-tones
  4. Allure. (n.d.). Best Laser Treatments for Dark Skin. Retrieved from https://www.allure.com/story/best-laser-treatments-for-dark-skin-at-dermatologist

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Effie Politis, MD

Effie Politis, MD, FACS of Politis Plastic Surgery brings both skill and a personalized approach to the care of her plastic surgery patients. She is board certified by
the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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    5016 West Cypress Street, Suite 200, Tampa, FL 33607 | (813) 542-2587
    There is a $100 consultation fee that the office of Dr. Effie Politis will collect at the time of scheduling in order to secure a date & time for the appointment. If you choose to move forward with booking surgery after you have your consultation with Dr. Effie, that $100 will be applied towards the cost of your surgery.