Does Laser Hair Removal Work on Fine Hairs?

I've just finished my 5th treatment by Coolglide for my arms, underarms, legs, tummy and face. The results have been really good. My skin type is V. The settings the nurse uses on my body are: 30 msec, 55 joules, 1.2 speed.

I also have hair on my chest and back, but these are fine, almost microscopic hairs. My doctor says Coolglide doesn't work on vellus hairs. She did do some test shots at 25 msec, 60 joules, but I can't see an effect. Apparently increasing the settings any higher would be dangerous for my skin type.

Doctor Answers (6)

Laser Hair Removal Works on Fine Hairs over Time

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The 1064 nm laser that you are having done works well in darker-skinned individuals. If there is a target – in this case, dark hair – the same laser may, after a period of time, make these areas with less hair as well. But remember, laser hair removal is a process, and that process needs time. But you seem to be on the right course.


Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Laser Hair Removal might work for fine hair

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To be a great candidate for laser hair removal, the hair being treated must have some density and some color.

With that said, fine hair is sometimes a candidate for laser hair removal, but it depends just how fine it is and just how much color it contains. Your skin type also does matter.

We do not use the Coolglide but use another laser like it that also has a 1064 wavelength. We are able to achieve higher settings for your skin type for the same type of laser light (1064), but without owning that particular laser, we are not sure if the practitioner could go higher on the settings to remove these hairs or not.

If you are happy with the results of the darker coarser hair you have had removed, we would suggest trusting your practitioner. Because many facilities offer laser hair removal consultations for free, you could also get a second opinion about the hair in question. Good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Laser hair removal and fine hairs

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Usually light colored hair does not respond well to laser hair removal. If the fine hair you have is dark, then there may be improvement, but as the target of the laser energy is small (fine hair) then the absorption of the energy will be weak and its effectiveness low. If the energy is increased, then there may be more of a risk of complications, such as darkening of the skin, after laser.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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Fine or light hairs are tough to treat

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 The treatment of fine or light colored hairs are usually pretty resistant to laser hair removal because there is not enough pigment in the hairs for the laser energy to be absorbed by and subsequently injure the hair follicle.

I hope I was helpful.
Steven E. Rasmussen, M.D., FAAD

Steven E. Rasmussen, MD, FAAD
Austin Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Laser Hair Removal is effective for DARK fine hairs

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Most laser hair removal can effectively remove fine hairs if they are brown or black. It does not work well on blond, gray or white hair however. If you are a skin type V you might do better with a laser that is safer for dark skin types, such as the GentleYag Laser. This laser can remove hair safer than many of the other devices in darker skin types.

Lorrie Klein, MD
Laguna Niguel Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Laser for fine hair removal

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Most lasers target the pigment in the hair follicle. Many of the truly fine hairs lack pigment and these lasers may not be effective at eliminating them.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.