Does IPL or Laser Hair Removal Work on Dark Skin?

I have dark skin. Will laser hair removal work for me?

Doctor Answers (10)

Laser Hair Removal can be effective on dark skin

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Laser Hair Removal can be very effective for dark skin. We use the Gentleyag, a long pulsed nd Yag laser for patients with darker skin and an alexandrite laser for people with light to medium skin with a high degree of success and patient satisfaction
IPL can also be an effective tool for people of all skin types, but it is not the ideal technology for hair removal, and must be used conservatively on dark skin for reduction of dark spots and skin rejuvenation
Be careful when selecting a laser hair Removal center. Consider these guidelines provided by the Raleigh, North Carolina Medical Board


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

IPL or laser hair removal can work on dark skin

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Dark skin can be effectively treated with IPL or laser hair removal, as long as the laser is approved to be safe on dark skin. It normally takes longer for the results and the chances of side effects are higher. When the skin is darker, it absorbs more of the energy, which means more discomfort during the treatment. Using a bleaching cream or hydroquinone can help achieve better results with the IPL. Test spotting the treated area and adjusting the appropriate energy is very important with darker skin types.

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Need Appropriate laser

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Laser hair removal absolustely works on dark skin, as long as the hair is dark as well.  However, it is imperative the correct laser is used.  In our practice, the ND Yag laser is used for patients with darker skin types.  This laser more safely and effectively targets the hair of darker skinned patients.  When choosing a laser hair provider, make sure they have lasers available for all skin types.  This will ensure you get the most cosmetic result with the lowest chance for side effects.

Aurora Badia, DO
Fort Myers Dermatologist

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Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin

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Thank you for your question. A wide variety of medical lasers and light systems are used to remove unwanted hair, however most lasers are not effective for all skin types and hair colors. The Elos laser hair removal system is designed for permanent hair reduction by combining both optical and radiofrequency energy to deliver satisfying, longer lasting results with less discomfort than previous laser systems. All skin and all hair colors including gray and blonde hair are effectively treated. Faces, backs, arms, legs, faces, and bikini lines can be treated including those individuals with darkly pigmented skin. Treatments are administered every 4 weeks and generally 3 to 5 treatments are sufficient. Best of luck!

Daniel Shapiro, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Laser Hair Removal works for Dark Skin

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In our office, we have two different lasers used for laser hair removal. The Soprano laser is the one we use to treat dark skin. It is FDA approved to treat darker skin types. Whether or not you would be a good candidate for the Soprano laser would be determined in a complementary consultation with one of our skilled providers.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Laser hair removal on dark skin is best done with the 1064 laser

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The safest way to remove hair in a dark skin individual (type 5 or 6) is with the 1064 YAG laser.  IPL is absolutely not safe for this and can burn you.  Although the LightSheer diode laser has FDA approval for this on all skin types, and some docs use this on darker skin types, I would recommend the 1064 laser.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin

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Thank you for your question.

For individuals with darker skin tones laser hair removal can be done safely with the right laser. However, there are many lasers that can cause permanent discoloration of darker skin so it is recommended that you discuss this with your provider prior to treatment.

In our San Francisco Bay Area practice we use an Nd:YAG laser which is safe and highly effective for all skin types.

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Dark skin and laser hair removal

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Yes laser hair removal will work on dark skin. However it may take longer to achieve optimum results.

Sofia Rubbani, MD
Manhattan Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Do not use IPL on dark skin for laser hair removal

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The proper laser for hair removal in dark skin types is a long pulsed Nd:Yg laser. There are many types, including the one mentioned by Dr. Law. We disagree that IPL is a good method for hair removal as it is not as safe and will lead to substandard results -- more treatments with less hair and non-permanent hair removal. We generally use the long pulsed Sciton Nd:Yg for Persians, some East Indians with coarse hair and African Americans. All others we have found to be safely and effectively treated with the Lumenis Lightsheer.

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

IPL or Laser for hair removal on dark skin

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IPL is not a good idea for dark skinned patients. They are more prone to cause burns upon hair removal. Some of the lasers are more specific and can target the hair follicles better. However, a test patch should be performed first to be safe.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 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.