African American Male Wondering if Laser Hair Removal Will Work for Very Tough Beard Hair?

Over the last year even right after shaving my face looks like I have a very dark 5 o'clock shadow. I am wondering if laser hair removal will help REDUCE BUT NOT ELIMINATE my very tough and dense facial hair so that I have a fairly clean face after shaving again. Please note that I still want hair growth but possibly reduce the density and toughness of the hair. Is this possible and will the reduction be even across the face or will it be patchy (more in some places and less in others)? Thanks

Doctor Answers 6

African American Male Wondering if Laser Hair Removal Will Work for Very Tough Beard Hair?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Actually, beard hair is one of the easier procedures to provide for our patients…Because beard hair is typically darker, more coarse, and more thick, it is a fantastic target for a Yag laser (which should be used for skin of color). As long as your hair is dark, the Yag laser can reduce the hair, which in turn can prevent folliculitis (ingrowns) and further damage to the skin.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Laser Hair Removal - Facial Hair

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question. I like the 1064 Nd Yag for dark ethnic skin, and hair removal.  The diode will also work, but can be more painful.   The YAG is very safe, and the Candela and Cynosure are good products. With each session, the hair will be finer, but the risk being that it can appear patchy. Be certain you are under the supervision of a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist who has expertise in laser surgery and skin of color. I hope this helps.

Laser hair removal risks and benefits.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Good question! I personally perform a lot of laser hair removal in patients like yourself. I would not do it in an area that a patient still wants to grow hair. So the answer is no, you dont do it to reduce the hair as it may very well not grow at all again in that area.I do it mainly on the anterior neck where men never want a beard. Also on the face of women who of course NEVER like to shave.....

Beverly Johnson, MD
Silver Spring Dermatologic Surgeon

Laser hair reduction for beard

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I have used laser hair removal for hair reduction in beards.  The more treatments done the thinner and patchier it tends to get but it does work.  Try one or two sessions to see if you like it.  (Beards that are thick take several sessions at least 10 or so).. If you stop and don't like it eventually most will grow back without maintenance.  Make sure since you are African American the proper laser is used for your skin type.  Good luck.

Janet M. Neigel, MD
Florham Park Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

5 O'clock shadow at 10 AM

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

We use the Elite MPX for laser hair reduction.  This laser treats all skin types for laser hair reduction, and can treat most hair types.  You are trying to catch the hair during it's growth phase (which is easier for beards), which is when it is most effective.  More than likely you would see a defintite reduction in the amount of hairs, and our clients have said that when they come back it is sometimes thinner and less dense.

If anything I would recommend a test spot that could blend in if you don't like the results, like at the border of the hair growth near the side of the neck or at the midline, and not on the face.  That way if the results are not what you desired, it won't have that much of an impact aesthetically.

Laser hair reduction rather than removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Laser hair reduction is a nice option for those persons who want to reduce the number and/or coarseness of their facial or neck hair. 3-4 treatments with a laser hair removal system such as the LightSheer Duet or others in experienced hands can work wonders. Dr. Benjamin Barankin, Toronto Dermatology Centre.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

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.