I Have Very Dark Hair and Very Light Skin. Which Laser Method Would Be Best for Me?

I have very dark hair, with light Irish skin coloring. Which laser hair removal system would be best for my thick course leg hair?

Doctor Answers 7

LASER hair removal

Light skin and dark hair is often the best combination for laser as it targets the color in the hair (for this reason blonde haired patients are often not good candidates).  There is not a single best laser to treat hair. Each laser has its pros and cons. Although many lasers are available with brand names, the key is to look at the frequency of laser to determine its effectiveness.
Types of LASERS:
  • Diode- Perhaps the best studied and good for many skin types (the type I favor in my practice).
  • IPL- Not as effective as diode in head to head studies and not good for all skin types. May require more treatments.
  • Nd:YAG lasers- A good selection for darker haired patients. May require more treatments than diode and has a smaller spot size typically and may require more treatments
  • Alexandrite- Best for lighter skin types however it is almost as effective as diode in efficacy.

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 163 reviews

Best Laser Hair Removal Treatment

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Laser for Dark Hair, Light Skin

In my opinion, the long pulsed Alexandrite laser would probably be the ideal laser for you.

Deborah Sarnoff, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Laser Hair Removal for light skin

There is no one laser that is ideal for all skin colors. You are wise to ask this question. In my practice, we have a laser for light skin and a second laser for dark skin. The alexandrite laser we use has been evaluated as the most effective laser for removing hair. However, this laser is ideal for light skinned individuals.
The long pulsed nd:yag laser we use is ideal for dark skinned individuals. The longer pulse means that the laser energy will be absorbed by the root of the hair and not the surface of the skin. This means laser hair removal will be safer and more effective for dark skinned individuals. While laser hair removal can be performed on virtually any skin color, the color of the hair is the most important factor.
The laser is attracted to the melanin (the dark pigment) in the hair follicle. Thus, darker hair is treated most effectively. If your hair has a blonde, red, or dark gray root, you may not be a good candidate for laser hair removal.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Alexandrite Lasers best for Dark hair, light skin

For you, I would use my Candela GentleLase, a long-pulsed Alexandrite laser (755 nm infra-red laser).  Alexandrite lasers offer the best melanin/pigment absorption of all the hair removal lasers-- so are the most effective lasers in people who are lightly pigmented.   Candela, the laser manufacturer, has a patented cryogen spray cooling system that enables their lasers to be the safest and most effective in the industry.

Jeffrey C. Poole, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Best Laser for dark hair and light skin

In my office we use the GentleMAX alexandrite laser by Candela. Light skin with dark hair is ideal for hair removal with this laser. Lasers create a beam of highly concentrated light that penetrates deep into the skin where it delivers a controlled amount of therapeutic heat. Lighter colored skin allows the light energy to pass through so it can be absorbed by the pigment located in the hair follicles. This will destroy numerous follicles at a time and leave the surrounding skin unaffected.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Laser hair with dark hair and light skin are the best candidates

I love the Candela laser for laser hair removal.  The idea candidate has dark hair and light skin, esp nice white skin of Irish descent.  You should have excellent results!

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 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.