Laser Hair Removal for Indian Skin?

I am of Indian origin and was considering IPL/ND Yag laser for my skin. I am skin type 4-5. I have heard of constraints in both the types

  1. ND Yag is not good for long term (>6 months)
  2. IPL was not originally created for hair removal and I am not sure of its effect on Indian skin.

Please suggest the best hair removal method for me.

Doctor Answers 3

Nd:Yag is the safest for darker skin types; certain IPLs can work well too

Thanks for your question. It is a good one.

Nd:YAG is the safest hair removal laser for darker skin types. There are other lasers that are more targeted and more efficient at removing hair, but in regards to preventing loss of skin color, the Nd:YAG would be better than these other two (Diode and Alexandrite lasers). You can feel confident that, if done well, the Nd:YAG will remove the hair and protect loss of your skin color, but make take one or two treatments more than the others.

IPLs can also be very good at removing hair, but be careful when it comes to loss of skin color in darker skin types. Your best bet is to go with a filtered IPL system that has an excellent track record with darker skin types. For instance, the Lux R handpiece on the Palomar Starlux 500 would be safe on darker skin types and does an excellent job at removing hair. You should be safe here.

As always, discuss these questions with your dermatologist prior to doing any hair removal procedure. Specifically ask about the laser and the potential for skin color loss.

Hope this helps!

Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Indian Laser Hair Removal

Indian hair tends to be coarser and requires appropriate fluence or power and wavelength.  Nd:YAG tends to require more treatments as it is not as efficient as newer generation diode lasers.  In my office's experience, diode lasers tend to be effective and safe at removing Indian hair.  IPL is not a good treatment option, particularly for Indian hair removal, as the level of power to treat hair effectively is typically not safe on Indian skin types.  IPL also takes much longer than diode laser systems.

There is no single best laser system, but characteristics of a good laser hair removal office and laser are as follows for Indian hair removal

-Experience treating Indian Skin- Staff must be knowledgable about Indian Skin and understand how to treat it.  If the fluence is too low, more hair can result (hypertrichosis) rather than hair loss

-Proper wavelength- Diode and Nd:YAG are the two best lasers for Indian hair removal.  In my office, we prefer the diode as it requires less sessions and tends to be more effective in targeting and treating hair (more hair removed per session)

-Appropriate cooling- All laser systems need cooling to provide safety and comfort.  Uncomfortable laser hair removal tends to result in lower laser hair settings and can cause actual more hair to occur rather than less hair.

Hope that is helpful.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

Laser Hair Removal- Nd:Yag Safe for Darker Skin

Thank you for your question.

Because the risk of permanent lightening or darkening of the skin is greater for patients with darker skin types, it is especially important for patients with darker skin to make sure an experienced provider using a safe machine is treating them.

In our San Francisco Bay Area practice we frequently and safely perform laser hair removal on a wide range of skin types, including Fitzpatrick types 4-5, using an Nd:Yag laser.  Since the Nd:Yag laser removes hair by destroying the hair follicle, the results are permanent. As with all lasers used for hair removal, multiple sessions (approximate average of six) are required to achieve 90%+ clearance.

While IPL can be an effective means of laser hair removal the risk of permanent skin discoloration is greater than risk of an Nd:Yag laser and therefore Nd:Yag is preferred.

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 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.