Laser Hair Removal for Brown Skin?

hi my skin is of brown color and i am thinking of getting laser hair removal treatment on my face with Candela Gentle LASE (Alexandrite laser). will it work and be fine?

Doctor Answers 8

Dark Skin and laser hair removal

I have the Candela Gentlelase is my office and it is outstanding laser, but it should only be used on light to medium skin tones. The Gentleyag is a long pulsed nd yag laser. This is the safest and most effective laser for dark skin types. This laser allows the laser energy to bypass melanin in the surface of the skin and target the pigment in the root of the hair.
Laser hair removal with the long pulsed nd yag laser on dark skin can also help with ingrown hair and folliculitis. 

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Safety of laser hair removal in darker skin types

The Alexandrite hair removal laser (Gentlelase by Candela is one brand) is safe for patients of Asian or Hispanic background-skin that tans and rarely burns. In my experience, there is some risk of temporary darkening of the skin for African American patients. For that skin type, the Yag laser is safer and less likely to cause pigmentation. For all patients, it is important not to be tan on the day of treatment and to avoid the sun after treatment for one week.

Susan Goodlerner, MD
Torrance Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Laser hair removal on dark skin in Santa Monica

After a careful examination, our office employs laser hair removal treatments on all skin types. The Yag laser is an ideal choice, but an examination is required.

Raffy Karamanoukian Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Gentlelase excellent for hair removal, but probably not for brown skin.

The Gentlelase (755nm long-pulsed Alexandrite laser) is one of my favorite laser hair removal devices. Because of it's excellent absorption by melanin (pigment, color), it is very effective for eliminating unwanted hair. Unfortunately, this property also makes it a generally poor choice for darker skin types.

While I haven't evaluated your skin, generally I recommend using a long-pulsed 1064nm Nd:Yag laser (such as the GentleYag) for darker skin types such as you describe. This laser allows treatment of the color in the hair, will sparing the color in the skin. We confidently treat even very dark, black (Fitizpatrick type VI) skin with this laser.

The risk of using the wrong laser on the wrong skin include blistering, scars, burns, and permananent discoloration. The other "risk" is a provider trying to use the wrong laser on the wrong skin-- so they turn the energy (fluence) way down to avoid blistering-- and you get a poor result!

Make sure you consult personally with the physician (board certified in an accepted filed of aesthetic medicine such as dermatology or plastic surgery) who will be treating or directly supervising your treatment; that the physician has lots of experience with laser he will be using as well as other laser systems; and that they have access to multiple laser systems to treat different skin types.

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

Alexandrite Laser for Brown Skin Laser Hair Removal

The answer is maybe yes, maybe no. Depending on how dark you are, the Alexandrite laser may be perfectly fine. Generally speaking, Asian skin would be the darkest type of skin that the Alexandrite laser would be used safely for, so you are at the upper boundary of the skin types that are safe for this laser.

The Nd:Yg laser would be very safe for your skin type, but maybe not very effective. This lasers works best on patients with coarse dark hair and many Asians have finer hair. Our ideal laser for your skin type would be the Lumenis Lightsheer, which is the most widely used laser hair removal device in the world.

Bottom line is that the Alexandrite and Diode (Lightsheer) should be appropriate for you.

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

YAG laser best for dark skin

There are a number of Nd:YAG 1064 nm lasers that are better suited for laser hair removal in darker skin types - especially Type V and VI (5 and 6). Type IV (4) skin is seen in olive complected caucasians, asians, hispanic skin types, some mediterranian skin types and some african american skin types. Type 4 skin can be treated with the alexandrite laser or 755 nm but often the energy must be turned down a bit so not to burn the darker skin. Type 4 skin also does well with 1064 nm laser for hair removal. The 1064 nm will not burn dark skin at the energy settings used for laser hair removal.

Elizabeth F. Rostan, MD
Charlotte Dermatologist
4.2 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Laser hair removal for brown skin

Laser hair removal can be performed using numerous YAG lasers that can work for darker skin patients. I would avoid the IPL systems because they will most likely cause a burn.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Best Laser Hair Removal Treatment

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. I would suggest using the Elos laser hair removal system. It 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. 

Daniel Shapiro, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 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.