Which Laser is Safest for my Face? Fair Skin & Dark Hair

I'm considering getting laser hair removal on my upper lip and chin. I'm a Caucasian female with fair skin and dark hair. If I'm not mistaken, alexandrite and diode lasers are most effective for my skin/hair combination. I'm really worried about hyperpigmentation though. Which type of laser is the least likely to cause changes in pigmentation? Are some types of lasers safer than others?

Doctor Answers 6

Fair skin and dark hair have a lower risk for pigmentation changes when laser is used properly

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Fair skin with dark hair is the best combination for minimizing any pigmentation issues after treatment.  The Light Sheer diode laser with proper parameters would be a good choice for the combination  you describe.  The most important aspect of choosing a provider is to look at the physician and physician extenders who do the actual treatments. You should be in good hands if you go to a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist that has experienced staff with certified training by both the physician and the particular laser company they utilize.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Dark hair and fair skin are the ideal combinations for laser hair removal

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Your risk of hyperpigmentation is very small because of your fair skin. If the laser parameters are properly chosen and if the laser has a built-in method of cooling the skin surface  ( such as the cryogen spray in the Candela GentleLase -an alexandrite laser) then there would be nearly zero risk.It is important that you choose an experienced Dermatologist for your evaluation and treatment

Richard Fitzpatrick, MD (in memoriam)
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

Best Laser for hair removal

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In my office, we use the GentleMAX alexandrite laser by Candela for permanent hair removal. It is most effective for removing darker hair in a lighter-skinned person. Potential risks of laser hair removal include temporary or permanent hypo-pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation. This can occur even when optimal laser treatment parameters are used. Fortunately, most instances of hyperpigmentation are temporary and tend to fade over time. We instruct all our patients to make sure the area has had no sun exposure for one month prior and one month after the laser procedure. Daily use of an effective sunscreen is key, regardless as to whether you are going outdoors. Also, make sure you are not taking any photosensitizing medications or over-the-counter supplements known to cause photosensitivity. If necessary, prescription-strength 4% hydroquinone cream can be applied to any areas of hyperpigmentation to help them fade more quickly.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Safest laser hair removal

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For your fair skin & dark hair, using a diode laser such as the Light Sheer Duet is an excellent option, both very safe and effective. Make sure to go to a medical clinic overseen by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to ensure the best equipment, settings, and staff are used.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Laser Hair Removal for the face

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There is no one laser that is ideal for all skin colors. The alexandrite laser we use has been evaluated as the most effective laser for removing hair.  it is ideal for light skinned individuals.

The Gentlelase laser is equipped with a patented cooling device for that means a more comfortable treatment and eliminates the need for topical anesthetic. This means of cooling the skin can also reduce the risk of burns or pigmentation changes. The DCD dynamic cooling device is the ONLY cooling device that provides consistent cooling from the first pulse to the last. No cooling system is safer or provides a more comfortable treatment.
It is also important to avoid sun exposure or tanning beds soon before or after laser hair removal treatments. Some medications can cause photosensitivity so always disclose all medications to the medical professional administering the consultation for laser hair removal.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Fair skin and dark hair ideal for hair removal

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As long as the hair is of medium or thicker courseness, you should have wonderful success with either the alexandrite  or diode lasers with very low to minimal risk of pigment issues and excellent safety in the hands of an experienced user.


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.