Can laser hair removal work on black vellus hairs?

I am Indian and have black vellus hairs. I have read that laser hair removal cannot usually remove vellus hair as they are very light and fine. Is laser hair removal an option for me?

Doctor Answers 3

LASER hair removal for Indian Vellus

Vellus hairs on darker black hairs tend to require fluences or power that are higher than 20 J/cm, often times higher than that.  Repeated treatments with the right laser may help reduce these hairs and improve the appearance.  

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.

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Laser Hair Removal -- Takes a series of treatments -- Treats Dark Hair

If there is dark here on a light background the laser works best.  Dark hair on dark background needs expertise and skill.  Please see an expert.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Treating black vellus hair

This is very hard to treat and there is risk of making the problem worse. You might want to try a small area at first and see if there is any success before doing the entire area.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 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.