Questions About Laser Hair Removal For Sensitive Fair Skin And Fine Dark Hair?

Worried as I had a bad exp with ipl, will really appreciate if someone can ans these. I have sensitive, fair skin and fine dark hair. 1. Will hair grow back a few years after LHR? 2. Is it common to have hyperpigmentation?  How do I prevent it? Can I wear sunscreen during and immediately after LHR? 3. Some have stimulated hair growth after LHR. How can this be prevented? 4. What happens if I have some peach fuzz amongst dark hair, will it be dangerous or cause it to become dark too? TY!

Doctor Answers 3

Do's and Don'ts of Laser Hair Removal

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Laser hair removal is very effective at permanent hair reduction.  In my experience the hair does not grow back in a few years if the areas was adequately treated. 

Hyperpigmentation is not common, although if your skin color is darker, there is greater risk.  The laser is a hot device and complications can arise, such as if the setting is too high, or if you are tanned.  These complications are rare, considering how many laser treatments are done.  Most of the time the hyperpigmentation completely fades, although it can take many months, especially on the lower extremities.  To prevent the chance of hyperpigmentation, make sure you are not tanned during the procedure.  Communicate with the practitioner and let them know if you feel it is too hot.  You can also have them do test areas with different settings to determine which might be most appropriate.  Sunscreen or sun avoidance should be used.

The procedure can stimulate hair growth.  I have seen this on the face, especially with the dark fine hair.  It is in a minority of patients, but clearly very frustrating when it occurs.  Some evidence shows that chilling the area will help prevent this, such as ice packs during the treatment.

I do not like to laser the peach fuzz as it doesn't respond and can darken.  In terms of deciding whether you are a candidate, someone would have to take a look.  If you do have dark peach fuzz hair and want to laser that area, you need to know there is some risk of increased hair growth associated with it.  The hyperpigmentation is as not much of a concern.


Burbank Dermatologist

Laser Hair Removal For Sensitive Fair Skin and Fine Dark Hair

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These are great questions!

1. Typically, no. The hair will not grow back a few years after LHR. The laser treatments result in a permanent reduction in the number of hairs. But once they are removed, they do not grow back. Any hair that is apparent after the sessions is due to hairs that were in resting phase at the times of treatments. The amount of hair growth on the body is usually governed by genetics. And this can affect the rate and the number of hairs seen.

2. Hyperpigmentation can occur. It is more frequent when the laser procedure is performed using either the wrong laser for the skin type and/or the wrong parameters. Sometimes, it would happen even in qualified hands. However it occurs most frequently when performed by practitioners who don't have the right qualifications, skills or experience. In risky cases a test treatment may be indicated.. So it will be important for you to discuss this with the person who will be doing the treatment.

3. According to research, hair will actually grow after laser treatments because the wrong wavelength energies were used. This actually occurs quite a bit in darker skinned patients. The long pulse Nd:YAG laser should be used for patients who have more melanin in their skin. This laser uses the 1064nm wavelength. You can prevent stimulated hair growth by educating yourself on the different lasers available for hair removal and making sure that the level of knowledge provided by whoever does the procedure is in line with the information and facts that you have researched. Also it will be best for you to choose a board certified dermatologist.

4. It is not dangerous to laser the peach fuzz hair. Light colored peach fuzz  will not be removed by the laser. However this depends on the presence of melanin. And it also may become darker, as opposed to being removed. If the peach fuzz hair is somewhat dark, there is a chance that it can be removed. 

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

How to prepare for laser hair removal

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1. Prior to laser treatment, it is important to shave the area. Otherwise hair gets pressed to the surface of your skin. When the hair shaft is destroyed by the laser it can injure the surrounding skin. Shave a day prior to your appointment, so if you nick yourself, the area will not be bleeding during your procedure. Any method of hair removal such as waxing or tweezing will remove the deeper portions of the hair follicle which contain the "target pigmentation" and will render laser hair removal ineffective for at least two weeks. Either shaving or depilatory creams can be used up to the day of the laser treatment as they do not remove the entire hair shaft.
2. Make sure the area has had no sun exposure for one month prior and one month after the laser procedure.
3. The use of any photosensitizing medications or over-the-counter supplements known to cause photosensitivity should delay laser hair removal treatment until these medications can be safely discontinued.
4. Topical retinoids used in the treatment area should be discontinued 1 to 2 days prior to treatment.
5. If a tan is present the treatment should be delayed until the tan has faded.
6. Make sure there is no inflammation in the skin of the area to be treated prior to the procedure.

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