How Safe is Laser Hair Removal for Fair Skin?

I have blue eyes, brown hair, alabaster skin, burn easily, some freckles on face/areas exposed to sun but none on areas that aren't exposed) The hair (full legs, bikini line, underarms) is nearly black, I know I have "ideal" skin/hair for treatment, but I'm not looking to take any risk getting laser and ending up with some skin condition or burn. Shaving irritates my sensitive skin and my hair grows within hours. How safe is it in terms of side effects/burning/permanent issues?

Doctor Answers 6

Laser Hair Reduction is safe for fair skin

You are correct in that you are the “perfect candidate” for this treatment, light skin and dark hair is the best combination. As with any laser treatment there will always be a risk of complications. The best advice is to research the facility your choosing to use, the equipment they are using and how long the technician has been doing these treatments.


San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

How safe is laser hair removal for fair skin? Help!

Laser hair removal For fair skin is ideal.fair skin provides no competition for the laser energy so it can be all utilized to take care of the hair and the hairbulb. When laser energy is delivered to the skin, pigmented skin can absorb some of the energy possibly increasing the risk for burn and reducing the energy going to the hair with a less than ideal outcome. The best patients for this procedure do have fair skin and dark hair. Light or fair colored hair is always more difficult to treat.

Joseph Hunstad, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Laser hair removal safe for all types of skin

Laser hair removal is very safe and predictable if performed by an experienced technician in a doctor's office. Avoid tanning during the duration of your treatments.

Donna Rich, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Safety of Laser Hair Removal

Yes, light skin is ideal for getting the best results from Laser Hair Removal. Even though every procedure has its risks, these risks are minimal for laser hair removal when done in an experienced, reputable physicians office. Risks include bruising, redness, blistering, increased or decreased pigmentation, and swelling in the treated areas. These usually do not last more than a few days and permanent side effects or scarring are rare. Here are some guidelines I recommend for optimal treatment results:

First make sure your treating physician has experience and the proper laser for treating your skin color. We use the GentleMAX laser by Candela which has many treatment options for most skin colors.

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
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Safety of Laser Hair Removal

Yes, you are the ideal  candidate for laser hair removal and should have no problems with the procedure if it is done in a reputable office by an experienced technician.  Start with your bikini or underarms first and see how it goes.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Laser Hair Removal...

If you go to an experienced an reputable office that does many laser hair removal treatments you should be fine.  Unfortunately, there are always risks and no guarantees.  Be sure to not use any self tanners or get a tan 1 to 2 weeks prior or after any treatments and you should be fine.

Good luck.

 Dr. Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 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.