Should Yag be used on me when I have light skin tone?

I am an Asian with very light skin tone until I went on vacation to Europe. My arms and shoulder got a little dark, but my face is still very light since it was covered with foundation with spf. My derma is very conservative and she used Yag (GentleMax) on my upper lip for touch up. It has been over 2 weeks and the thin hairs on my upper lip did not shed. Fluence 25, 10 ms. This is for touch up by the way.

Doctor Answers 4

Fine hairs on upper lip in Asian skin

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Dear Suzanne:

If you have fine hairs, GentleLase will be more effective than diode or NdYag. Your physician was probably concerned that you may be a little tan, but this becomes a problem with any skin type and any laser that removes hair, so using the Yag would not necessarily be safer. Your doctor will know right away if the treatment is likely to be effective, because the hairs in the treated area will frizz up as the laser light is delivered.

If you are a little tan, properly formulated topical creams containing retinol, retinoic acid, tazarotene, glycolic acid, vitamin C, and hydroquinone can fairly quickly bring your normal skin tone back. You could then proceed with the GentleLase treatments, and to prevent tanning during the summer months use a sunscreen with micronized zinc oxide or mexoryl, and apply a green tea or vitamin C cream (properly formulated!) every few days, so that you can will be able to continue the treatments.

New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Asian skin and tan

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I agree with the choice of your dermatologist.  Based on your skin type and tan the Gentle Yag was the exact correct choice for you.  Perhaps if the hair did not fall out she can go up stronger next time.  When it is your face you have to be extremely cautious.  Always go to a board certified dermatologist for the best results.

Hair Removal

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The Gentle Max is an ideal laser for hair removal in skin of color. Sounds like you may Fitzpatrick type 3 skin, not a must for the GentleMax, but still a reasonable, conservative laser choice. The target for this laser is pigment at the base of your hair follicles and unless your lip hairs are dark, the Yag just wont "see" them. If they are dark hairs and there was no shedding, you may want to touch base with your dermatologist for a 2nd touch up.

Bobby Buka, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Yag for hair removal

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Using Yag is a conservative and safe approach to hair removal. Treating your skin after sun exposure is tricky, since it can pick up some of the laser energy. Yag is safe even in darker skin but is not quite as effective as other wavelengths such as the Alexandrite. Once you are safely free of any sun exposure, perhaps it could be safe to use another laser that could be more effective.

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.