Long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser-assisted hair removal in Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI

Lasers Med Sci. 2011 Sep;26(5):623-6. doi: 10.1007/s10103-011-0922-1. Epub 2011 Apr 26.


Unwanted hair is a common problem for which a variety of laser treatments is available. Laser treatment in dark-skinned individuals carries a higher risk of complications like hyperpigmentation and burn. The objective of this study was to evaluate efficacy and safety profile of laser-assisted hair removal in individuals with Fitzpatrick type IV-VI skin using long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser. Retrospective data was collected from 150 individuals with Fitzpatrick type IV-VI skin who underwent laser-assisted hair removal. This included area treated, fluence, number of treatments, and outcome. Data was also gathered on patient satisfaction and complications. The most common phototype was type IV (94%). The most frequently treated area was the face (84.7%) followed by the underarms and legs. Among the facial areas, the chin was the most frequently treated area followed by the upper lip and jaw line. The mean number of treatments was 8.9 (range 4-22). The maximum fluence averaged 26.8 Joules/cm(2) and was significantly higher for facial hair. Of the patients, 78.7% felt that their treatment was good or satisfactory. Mean hair reduction was 54.3%. Satisfaction from the treatment was significantly higher in individuals undergoing treatment of non-facial areas. Subsequent hair growth was slower and finer in 79.3% of the patients. There were no complications in 86% of the patients. All the complications were transient, with hyperpigmentation being the most frequent complication. Our results show that laser hair removal using the long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser is safe and effective in dark-skinned individuals with satisfactory results in most patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Face
  • Female
  • Hair Removal / adverse effects
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / etiology
  • Lasers, Solid-State / adverse effects
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Pigmentation*
  • Treatment Outcome