Laser hair removal: a review

Dermatol Surg. 2013 Jun;39(6):823-38. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12116. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


Background: Unwanted hair growth is a common aesthetic problem. Laser hair removal has emerged as a leading treatment option for long-term depilation.

Objectives: To extensively review the literature on laser hair removal pertaining to its theoretical basis, current laser and light-based devices, and their complications. Special treatment recommendations for darker skin types were considered.

Materials and methods: A comprehensive literature search related to the long-pulse alexandrite (755 nm), long-pulse diode (810 nm), long-pulse neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG; 1,064 nm), and intense pulsed light (IPL) system, as well as newer home-use devices, was conducted.

Results: The literature supports the use of the alexandrite, diode, Nd:YAG and IPL devices for long-term hair removal. Because of its longer wavelength, the Nd:YAG is the best laser system to use for pigmented skin. Further research is needed regarding the safety and efficacy of home-use devices.

Conclusion: Current in-office laser hair removal devices effectively provide a durable solution for unwanted hair removal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hair Removal / adverse effects
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lasers* / adverse effects
  • Patient Selection