Laser Hair Removal in Indian Skin: Many Options in 2023

In the past, laser hair removal was not safe and effective for Indian skin. However, laser device manufacturing technology has advanced tremendously during the past decade and this is no longer true.

As of 2023, laser hair removal can work well in Indian skin, but one has to be selective in the type of laser wavelength used. The treatment pulse duration, power setting and cooling mechanism all impact success and side effect rates in brown skin.

What Lasers are Best for Indian Skin Hair Removal?

A majority of people from India tend to have darker skin types IV-VI on the Fitzpatrick scale. For such highly pigmented skin, Nd:YAG lasers are the most suitable for laser hair removal, although Diode lasers can also be effective.

Among the main laser types, NDYag (1064-nm wavelenth) lasers penetrate the deepest into the skin (5-7 mm into the dermis). As a result, they only target the darker pigmented hair, but not the pigment in the skin. This prevents any trauma to the skin that could lead to scars and hyperpigmentation.

One of the most popular options for hair removal in darker South Asian skin is the GentleYAG® and GentleMax® series from Candela. The former is a YAG (1064 nm) laser, but the latter is a combination of the Alexandrite (755nm) and YAG.

The Musk Clinic in Ahmedabad (India) uses the unique Alma Soprano Ice Platinum laser for laser hair reduction. This laser combines all three main wavelengths that you see in lasers (Alexandrite, Diode and Nd:YAG) via one handpiece. The manufacturer calls this the trio clustered diode technology for laser hair removal. This laser targets the hair follicle bulge, bulb and deeper layer dermal papilla cells.

Laser Hair Removal Indian Skin
Laser Hair Removal in Indian Skin with Alma Soprano Ice.

Note that some Indians have fairer skin type III with a bit less melanin. In such cases, even some IPL at-home lasers can be effective for hair removal. Within South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka), residents typically describe themselves as having a fair, wheatish or dark skin tone. A recent 2022 study from India found that an 810 nm diode laser is safe and effective in the reduction of dark, coarse terminal facial and axillary hairs in Fitzpatrick skin types III-V.

Before and After Results

On YouTube, you can find tons of videos of Indian patients discussing their experiences with laser hair removal, including before and after photos. One famous personality recently even discussed her 10 year laser hair removal update. On Reddit, many people also discuss their results in subreddits such as IndianSkincareAddicts. Some people had success with full body hair removal using both the YAG and Diode lasers.

In many cases, people will see major permanent body hair removal success after the recommended 6-10 treatments. However, all the body hair will not go away, hence the alternative term “body hair reduction” that is used by many industry experts.

Best Clinics for Indian Laser Hair Removal

Make sure to read my post on black and brown skin laser resources. In there, I list the names of most top clinics in India that specialize in treating Indian skin with laser. Many of them have numerous before and after photos of their tanned skin South Asian patients on their website.

Make sure to do a patch test before undertaking large scale laser hair reduction treatment. You want to get an idea about how your darker skin reacts to the light energy before opting for regular sessions.

Also make sure to not fall for marketing gimmicks and discount promotional offers. Check all online reviews of the clinic and doctor you select. Pick the best and safest, even if their prices are higher. In the long run, this will increase your overall satisfaction rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about laser hair removal in Indian skin.

Does laser hair removal work on Indian skin?

Yes, laser hair removal does work effectively on Indian skin. However, one must be careful in using an appropriate wavelength laser such as the Nd:YAG that effectively targets the higher melanin content in Indian skin.

What is the best laser for Indian hair removal?

The Nd:YAG and Diode lasers are the most effective and popular lasers for Indian body hair removal. Their wavelengths ensure safe hair removal without damaging darker toned Indian skin.

Is IPL good for Indian skin?

IPL treatments are only safe for Fitzpatrick skin types 1-4. Most Indians have skin types 5 or 6. However, IPL is safe for South Asians with lighter skin tones.

Does laser hair removal cause side effects in Indian skin tone?

New generation lasers are perfectly safe the darker Indian skin tone. Older lasers used to result in side effects burns and skin darkening. But newer lasers that use Nd:YAG and Diode wavelengths are free from such side effects.

Kojic Acid Soaps and Creams for Skin Brightening

Kojic Acid Soap brand Koji San
Kojie San Skin Brightening Soap: The Original Kojic Acid Soap.

Overview

Kojic Acid Serum
Kojic acid serum for dark spot treatment.

Kojic acid (KA) is a naturally-derived ingredient that has become very popular with dermatologists for skin brightening applications. Kojic acid is made by several different types of fungi, with the most well known one being Aspergillus oryzae. (called koji in Japanese). It is also a byproduct of fermentation of foods such as Japanese sake, soy sauce and rice wine. Ironically, KA also has antifungal properties.

Kojic acid blocks UV-activation of tyrosinase, which in turn limits the production of melanin. Kojic acid can lighten existing age spots, sunspots and photodamage; fade dark marks from acne scarring and pimples; and even slightly improve melasma.

Cosmetic Versions

Kojic acid has been approved for use in cosmetic products in concentrations of 2 percent or lower. Nowadays, you can buy many over-the-counter skincare products that contain kojic acid. This includes skin lightening creams, lotions, soaps, serums, cleansers and powders. Many pharmaceutical and cosmetic products contain kojic acid due to its improvement of skin color disorders. Cerams, lotion and serums containing KA are meant to be applied to the skin and left on to get absorbed. In contrast, soaps and cleansers containing KA are meant to be applied and washed off rapidly.

According to Dr. Sheila Nazarian, kojic acid works well with and enhances the effects of glycolic acid and hydroquinone. However, do note that the last mentioned ingredient is not always safe in people with darker skin and needs to be used under supervision.

Side Effects and Concentration Levels

According to a 2010 Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, Kojic acid is safe to use as long as it is at a concentration level of 2% or lower in leave-on cosmetics. Of course you still need to take the usual precautions of not ingesting it or getting it into your eyes by mistake. If you leave any kojic acid product on your skin for too long, it can result in contact dermatisis, skin redness, irritation, itchiness and inflammation. Do not use it on broken or wounded skin.

While raw kojic acid is available, cosmetic products always contain a highly diluted level of the ingredient. A concentration level of 1 to 2 percent is recommended in order to reduce the chances of skin outbreaks and irritation. Do not ever try to apply raw kojic acid to your skin as it can be very dangerous.

Kojic Acid Soap Results

The below is a great video testimonial from a patient who used Kojic acid soap for a week on her face on one of her hands. The before and after results were good considering the short time frame of the experiment. Her facial skin looked brighter and more glowing after a week, with slight improvement in the uneven skin tone. Her knuckles on the hand on which she used the Kojic acid soap became lighter.

Some of the comments recommend being gentle while lathering the soap and keeping it in contact with the facial skin for a reasonable time period. Too short and the effectiveness will be limited since kojic acid can take a while to penetrate the skin. Too long and there could be side effects such as excessive skin dryness that would then require moisturizers.

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Categorized as Kojic Acid

Treating Hyperpigmentation on Indian Skin

Indian skin is particularly susceptible to hyperpigmentation. Most people in India have a skin tone ranging from Type III to Type VI on the Fitzpatrick scale, although Type II is also seen in the northernmost regions of the country. The general recommendations on reducing hyperpigmentation in people with darker skin are not alway set in stone when it comes to South Asian skin.

Something that will work in African American skin might not work as well in Indian skin. On a side note, South Asians tend to have substantially more body hair than other ethnicities, so laser hair removal is extremely popular in the subcontinent. Lasers that work well on the fairer skinned Indians (skin Type III or even lighter).

Treating Hyperpigmentation in Indian Skin

If you have Indian skin, you must check out the clinics and doctors that are listed in the India country section in my page on top clinics for dark skin laser treatments. Not only are these clinics experienced at treating darker skin, they almost entirely specialize in treating Indian patients.

Most of them have years of experience in using lasers to treat Indian skin. Whether for hair removal, hyperpigmentation treatment, acne scar revision, moles and skin tag removal and much more. And they all use the latest available technologies that work on South Asian dusky skin tones.

The depth of hyperpigmentation is also an important factor when it comes to treatment strategy. Epidermal hyperpigmentation is on the upper layers of the skin and hence easier to treat. In contrast, dermal pigmentation runs much deeper and requires more intensive treatments.

Vogue India has a good summary of recommendations in treating dark spots in Indian skin. According to Dr. Lara Devgan, if done too agressively, lasers, chemical peels, and microinfusion microneedling for fading darkness can make dark spots worse in peple with olive and darker skin tones.

The Ageless Clinic in India in Mumbai has a useful page that discusses pigmentation issues in Indian skin. Below is an image from the clinic’s instagram that shows a before and after result in removing hyperpigmentation from an Indian person.

Hyperpigmentation Indian Skin
Before and after hyperpigmentation in Indian skin. Treatment from Ageless Clinic.

The clinic’s owner is Dr. Harsha Bijlani. According to her, once the issue causing your pigmentation is under control (whether hormonal, due to injury or excessive sun exposure), peels and lasers are the most common ways to prevent and fight pigmentation. Inititial treatment will usually consist of skin lightening creams that are more suitable for darker skin.

At the Ageless Clinic, hyperpigmentation treatment consists of the following options:

  • PicoSure®.
  • Clear Skin Laser™.
  • Cosmelan™.
  • AgeLess Diamond Skin Resurfacing™.
  • Dermaroller with Lightening Agents.
  • Mesotherpy with Lightening Agents.
  • Skin-brightening Super-Medi Facials.
  • AgeLess Stem Cell Face Treatment™.
  • Chemical Peels.