Dark Skinned People Warned to take Precautions with Laser Hair Removal

Since I started this site, I have written several articles about the most suitable lasers for hair removal in people with dark skin. A new article from ABC warns about the dangers of laser hair removal in people with darker skin. One has to exercise the utmost caution before proceeding with such a treatment if you have highly pigmented skin.

Laser Hair Removal Dark Skin
Laser hair removal in darker skinned people can be dangerous if the incorrect laser is utilized.

Dark Skinned People Urged to Take Precautions with Laser Hair Removal

In the new ABC article, it is emphasized that not all hair removal lasers are suitable for use in people with darker skin. On Nightline, they interviewed Eshanka Jayasinghe, a darker skinned South Asian origin woman who got major scarring and sun sensitivity after her laser hair removal procedures.

With the laser hair removal industry booming, an ever increasing number of clinics are treating people of color without suitable equipment or relevant experience.

It’s estimated about a million people get laser hair removal annually, and the industry rakes in around $300 million a year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie, laser hair removal machines are strong and can cause permanent skin damage and scarring when in the wrong person’s hands. High demand for this procedure has resulted in clinicians who do not have proper training or medical knowledge about the risks to darker skin.

In general, Nd:Yag lasers are the most suitable in removing hair from people with skin types 4-6 on the Fitzpatrick scale. However, there are also other machines nowadays that combine several different wavelengths into one handpiece.

It should also be noted that not all dark skin is the same. People with African skin tones require a different treatment strategy in comparison to people with East Indian skin. See my post on laser hair removal in Indian skin.

If you do not take precautions, the use of an inappropriate laser for darker skin types can even cause potentially permanent burns on your skin. Make sure to go to a clinic that has significant experience in treating people of your skin type and ethnicity. And they need to show you a range of before and after photos of their past darker skinned patients.

Also of major importance, do not undergo any kind of laser procedure if you have had significant recent sun exposure. And if you have grey or white body hair, the laser will not succeed in eliminating the follicles.

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, Nd:YAG (1064-nm wavelength) 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.

10 Year Laser Hair Removal Update in Indian Skin

Laser Hair Removal in Indian Skin.

It is not often that someone with Indian skin updates us on their long-term laser hair removal before and after results. Getting someone to do so on a regular basis for 10 years is even rarer. Luckily, “Makeup by Megha” has done just that for us, and it is invaluable. She is of East Indian (or South Asian) ethnicity with a wheatish brown skin tone.

It is almost impossible to get to see results and hear testimonials from people with Indian skin types here in the US. Partly because they make up less than two percent of the population. The vast majority of laser hair removal testimonials come from people of Caucasian origin who have fair skin and dark body hair (the best possible combination to see excellent results). During the past few years, we are also seeing more laser hair removal reviews from African Americans.

Megha got laser hair removal on her whole body! At an unbelievably low cost of just $600 for 6 initial treatments. She went to Skin Matters in Atlanta, where the current full body laser hair removal price is $998 for 8 sessions. Megha advises to check Groupon and Living Social for discount specials.

Great Laser Hair Removal Results in an Indian Female

I am glad to hear that Megha is delighted with her results. It also seems like she did not get any of the dreaded side effects of using lasers on dark skin (e.g., hyperpigmentation).

In Megha’s 10 year results video report below, she even shows us some of her sparse remaining hair on her legs. Very impressive. I am guessing that she must have received treatment from old laser technology when she started 10 plus years ago.

According to her earlier videos, her first treatment involved the Polymer laser. Later ones involved the Candela laser (I assume the Nd:YAG version). I will ask her to elaborate. As is common, the armpits gave the best results in terms of permanency. However, I am also very impressed with the minimal new hair growth on her legs.

10 Year Before and After Results

June 18, 2021:

5 Year Before and After Results

March 11, 2016:

Below are her earlier updates:

Make sure to also see my page on brown and black skin resources.


The following are some tips for choosing a qualified and experienced laser hair removal practitioner for Indian skin:

  • Make sure to check the practitioner’s experience and qualifications. Especially in treating people with Indian skin.
  • Ask about the practitioner’s success rate in treating ethnic skin types. Make sure to check out some before and after photos.
  • Ensure that the technician is adhering to laser device safety protocols.
  • Get an initial consultation before undergoing treatment.