Patient Satisfaction and Complications Following Laser Hair Removal in Ethnic Skin

February 2012 | Volume 11 | Issue 2 | Original Article | 191 | Copyright © February 2012

Vasanop Vachiramon MD,a,b Trudy Brown LEI CLS CPE,a,c Amy J. McMichael MDa

aWake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC bRamathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand cAdvanced Laser and Electrolysis, High Point, NC

Background: Laser hair removal (LHR) is increasingly popular for the treatment of unwanted hair. To date, there have been few studies to evaluate patient satisfaction and complications after LHR among people of color.
Objectives: To determine patient satisfaction and complications with long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser assisted hair removal in dark-complexioned skin individuals from the patient's point of view.
Patients/Methods: A survey questionnaire was administered to subjects with Fitzpatrick skin type VI between the ages of 21-70 years who had been treated with long-pulsed Nd:YAG for unwanted hair. Questions were comprised of those related to satisfaction and complications from treatment with LHR. Satisfaction was recorded on a linear analogue scale (LAS=not at all satisfied; 100=extremely satisfied).
Results: Fifty patients (female 41, male 9) completed the survey. All patients were satisfied with Nd:YAG LHR treatment with the mean satisfaction score of 84.2. All patients favor LHR treatment as compared to alternative methods. The majority of patients (79.3%) who had completed six or more LHR treatments were removing their hair less frequently than before LHR treatment. Hyperpigmentation after treatment was noted in three patients (6%), which lasted for 3-10 days. No hypopigmentation, blistering, or scarring was observed. All patients completing the study would recommend LHR for patients with unwanted hair with the mean recommendation score of 91.5.
Conclusions: Nd:YAG laser-assisted hair removal gives a high rate of patient satisfaction in terms of hair reduction with minimal complication among subjects of color.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2012;11(2):191-195.


Excessive hair growth on the face or body may be due to a variety of causes (e.g., genetic or ethnic, endocrine disorders, medications, malnutrition, porphyria, and rarely virilizing tumors).1 It is a frequently encountered problem and significantly impairs quality of life in affected individuals. Most people who seek consultation for unwanted hair do so primarily for cosmetic reasons. However, in some cases, it essentially becomes a medical necessity for the treatment of a medical condition, such as pseudofolliculitis barbae.
The goal of laser hair removal treatment is long-lasting hair removal or permanent hair reduction without complication. There are several methods for removing unwanted hair, including shaving,2,3 plucking, waxing, chemical depilatories, electrolysis, and photoepilation.4 However, none of these are ideal for a variety of reasons, including: post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, prompt regrowth, and irritation.Of these methods, electrolysis, offers a more permanent hair removal.4 This technique is performed by inserting a fine needle deeply into each hair follicle and using electricity to destroy the follicle, both with extreme heat and from the chemical reaction spurred by the electrical current to produce a lye-like chemical from water and salt in the follicle. While convenient for small areas, it is inappropriate for large areas and may be associated with pain, irritation, and scarring. Laser hair removal (LHR) has become increasingly popular during the past decade because of its noninvasiveness and ease of use. Among the commonly-used lasers, the long-pulsed Nd:YAG (1,064 nm) is considered safe and effective for the treatment of unwanted hair in dark-skinned patients.5,6 Despite many studies regarding the efficacy and safety of long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser