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Laser Hair Removal: A Review


  • The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Stephanie D. Gan, MD, Boston University School of Medicine, 609 Albany St., Boston, MA 02118, or e-mail:



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


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.


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.


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