Safe facial hair removal for all skin types

Hi Dr. I! I'm interested to know your thoughts on effective facial hair removal. I've heard about laser and dermaplaning. What do you recommend? I'm open to any ideas but I'm concerned about thicker hair regrowth! About Me: Indian (tan-brown skin), 30 year old, female, no allergies, combination skin. Thanks! Benita

Basically, we all have 4 options for facial hair removal which are:

  1. Laser hair removal
  2. Waxing or plucking
  3. Electrolysis
  4. Dermaplaning and shaving
  5. Cream hair removal

In our perfect world (don’t we wish?), the hair would come out at the root, and then the hair bulb would die so it wouldn’t grow back. But that’s not usually what happens.

Hair removal at the root with damage to the hair bulb at the base of the hair follicle

The only two methods that do this are the lasers and electrolysis. Repeated waxing or plucking can also do this but it takes much longer and many more treatments.

  • Laser hair removal. It works the best and most easily on hair that is darker than the skin color.  The average is about 5-6 treatments with minimal maintenance. Darker skin types should look for a system with an  Nd:YAG which is safer and less likely to cause pigment problems. These systems may require more treatments. Minimal discomfort with existing systems.
  • Electrolysis. A tiny needle is inserted into the hair follicle which injures the hair bulb. Requires more treatments and is more painful. But can be a great option when lasers aren’t an option, especially with grey or blond hairs.

Hair removal at the root without damage to the hair follicle

Repeated waxing or plucking can over a very long time can cause hair bulb damage.

  • Waxing –  Most of us have had this done at least once. Works well and takes about 3 weeks to grow back. Can aggravate ingrown hairs. Mild discomfort except some areas more painful. 🙂
  • Plucking – Same as above. This works, but is painful, time consuming and not really practical for large areas.

Hair removal just at the surface of the skin

Since it’s more superficial, the hair grows back more quickly.

  • Shaving and dermaplaning. Dermaplaning is just a form of shaving that someone does for you with a tiny scalpel blade. It’s nice because it’s not painful and exfoliates at the same time. Best for those fine, facial hairs that are blond (vellus hairs).
  • Cream hair removal. This can work, but over time some become allergic to the chemicals in them and a “burn” is possible if left on too long, or with an allergic reaction.
Hope this helps,
Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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