Does laser hair removal work for people grey, red or blonde hair?

Does laser hair removal work for people grey, red or blonde hair?

What is the Quick Answer?

The quick answer despite current changes in technology and recent advances remains the same. Laser hair removal does not work to remove light hair color or grey hair.

The ideal situation for laser hair removal occurs when treating dark hair in people who have light skin. If a test patch is done on grey or blonde hair, you will see that the visible hair is merely burned, but the laser light does not kill the follicle.

You Don’t Want to Pay Laser Prices for a Close Shave

This is equivalent to a really close shave. The hair will definitely grow back. The key determining factor for successful laser hair removal is the contrast between the skin tone and hair color.

Remember, the laser does not have a brain but instead it is “programmed” to see dark targets on a light background. If you are tanned and there is no contrast, the laser will also target the tanned skin causing a burn.

This means that people with dirty blonde hair and dark-skinned people with black hair may need more sessions to notice reduced hair growth. Therefore the only satisfying long term or permanent solution for removing hair for people with light blond or grey hair removal is electrolysis.

What About Dyed Hair?

That brings us next to the question of what happens if the target hair is dyed. In 2003 the FDA cleared a substance called Meladine which made from natural elements found in the ink of squids.

The idea was that Meladine would enable the light colored hairs to absorb laser light. The only problem was that it did not work effectively enough to be useful. Like many laser centers, we tried it but have abandoned it because of disappointing results.


We can determine if your hair has enough pigment in it to be effectively removed by a laser. Your best option is simply to come in for a free evaluation. Laser works best on dark hair on light skin.

The truth is there are all shades of hair and skin. We have the experience to know if you are a good candidate for laser hair removal.

Call us at 724-969-0600 to see if you can benefit from this remarkable laser technology.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

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