Lower abdomen laser hair removal - African American

I’m African American and I just had laser hair removal done on my lower abdomen. After they did a test spot and I scarred, they tested a spot using a lower energy and my skin had no adverse reaction to it. However, I only had a small stubble when they did the entire area because they told me it was okay to shave. It seemed to work alot better when they did the test spot because my hair was much longer. Its been 22 days and the stubble is still there. Now, I think I am screwed because the hair isn’t growing any longer so my next treatment can be more effective. I wish I would have never shaved before the first treatment. Is the reason the treatment worked better when my hair was longer because when it’s shorter its more coarse? I have coarse hair as it is, but it seems to be less coarse once its grown out. Also, will the hair ever grow back? I’ve only had one treatment and it was a low energy.

I’ve been getting ingrown hairs from the treatment, which is what I was trying to prevent by getting the treatment in the first place (go figure). I was thinking of making my own tend skin mixture, but I wasn’t sure if it was safe to use with hydroquinone. I’m using a 3% over the counter strength because the 4% caused irritation. I’ve also been using azaleic acid they prescribed. I’m not just using these to prepare my skin for the laser, but also to fade all the old scars on my stomach from years of fighting with ingrown hairs. I’m in my early 20s, and I just want to show off my stomach like all the other girls my age. I’m a dancer, so not being able to show off the stomach I’ve worked so hard to get makes me so frustrated. because my hair is so coarse, if I were to shave I’d have to do it everyday, and there’d still be a shadow, which of course isn’t cute. But waxing and tweezing causes ingrown hairs. I thought laser would be the answer, but it didn’t seem to work and its causing more ingrown hairs. Is there any hope for me?! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />


I have only had laser on my face and am not African American, but. With Laser you are supposed to shave first since the laser is supposed to target the dark pigmented roots beneath the surface, not the hair which has grown out of the skin.

I have also seen reference to a certain kind of laser working better for African American skin type.

If laser doesn’t work you may have to resort to electrolysis.

I have heard that tendskin works well for ingrowns. Hopefully you don’t get too many of those.

Good Luck!


I am also African American and have had several treatments to the abdomen area to remove unwanted hair. I am male with about a type V skin type (quite dark but still tans). My hair is hormone driven so it’s as course as it comes. My practitioner has treated MANY African Americans, which is rare (from what I’ve seen).

First thing for you to consider is laser type. If you had a bad reaction, I’m wondering what your practitioner is using. I would definitely go with a Nd:YAG long pulse laser of some kind. I have never had a bad reaction with this laser or any other side effect (so far). Again, my practitioner is very skilled and experienced. With so many variables to consider, I think this is the most important thing.

I was told that you must shave before any treatment. Since the Nd:YAG energy is able to target pigment in the hair follicle and not your skin (unlike some other laser types), it is inefficient to have an entire hair above the skin. Energy is “scattered” and it can even cause damage on the skin’s surface. However, you need a hair shaft in the follicle so energy can travel down it to the root and cause damage that permanently reduces growth. Therefore, you need to shave but not tweeze, pluck, or wax. After treatment wait for the hair to shed on it’s own (it can take over 3 weeks).

As for the ingrowns, IMHO it’s a fact of LHR. If you have curly hair which is getting weaker as a result of treatment its just going to have a hard time getting through the surface. ‘Tend Skin’ works. I make my own with alcohol and aspirin. I don’t know about using it with hydroquinone (sp). Perscription ‘Lustra’ works for hyperpigmentation and doesn’t seem to interact with any other topical medications. I have had about 4-5 treatments to the torso with the Nd:YAG with about a 60-70% reduction over all. The hair is also thinner, grows slower, and is smooth when shaved – not stubbley. The abdomen was the most successful area. My goal was REDUCTION and in other areas my goal was to reduce ingrowns. Over time, this has been a success.

Folks can contact me via email with questions (tend skin, fluence levels, my LHR office…) as I do not log on that often anymore. Good luck.


Thanks for the advice. I will ask if this is the laser they use. I will also look into Lustra. I’m starting to wonder whether or not I should even continue going there at all. You’re the second person who replied saying I was SUPPOSED to shave, but they told me that it didn’t matter whether I did or didn’t. They also told me not to pluck or wax, but then I looked at their website (www.drhamilton.com) and it says you can one week after treatment but not less than two weeks before. SO the fact that their website says something different from what they told me makes me wonder.

I also had to find out on my own that they offered numbing cream to ease the pain, they never offered it to me. If I wouldn’t have asked, they wouldn’t have used it, and it maid a huge difference. Then, the lady had the nerve to tell me that next time if I wanted numbing cream I had to come 10 minutes earlier. And she said it in a way that made me think she was bothered that I even asked for it. I was referred here by my boss, and they seemed like a good choice because I had seen the doctor on news segments and checked out the website. But, I just don’t feel like its the right office for me. I wish I knew of a doctor who has had experience with african americans in my area.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice. I will definitely try tend skin because so many people have said it works for them.



I would recommend not plucking or waxing at all during laser treatments. You should just shave for at least 6 weeks before, and during treatment duration.

Also I use Emla cream to numb the surface before treatment.
With Emla you need to put it on at least an hour before and cover it with plastic wrap. I have to supply my own Emla.
There are other creams you can use which don’t need to be covered with plastic.

Also if it is very painful you may want to take something like tylenol 3’s beforehand, and would possibly need a prescription for them.


I have the same problem with ingrowns on my arms, and I’m getting them treated with an Nd:yag right now. I had a lot of ingrowns after the first treatment. Tried using Tendskin, but the ingrowns were so deep that it didn’t seem to help much. I’ve found that what works best for me is to use an exfoliating scrub in the shower. I’m using an apricot scrub, but you can try a gentler one first and see how that goes.