Long-pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser-assisted hair removal in all skin types

Elizabeth L Tanzi, Tina S Alster
Dermatologic Surgery: Official Publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et Al.] 2004, 30 (1): 13-7

BACKGROUND: Although there are several different laser systems available for the reduction of unwanted hair, no single system has been shown to be superior in providing safe and effective hair removal in every skin type. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a high-energy, long-pulsed, 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser with a contact cooling device for hair removal in skin phototypes I-VI.

METHODS: Thirty-six adult patients (skin phototypes I-VI) with dark terminal facial or nonfacial hair were treated with a long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser (1064 nm, 10-mm spot size, fluence of 30 to 60 J/cm2). The selected pulse duration was dependent on the skin type of the patient: Skin types I/II, III/IV, and V/VI received 10, 20, and 30 ms, respectively. Three consecutive laser treatments were delivered to 36 skin sites at 4- to 6-week intervals. Hair counts and photographic evaluations of skin sites were obtained at baseline, immediately before each treatment session, and at 1, 3, and 6 months after the final laser treatment.

RESULTS: Peak hair reduction was observed 1 month after the series of laser treatments with a mean hair reduction ranging from 58% to 62% on facial sites and 66% to 69% on nonfacial sites. At 6 months after a series of three long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser treatments, a mean hair reduction of 41% to 46% on the face and 48% to 53% on the body was found depending on the skin phototype. Adverse reactions included mild to moderate treatment pain, short-term erythema, and rare occurrences of transient pigmentary alteration without scarring.

CONCLUSION: The long-pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser with contact cooling is a safe and effective method of hair reduction in patients of all skin types. Side effects were limited and transient.

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