Pneumatic skin flattening reduces pain during laser hair reduction

Eric F Bernstein
Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2008, 40 (3): 183-7

INTRODUCTION: Laser hair reduction targets melanin pigment within hair shafts, causing heating and an inflammatory response that sends hair into a prolonged telogen phase. Pain may be a limiting factor for patients seeking laser hair reduction.

METHODS: We investigate the affect of pneumatic skin flattening (PSF) as compared to conventional treatment using the dynamic cooling device (DCD) on pain during laser hair reduction treatment and evaluated immediately following treatment, as well as the studying its impact on post-treatment effects of laser hair reduction using an alexandrite and Nd:YAG laser to treat the hair in the axillae of 40 volunteer subjects. Thirty-four subjects were treated with a 755 nm, 3 millisecond pulse-duration alexandrite laser using fluences ranging from 16 to 20 J/cm(2) and an 18 mm circular spot; while six were treated with the 1,064 nm laser with the same parameters but fluences ranging from 22 to 26 J/cm(2). One axilla of each subject was treated with the PSF device while the other was treated in the conventional manner using the DCD.

RESULTS: PSF reduced the pain of hair removal treatment in 95% of subjects, as compared to conventional laser treatment using the DCD. The mean pain score for the axilla receiving laser treatment using PSF was 2.8+/-2.1 (mean+/-SD) of a possible 10.0. In contrast, the average pain score for the side treated with the DCD was 5.4+/-2.1 (P<0.0001). Blinded evaluation of post-treatment photographs demonstrated a reduction in erythema on the PSF-treated side immediately post-treatment, and no difference in hair reduction 1 month following treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Pneumatic skin flattening diminishes the pain associated with laser hair reduction.

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