Alexandrite laser basics

One of the more popular types of lasers available today is the alexandrite laser. A couple of inexpensive models have been introduced, which made them very popular with practitioners.

There have been a few promising studies completed in the last couple of year suggesting good results after a series of treatments. Innovative cooling techniques may help lower the incidence of side effects and allow treatment at higher levels of energy. For more on alexandrite lasers, please see:

Alexandrite clinical data

Is the Cynosure Apogee 9300 an Alexandrite type laser? That is what my dermatologist uses.

Yes, the Cynosure is an alexandrite, and a pretty good one, too. They have a good cooling system. For some details, see:

Hairfacts: Cynosure
Cynosure’s corporate site

Anybody have experience or knowledge of the Candela GentleLase Plus - good or bad results?

(I have light skin and dark hair, male, looking to do back and chest)


Hairy, that’s a very popular laser that many consumers have found to be helpful. Just make sure you have realistic expectations of what it can and cannot do.

I’ve had 2 treatments with Gentlelase. After the first only about 40% regrowth. Today is one week after my second and there is almost no regrowth.

I like it and would recommend it for sure.

In response to Hairy’s inquiry, I personally doubt if anybody has done more research or spent more time on trying, wishing, dreaming to rid myself as Andrea puts it “unwanted hair” which takes place on my back, shoulders, upper arms, adobmen, i think you get the picture. But I tried electrolysis years ago (before lasers were even stumbled upon by that one scientist and his black carbon accident he had on his arm,) and at the time after only a few sessions I knew I didn’t have the money to complete what i wanted to do and gave up. Of course i was like anybody who wants something so badly you would sell your soul, I got cautiously optimistic when the laser info started to proliferate publicly. After realizing the costs of laser I wanted to hear some real stories and see hard evidence that this was permanent and I mean permanent not reduction. I spent countless hours on the consumer beware site (I know Andrea, hindsight is 20/20) reading all this supposed feedback from real consumers, I finally decided that this might work. Now this is just me and maybe lasers are like drugs, some people react positively and their condition is cured and some people it just doesn’t help. I supposedly was the perfect candidate / pale skin, dark hair, 30+ yrs of age,(less chance of hormonal change- human body is a finicky thing i have come to find out)so anyway I had a experienced practioner using Candela Gentlelase Plus, we used every combination of settings and joules 18mm spot down to 8mm spot and I had 2 tx’s that basically lasered the area i described above twice and everything went as researched ( you had follicular damage and shedding 10-15 days later) and i was fully prepared physically and fiscaly to go for 6-7 treatments or really whatever it took, thinking that there would be some reduction after each treatment even it was only 5-10% each time. well after 2 complete tx’s , results were absolutely no visible reduction at all. My fees were $1800 1st TX, 1250 2nd, 900 3rd and she agreed to 750 for any tx’s 4 and beyond, which i thought was reasonable for the large area. Anyway like I said after 2 no results and when I went back for a 3rd, this proves it wasn’t someone just trying to take my money, she said she was very disappointed in the results and she agreed to do a area on my stomach for nothing so we did a basically a research project we divided up 4 areas and used different spot sizes to see if there was any difference. The bottom line is this stomach area had a total of 4 tx’s and i can positively say there has been no follicles permanently killed. If it works for some people, they should consider themselves very fortunate and me very jealous. So i am doing what I should have done years ago and continued with electrolysis, bankrupt or not and i would proably be finished at this point. But I have committed myself to my electolysist and I have a multiprobe unit at home and I have been doing this for about 2 months now and I literally have square inches of skin that don’t have any “terminal hairs” (which is lovely) but nothing is perfect, because even after a couple of good areas that I have cleared on my arm and my stomach, you can still see there are still alot of finer lighter,vellus hairs. I don’t think being really hair free is gonna be in my lifetime, but getting rid of the longer darkers hairs is a huge appearence improvement. Whew!! Good luck to everyone and everybody thank Andrea for the time and effort.

Maybe you should try a practitioner with the Lightsheer Diode Laser. It has more power you may get better results. I have to admit your case is unusual though.

Since you have light skin thy can really turn up the fluence level up to 60 J. Maybe you weren’t treat with high enough fluence level.

Maybe you should consult with an endocrinologist for some underlying cause.


Welcome, specbid, and sorry to hear about your problems.

I’m not a big fan of Kitty’s Consumer Beware because they make laser sound like the second coming. The fact of the matter is that some consumers do not respond to treatment for unknown reasons. Unfortunately, many of the posters there are a bit on the quacky side, and they tend to promote things like lasers, hair inhibitors, and electric tweezers in a somewhat over-the-top manner that doesn’t match the published clinical data. It’s a shame, too, because some of the information is useful. Their general ineptitude and Kitty’s ineptitude at maintaining websites (she “lost” about four years of consumer feedback she had archived) makes that site a good place to avoid unless you know how to look past their excesses.

RJC2001 has made some good suggestions. Unless your family has significant amounts of hair, there may be some underlying reason for your resistance to hair removal methods. It’s probably just idiopathic (to use the medical term), but it could be a hormonal issue.

[ June 13, 2002, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: Andrea ]

I went for a consultation on hair removal with the Gentlase laser. The nurse did a test patch (on my stomach). After one week, there is still quite a bit of redness. Is this normal? Will it go away over time? Up to how long should it take? Could it be a permanent scar?

I don’t know what to do - I want to have the procedure done, but I don’t want my back and stomach to be cherry red for weeks at a time (and that is assuming this redness goes away completely - which I sincerely hope is the case).

Any suggestions/thoughts/info would be appreciated.

A few questions for you:

Was a cooling system used for the test patch? Was it air or contact cooling?

Were you tan? When was the last time you were out in the sun and the test area exposed to it?

Is a scab starting to form? If so that does not mean you will have a scar though. The skin will be whiter under a scab but a few times out in the sun (a few weeks after your last treatment of course) will take care of that.

I found with the Apogee (which is an alexandrite laser) I did still have some redness even a week later, especially after the first treatment of the winter.

I also found that I have less post treatment redness with the Lightsheer diode laser, even at higher fluences than with the Apogee. The Lightsheer uses contact cooling which I find to be more effective. At first it seemed unusually quiet without the whoosh of the air cooling used with the Apogee. The harder the technician presses down with the Lightsheer handpiece the more effective the treatment is and the less redness I had. The best of both worlds.

Again, to answer your question, the redness is probably normal. Don’t believe the ads that say the redness only last for a few hours. That is not necessarily the case. It is probably normal and the nurse should be able to tell that and decide if the fluence level should be adjusted. A little redness is worth the long term results. If not enough energy is used the treatments will not be effective.

Hope this helps.


When using the Cynosure laser, how long do you suggest to wait in between treatments. Is there a “normal” wait time. What do you think is the earliest, basically - I got it done the first time and am wondering when I can go back for treatment # 2.


southwestern, your practitioner should have set up a treatment schedule if you were planning on multile treatments. usuallly they are about 4-6 weeks apart, but it’s dependent on a few things like hair density and growth rate. Studies suggest several treatments spaced several weeks apart may increase effectiveness for some consumers.

Its been about 2 weeks since treatment - the redness has subsided substantially. Its not totally gone, but it appears like it is slowly going away and will be totally gone in another week or so. Little bits of thin, top-layer skin are also flaking off. If indeed it takes another week (which I suspect), 3 weeks seems like a long time.

Some of the hair has fallen out, but not much. However, the same area of my body (stomach), which was shaved, but not treated, at the same time, has grown back substantially - while there has been no visible growth in the treated area - just little stubs of the old hair. I take that as a sign that the treatment was fairly effective.

Perhaps the nurse could turn it down a bit - he probably had it cranked up on high as I have light skin and dark hair. As for the cooling - I believe it was air cooled, although I felt nothing in the way of ‘cold’ during the treatment! I would definitely need the numbing cream.

A small area done with the ND Yag shows no signs of anything. Its hard to say if it worked well, as it was a small area without much hair to begin with. But, if it does work, I’d much rather go with the ND Yag at this point. I’d like to give the lightsheer a try, but all the docs around that use it are rather expensive.

Yeah, my dermatologist raised his rates considerably 5 months after acquiring the Lightsheer ET. Now his rates are more in line with what I have seen in the forums. It’s worth it though. I was lucky to get several treatments in at the lower Apogee rates.

I definitely have had less redness with the Lighsheer compared to the Apogee given the fluence rates used.

Has anyone with darker skin tried bleaching creme (forget what it’s called) to make their skin lighter to allow the use of higher fluences? It would be nice to be able to take advantage of the 60J fluence level available with the Lightsheer. Right now I can’t go higher than 45J.

For anyone that has light skin you should go with the Lightsheer. If it works on my darker skin at 45J it must really be incredible on light skin at 60J.

Now that the hot weather is here (90s) I really appreciate having my back and chest almost totally hairless. People that are naturally not hairy do not understand how miserable body hair can make you feel in the summer.


Hey there.
Andrea, I just want to ask what would you recomend to go with for removing face hair (bear)?
And, as I don’t know about the prices for laser treatments (i only know that they are expensive), I want to ask you about the range fo each treatment when treating with laser.
Thank you for your time and have a great day.

Andrea, woul you recomend anything or not ?
I have to do something already, as I’m seek and tired of shaving.
Thanks again and hope to hear fro you soon.

Teen, permanent male facial hair removal is a very difficult undertaking. Laser alone will probably not get it all, but for those with light skin and dark hair, it can sometimes make a dent in it.

An alexandrite can be good for this, but it is absolutley essential to go to someone who has done male facial hair before and had success. It’s very difficult to do right.

If you want your face completely smooth, you will probably need to follow up with electrolysis.

Male facial hair can be removed permanently, but it takes a real commitment of time, money, and pain tolerance to remove it completely and permanently. Be sure you understand what’s involved before trying it. Many consumers decide it better to keep shaving once they understand the difficulty of the procedure.

Never minded about pain…
Andrea, how much do you think would electrolys treatment cost for this kind of procedure ? Approximatelly?

Permanent removal of male facial hair by electrolysis alone can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 or more.