It’s my first post, I’ve been reading for a while now.
I am seeking help figuring out what the proper settings should be for myself when using a Cutera CoolGlide Laser Machine.
While reading through the forums I’ve learned that it’s hard to help answer someones questions when there is little information provided. So here are some further details:
I am a male in my mid30s, self-assessed myself a Type III on the Fitzpatrick scale when filling out paperwork, I might be in between III-IV. I definitely have dark coarse hair. I have/had too much hair on my legs that it is not very appealing, same with the arms and most/rest of body. I I started out with LHR around Sep2012, don’t know if I can name spa’s, but I started by going to a place that has both the Cynosure Elite and the EpiCare Duo by Light Age (Alex Lasers?). At the time I had not done much research but was motivated by an online 6x full-body laser deal. Risky but I think I was relatively lucky and it went well, probably because I did not have high expectations. The place/technician/laser seemed great. Since the sessions were full-body, the treatment was a bit less thorough than if someone were doing a single area, so the results were patchy, but at times the treatment hurt quite a bit that I did not want to ask for it to be any slower or more thorough. I did not keep track of all my settings as I did not quite yet understand all the different parts that are involved in it, but sometimes I tool a picture of the machine at the end, I’ll try to post that shortly if I can find them. I also did my face/beard as part of the sessions and after six sessions I think I had great results, although obviously I need more and I got another six sessions at the same spa just for the face/beard (and brazilian). In the middle of sessions 2-4 I did have some inconvenient patches, but I had read this happens and I was just hoping to get over than stage and eventually I did and the face/beard area is much smoother now with no unsightly patches, hopefully ready to be finished off by electrolysis, especially the white hairs, and there is a chance the laser caused more grey/white hairs to appear on my chin, or at least I did not remember as many.
The Laser probably worked better in some areas than others, and it hurt less/more in some areas than others… the beard hurt a lot the first few times but it was quick and got better later, the underarms and bikini area responded well and did not hurt much, except when getting too close to the private parts. The legs and arms hurt sometimes, others not.
Also, I have the kind of skin that you can write letters with your fingers and it will become slightly read and easy to read. This means my skin got read right after the treatment, even a little bubbly/uneven skin. The redness would go away after an hour or 2/3, but sometimes for another couple of days I could see some pigmentation (not burns). I saw similar pictures by LaserQ’s posted to which LAGirl mentioned they were not burns but pigmentation. (http://www.hairtell.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/107299/3.html). While the technician was mindful, she did not make a big deal out of it, and just asked me every follow-up time how the previous time had gone and if I had any problems, etc.
That’s it for the history of my first six sessions of LHR. After being done with that, as I mentioned, I stayed with the same spa for the face/brazilian. But then I proceeded to get a couple of Lifebooker deals elsewhere. One place I chose to do three more sessions for the chest/stomach/butt/back, they use cynosure as well, and the first session went very well, it was thorough, and it hurt. When I say it hurt, I dont mean “too much”, I mean it more in that way that the experts here say that if it’s not hurting it’s probably not working. It is bearable pain and a good sign I guess. With the Cynosure, I can see results right away. It smells like burnt hair, a lot of it comes out immediately or is ready to be removed if I were to pull on it, and of course also a lot of it is left behind to shed in the next 1-3 weeks.
The other place I got a package for was a place that utilizes Cutera Lasers,Coolglide and Prowave, which include the Alexandriteand Diode laser settings, which is the part that confused me and even though in the past I had already thought I would not go there, for some reason I got confused later on and purchased the deal, and realized it too late. So anyways, I have read and know now that the Coolglide is a ND Yag laser, correct? And also read that the settings on this machine have nothing to do with the settings on other machines… And, not my best option, not the best if your skin type is not beyong Type IV, and some even say may not provide long-lasting results. The only thing I have going for me is that it is good for dark coarse hair. And I do have much darker/coarser hair than average, plenty of it in the legs and arms. although much less after the Alexandrite (since then I notice some patches with no hair, some with much finer hair, and some with the usual coarse hair).
But anyways, now I’m stuck with trying it out and thought I would just lower my expectations and at least hope that it does something good and get rid of the plenty left coarse hairs. Except that I went to my first session and I was even less impressed than my low expectations. I know the machines are different. The Cynosure used the cool blowing air while this one uses the cool gel that is spread on you, it’s not as messy as I thought. But going back to my original question, I believe the technician started me off with significantly low settings. I know settings are composed of various parts, and I only focused on the big 15J on the screen. I took a picture, will try to post it, although at the end it said 12J, but it was on 15J most of the time, then she lowered it to 14/13, and then later I guess 12. She started with with the arms, and noticed they got a little red, I told her they usually get a lot more redder in my previous sessions. I also told her it hurt, but very little, and much less than what I’m used to. She explained this machine hurts less. She also explained “You and I have the same skin color, and I could use much higher settings on my hair, but because of your very coarse hair I have to use lower settings on you.” And she kept checking me for redness and asking if I was ok. I kept repeating that it was very tiny/common redness and that it didnt hurt much. I did get some pigmentation/marks traces, but much less than usual and they disappeared sooner than usual. The technician asked if I could smell the burnt hair, but I couldnt, or not as much as usual. I felt much less hair snaps and that little sound that the hair makes when it is getting burned I guess.
Next time I go back, I would like to request higher settings. But I would like to know what reasonable settings are, and what aggressive settings are. Maybe raise them up to reasonable level first, then if the skin is fine, let them be a bit more aggressive. I dont want to end up paying for nothing, I want some results.
What else should I post about my details in order to get better advise on settings? Feel free to give me advice on what laser machines might be better on me. (Like, stick to the Cynosure which seemed to have been working). Hopefully there is any hope here with the Coolglide. My other option would be to ask them to switch to the ProWave, but that is an IPL, and I may be wrong, but have read around here that similiarly it would not be an optimal choice…
Thanks a lot for your attention and help!