Ok guys, I am getting kind of discouraged about laser treatments… I don’t understand why. Here’s my story:
I have had two treatments done on my lower legs (thick, dark hair), underarms (same), bikini line (same), toes, and abdomen. The hair on my toes and abdomen are finer than the other hairs, but dark. My settings for the first treatment was 32, and 34 for the second. She is using the Lightsheer diode on me. I am nervous because the hairs on my tummy are fine and I am scared that it will not work. I have put a lot of money into this that I will be paying off for a while and I don’t want bad results. I get electrolysis on my face and neck and have been considering starting on my abdomen. So now I feel like I wasted a lot of money with the laser, but I bought a package so I can’t get it back. So, should I still continue to get laser treatments with the electrolysis or just the electrolysis? I have struggled with the hair for so long and really want it to be gone. I want to feel like a woman. Could getting the laser treatments on the fine hair cause more hair to grow in? I’ve heard stories like that. I am also discouraged because new hair has been growing in below where my bikini treatments are being done… halfway down my thigh! They are not coarse like my bikini line, but they are really dark and they grow fast. I get little pimples when I shave them. Another reason I am discourage is because my boyfriend, a few years ago got 5 treatments of laser on his back with the gentlelase. He was treated with 10 joules up to 30 by his last appointment. He said it always hurt really bad, but he never had any results, so he quit going. He would shed, but still have the same amount of growth everytime. I guess I am also nervous for him because he really hates his hair and he wants to get rid of it… but now he feels as if he will never be able to with laser. Is there any hope for him? I just want to be a somewhat hair-free individual and couple that love our bodies!! Please off me some encouraging advice to make me feel better about this whole situation. Thanks for listening!

Here’s what I’ve learned through this sight and research. Andrea, and a few others on this sight really seem to know their stuff so keep checking in.
I might be in the same situation as your boyfriend but am trying laser for the first time, just had first tx. It definitely is important to have a good tech AND to be tx at the appropriate settings. For alexandrite apogee 9300 it should be set at least 30joules(fluence). This setting is for back, shoulders, arms. Research states this, not me.
Most people on this sight are saying fine, or sparse hairs should be cleaned up by electrolysis.
Laser at low settings on sparse hairs(thin) will not work. For a guy a low setting will NOT work so if you can afford it-get your guy to go for it again.
As a husband-wife team we find it easier to tackle a problem together…success or failure. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

for the areas you are getting done, you should get good results. 2 treatments is not very indicative yes, although you should see a pretty good clearance now on the areas where the hair is most dense and coarse, like bikini and underarms. for me personally, the stomach area is working, but at high settings, 30 joules with GentleLASE, which is somewhat equivalent to 40-45 on LightSheer. What is your skin and hair type? Can you go higher than 34 joules? Is your tech using compression?

Also, do you have a lot of hair on your stomach area an toes? If the hair is sparse, electrolysis might be a better way to go for those areas. How many hairs total are you treating there would you say? Also, how fine are they? People have various definitions when they mean fine. Have those hairs been shedding? Laser should be best for underarms, bikini, and legs if hair there is coarse and dark and your skin is light.

Increased hair growth has only been reported on women’s face and men’s upper arms/back areas. You shouldn’t have that issue with the area you’re treating. Also, I’ve noticed those reports are mostly from those using alexandrite laser like GentleLASE and at low settings.

As far as your boyfriend is concerned, he was definitely undertreated for at least the first bunch of treatments. 10 joules is a waste of time on a man’s back. If his skin can handle at least 30 joules, that’s what he should start out with. Also, I would recommend Apogee or LightSheer as a better choice for men’s back areas and also to go up to 40-50 joules if his skin can handle it. Has he also looked into the reason for this growth? Is he healthy? Is it hereditary, etc?

After my experience, I absolutely no faith in diode lasers. I recieved five treatments, and the Syneron Comet is a diode laser, and my laser levels, alone, were as high, or higher than yours. Almost every bit of hair came back. It was a complete waste of time and money. I hear exactly what you’re saying and I know what you’re saying is true. And I shed and went hairless for weeks as well. The shedding really means nothing. All it means is that the hair shaft’s anchoring proteins have been denatured by the heat so the hair fall out. It doesn’t mean anything in the way of actual permanent hair loss.

As for treatment settings, you really don’t have much of a choice in that. Clinics set those levels. And some of those ‘effective levels’ are going to be far too painful so you or the technician won’t want them anyway. The clinics are dealing with enough lawsuits, they don’t want to run the risk of burning you. They’re going to treat you with what they feel comfortable with, and that’s if it’s above what you can tolerate. See, the whole concept of laser hair removal is great until you factor in roasting skin and lawsuits from burned and poorly treated patients. People get all excited about how great LHR could be, but in practice, the whole industry is in very early stages, and there’s alot of claims being made that just aren’t true. Studies associated with LHR are few. I’d imagine the tests done are heavily funded by the laser manufacturers themselvelves. I worked in medical research and product developement R&D, I know how these companies work.

What’s my opinion? I would start to pursue electrolysis. It’s a long road, so start now. If you make it a regular thing, the progress will be made gradually but surely. If you considered two laser treatments a large sum of money, then don’t risk throwing it away on other lasers at clinics that will be new to you. Use it for something tried and true. Now, if you have the money then look around. Maybe consider an alexandrite laser yourself. I’m going to try some GentleLase treatments because I have found that laser to be the most credible judging by feedback. I know your boyfriend thought of it as unsuccessful, but LA girl is right in that treatments below a certain range are useless. Judging by what I see the Gentlelase treatments yield, I may pursue those treatments, or, forget it and begin electrolysis, in which I’m really actually eager to start doing.


I would have to say that on bikini and underarm areas most women get good results with laser. I haven’t seen ANY negative posts about those areas from women getting treated at good settings with either LightSheer or Alexandrite lasers. It’s the other areas where people experience more issues for various reasons. My first 2 treatments with GentleLASE were at 14 and 16 joules respectively and I still got 95% shedding and lasting results. I do have very light skin, type II, and dark coarse black hair in those areas.

By the way, for those following my treatments, I did have ONE LightSheer treatment with a different doctor at 34 joules and experienced maybe 10% shedding (this was treatment #3 or 4 I think on bikini, underarms, and stomach). I was actually pretty shocked at the difference. I still don’t know why this happened. I think it was a combination of improper treatments application (the doctor didn’t use compression at all) and too low of settings on LightSheer (I think LightSheer should have been at 45 joules or so considering I was fine at 30 joules with GentleLASE). Needless to say, I went back to my original doctor with GentleLASE and had almost 100% shedding and lasting results that I was used to.

Thank you for your post. However, I am sensing some inconsistancies it what you said. Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps you can clarify. First you said that laser doesn’t work because the proteins are denatures (broken up) by the heat. So you don’t believe that laser works at all? But then you started talking about how one needs higher settings and a good technition, etc. This implies to me that maybe you do have some hope that it works? Otherwise why would you give advice as such? I am not discrediting you at all or trying to start an argument. I just want to get things straight. I have done loads of research on the topic and I STILL get so many mixed reviews, opinions, and explinations. I just don’t know what to believe. So I took it upon myself to find out first hand. It can’t do me much harm (unless I get burned, however I would NOT let that happen). I am very careful in my choices, especially since it is my body. By the way, I do electrolysis on my face and belly, and so far have had good results. It is just so long and tedious and there are so, so many areas to be done. I wanted to see if I can get a good chunk of it out of the way with laser. If it doesn’t work, then I’m SOL, but at least I will know and I can tell my story. Again, thank you for your reply. Every bit of information helps me to understand.

I understand why you are asking for clarification and I want you to understand what it is I’m pointing out. I stated:

The shedding really means nothing. All it means is that the hair shaft’s anchoring proteins have been denatured by the heat so the hair fall out. It doesn’t mean anything in the way of actual permanent hair loss.

And you asked:

First you said that laser doesn’t work because the proteins are denatures (broken up) by the heat. So you don’t believe that laser works at all?

Hair grows in cycles. Follicles have a growth phase, then a dormant period. While the hair is either growing or resting, it is being anchored in the follicle by proteins, the hair bulb itself doesn’t have enough surface area to grasp the hair all by itself tightly enough to keep the hair in. So these anchoring proteins keep the hair in place. When exposed to focused heat intensity, these anchoring proteins break down, they become ‘de-natured’. When this happens, the hair can’t stay in place effectively, so the shaft drops out of the follicle. This is shedding. But, the primary bulb, the region that actually gives rise to the hair shaft, isn’t completely damaged. So, when the next growth cycle kicks in, the bulb will just sprout a new hair. That’s why shedding is misleading. A truly effective treatment will not only disrupt the anchoring proteins, but will also destroy the hair bulb’s whole cellular mechanism to the point where a new hair cannot be regenerated. Now, the laser setting level that this actual bulb destruction takes place is dependant on hair color (efficiency of energy/heat relay) and depth of the hair bulb (use of compression, strength, and follicle angle). For various people, these factors may require that a really strong dose is needed to accomplish this. This strength may be just completely out of the pain tolerance range of some people seeking treatment. So, they get treated at sub-effective level. They don’t get hair loss.

Laser sources are different, they have different wavelengths. Different wavelengths mean different absorption rates on the same color hair. Two lasers, one at 755nm and one at 1054nm, both set at 30 Joules, are not going to deliver the same energy to the bulb. One will be absorbed better by the hair shaft, it’s simple chromatography. I believe, just by all the consensus and opinion I’ve observed, that the alexandrite may be the most consistent laser. The most efficient, the lowest output-pain/absorption-delivery ratio. I want to see this for myself. That’s why I want to see how a GentleLase treatment would work out.

If you want anything further explained please ask. I don’t see your comments as negative in any way. Any discussion that allows light to be shed on the topic and uncovers things we need to look at is a benefit for all.


Thanks Mantaray. Your explanation helped a lot. I understand that the joules are the amount of energy released from the laser. What is the spot size and wavelength and how do they factor into the “equation” of effectiveness per say? What do the levels of these values need to be to create effectiveness in relation to joules. For example, my fitzpatrick rating is a 3. My hair is very dark. My laser is the lightsheer diode. What are the normal values for this laser? Thanks for everything!

spot size is the area that laser covers with one pulse basically. for some lasers, like GentleLASE, it’s adjustable. I believe for most LightSheer machines, its 9mm. The smaller the spot size, the more careful the tech has to be not to miss spots and helps to overlap a bit too. short pulse on LightSheer is more effective than long pulse. more energy at once to kill the hair.

wavelength is with what power the laser light (joules) is delivered. short pulse on LightSheer is more effective than long pulse.

Actually, wavelength is the frequency of the lightsource itself. That is, where it is in the light spectrum, i.e. infrared to ultraviolet. Different wavelengths appear as different colors, or no color at all. The nm (nanometer) designation is the actual length of one complete sine wave of that particular light’s frequency. Joules is just an energy measurement, much like foot-pounds, watts, or calories. Whether it’s spread out over a longer pulse, or shorter pulse.