EpiTouch (alex) vs. Lightsheer (diode)

I had one treatment with the EpiTouch on May 23. I’m disappointed with the results. Not many hairs were shed. When the hair started growing back I thought it was making its way out of the shaft preparing to shed. Nooo. So far it seems about a 5%??? reduction. And it doesn’t seem to be randomly distributed. Small patches are bare and the rest is as usual. I can understand that the hairs have to be killed during the growth stage, but nobody can tell me that these growing hairs are distributed in patches.

I even tried to do my research before I got treatment. I picked a dermatologist that owns a skin care clinic. The technicians are RN’s. When I made my appointment I asked what kind of machine they used. The receptionist had to ask - she didn’t know! When she finally came back on the line, all she could (or would) tell me was that it was an alexandrite. My research up to that point said that an alex is good, so I paid my money and took my chances. During my appointment I checked the name on the machine. Then I came home to check it out. Results - not FDA cleared for permanent hair reduction. I posted messages about the EpiTouch on another board, but I didn’t receive any negative comments about it. I thought that maybe I would be o.k. Then, just the other day there were some negative comments in response to someone else’s posting. I am really bummed out!

This is what I know about my treatment with the EpiTouch - skin type II/dark brown-black hair, 5 mSec pulse, 22 joules. Areas treated - bikini, tummy, between buttocks. The negative comments about the EpiTouch included small spot size and not being very efficient when the larger endpiece is used. Sure, it’s really fast, but doesn’t that mean that the laser is just being scattered and wasted?? Plus, it’s old technology now. I don’t think anybody on the other message board can give me the real dirt on this machine, as none of the forum administrators use it. Bravo for them! Does anyone here have the scoop?

I am considering changing clinics where the Lightsheer diode is used. Now I am sickened with the thought that I will be screwed over again. My biggest worry is that they will do everything they can to prolong my treatment and make me spend more than is necessary. I’m not rich. The new clinic that I called is not operated by a doctor, but at this point I am thinking that I can’t do any worse. The technician told me that the Lightsheer is the latest technology available. Is this true? She also said that the Lightsheer will probably be more effective since the handpiece is actually pressed against the skin, forcing the blood away, which is supposed allow for a better zap.

Can anybody here let me know of their experiences with the Lightsheer? Are you happy with the results? How many treatments were required, etc? Can any of your experts give me a ballpark estimate on range of joules that are appropriate. I would like an answer to this question in order to gauge the clinic. For example, if they tell me that the Lightsheer is such a powerhouse that they are going to treat me with something like 5 joules, I think I should leave, right? Likewise, if they say that they will treat me at 100 joules in order to get good results, I will know that I should run. I don’t know what to expect from the Lightsheer. I only have the EpiTouch to compare it to. During my treatment I found that I could hardly feel it. But in some spots (maybe 1 out of every 7 zaps) - Holy smokes! It felt like only one hair was exploding. When she switched to the smallest endpiece for the delicate work between my buttocks, I could really feel it. I suspect that it was because it is difficult for the the cooling gel to stay applied between the buttocks?? The technician kept saying that there must be a lot of hair, but I think it was the lack of cooling gel. Any opinions from the experts? The technician was new, too. I was her first buttock guinea pig.

Well, that’s my sad story. I would really appreciate it if someone can answer my questions, particularly about the joule setting. It seems that people are afraid to go out on a limb by mentioning power settings. I know each person is different. I know to listen to my pain level. What I would like is for someone to tell it like it is! It’s a stretch for me to afford this treatment, so I certainly can’t afford to sue anybody over something as simple an an opinion. Rest assured, I am not looking for medical advice. Thanks for listening!

p.s. The diode technician said that the spot size is 9mm, if that means anything to anybody. :confused:

From what you say about the Epi-Touch I would say the Lightsheer is far better. The Lightsheer ET can supply up to 60J. My skin is too dark for 60J so I have bee treated at 45J. You can really feel it go deep into the hair follicles but it is tolerable for me without any anesthetic.

I have been treated with the Apogee alexandrite and the Apex diode lasers also. They both worked very well but the Lightsheer was the best.

When compression is used with the Lightsheer, it forces blood out of the area temporarily so the hemoglobin does not absorb the laser energy. It also forces the follicle to rotate closer to the skin surface. It has made a huge difference in effectiveness! I was treated with a 12 mm spot size. They could treat my entire chest and stomach in an hour.
Check some of the other threads in this forum where I discussed the Lightsheer. Also check out the diode laser section. I tried to hit the major points in this reply.

Having an experienced technician really helps too.

To summarize, the Lightsheer rules!


EpiTouch is an older model alexandrite. Although alexandrites are generally considered pretty good, some of the older EpiTouch models did not have very advanced skin cooling, which meant you had to get treated at lower energy levels.

Many consumers have been pleased with LightSheer diodes, but there have also been reports of overtreatment. There’s not a lot of published data on diodes, so it’s hard to say. I’d agree with RJC2001, though-- the LightSheer has had more positive feedback sent to me than the EpiTouch devices.

I’ve had excellent results with LightSheer. Two full treatments on chin/neck/jawline with only minimal regrowth (from initially at least 200 dark thick hairs). Since the two full treatments, I’ve had two touch up treatments to zap a total of 8 renegade hairs. No reactions. No scarring.

On underarms: Id estimate 10% regrowth after first session. The regrowth is all the hairs that were lighter in color and texture. Just had second session. Based on past history, expect very little regrowth.

May do a third session to touch up underarms and chin/jaw/neck, if it needs it.

Cost: $99 per session for the two chin/neck treatments. $165 per session for underarms, and this included the touchup on the chin/neck.

ks, can you tell us what dates you had each treatment?

Andrea, I did go back and check my treatment dates the other day – and I misspoke about the chin/neck/jawline treatments. I began treatments in March, and had three treatments, each exactly 4 weeks apart. The thing that got me confused about the number of treatments I had is that I had virtually no hair on the third treatment and my practitioner advised me not to bother coming in again specifically for that area. To back up a bit, during the initial consultation she advised that regrowth rates were different on different parts of the body, and facial hair had to be treated every four weeks, whereas other parts of the body generally required treatments every six weeks. So, on the third treatment, there was no hair visible, at least above skin level, though there was some scattered zapping which indicated the laser was targeting some forming hair follicles.

I scheduled my first underarm treatment 5 weeks after the third chin/neck/jawline treatment. At that time, there were a few facial hairs, and she did go over my whole jaw/neck/chin area. My second underarm treatment was six weeks later and there were 4 jaw/chin/neck hairs then, too. So, to sum up, I have been to a total of 5 sessions, 3 of which were fully dedicated to the jaw/chin/neck. But only on the first two sessions was there any significant presence of hair.

I do now think I’m getting more regrowth in the underarm area than I did on the chin/neck/jaw area, I can comment more about that later.

I’ve had both Epilight and Lightsheer, and I prefer the results of the Lightsheer better (so far). As background, I’m an MTF transsexual and have been on HRT for five years+. My skin is medium fair and most of the facial hair is dark.

I had four Epilight treatments four weeks apart in 2000, clearing the chin, upper lip, full neck and sideburns; total regrowth of affected hiars was around 80-90% within 6 months. After the first treatment, the reduction was only about 25% and I don’t think the reduction ever reached more than 60% over the 4 treatments.

On June 25th of this year, I had my first Lightsheer treatment, at the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Durham, North Carolina. For the first 5 days, my facial skin felt rough and bumpy as hair fell out, then gradually smoothed out over the next week as the rest of the dark hair fell out. I am quite pleased with the results so far; in the 34 days between and my second treatment yesterday, there was very little regrowth of dark hairs; just a little directly under my nose and some strays on my chin and neck. I would estimate the regrowth at far less than 5%. I can now wear a moderate foundation without beard cover; the permanent five o’clock shadow most transsexuals have is far less apparent than before.

Number of pulses used in the first session was 529 and I swear at least half of them, where the hair was thickest, were like damn hot needles. I also had a rude shock around the mouth area; my dental fillings reacted to the laser. We solved this by using a wad of wet gauze between the teeth and gum. Not perfect, but it helped.

The first treatment hurt like bloody hell, even using the numb gel; my facial hair is/was rather thick. The treatment yesterday had some pain, but far less than the first time. Only about 20 pulses out of 189 for the 2nd session actually made me gasp; the rest were tolerable and I barely felt it at all on my neck. There is far less of the ‘bumpy’ face syndrome this time around.

First treatment cost was $350, second was $250; CSC of North Carolina charges by the number of pulses).

It is still too early to give an unreserved recommendation, but so far, so good. Just being able to use foundation without using DermaBlend first is a godsend.


Thanks for the post, Jessica. A lot of transsexuals raced out to try Epilight in 1997 and were disappointed, especially for facial hair.

The diode lasers do show promise, and many have reported promising results. The true test, as you note, will be long-term effects, so please keep us posted.

Best of luck with your treatments!