Experience with laser...settings question

Hello everyone…I am new to laser hair removal and these forums are very helpful, wish I had discovered them before starting my treatments!

I am getting laser on my bikini area (Brazilian), “happy trail”, under arms, and unibrow. I am looking for complete clearance on all areas except Brazilian, just getting a couple of clearances and hoping to scale/shape it down a bit. I approximate my skin type at fitzpatrick III – IV (closer to III, but somewhere in between…I am half middle eastern). Hair on all treated areas is dark. I already signed up for a package (again, before I discovered these forums) which includes the sixth treatment free.

My first treatment was April 24th.

I do not know what settings were used for this treatment, but I believe it was the same as the settings used for the second treatment.

I did experience complete shedding after three weeks on the unibrow, happy trail, underarms, and bikini line. 95% shedding on the Brazilian area. There was one small area in the “lower” Brazilian which did not completely shed. The hair looked lighter so it could be that… or it could be that she missed those areas (my first Brazilian treatment was very painful and I had to ask her to pause several times to pull myself together). Since I am not looking for complete Brazilian clearance, I am ok with this. But I’ll see what happens after future treatments.

I would estimate about 20% new growth after the initial treatment in all areas (no new growth on unibrow). I do realize it is too early to tell if this successfully damaged the follicles.

My second treatment was yesterday, June 8th.

The Brazilian/bikini area was less painful during this session (probably because the hair was less dense this time). I was able to get through the entire treatment without taking a break.

After the technician left the room, I looked at the machine (GentleMax alex) and the settings indicated 12 J/cm2, 3 ms, 2 hz. I believe they are using the largest spot size (which is 18mm?) because they told me they would be doing that before the test spot and first treatment.

I suspect after reading some posts here and on hairtell that the joules may be low, and I should see if the technician will increase it to around 14 or 16? And what is the best way to politely suggest it without offending? :slight_smile:

Hey there, glad things are mostly going well! 12 is definitely a bit weak. I’d probably just tell them that you’re getting some shedding but that some areas aren’t shedding at all and ask if it’s possible to use higher settings or at least try higher. If they are like no forget it, and stubborn, you could then ask what you’re being treated at and when they say 12, could tell them that you’ve been doing research into why you’re not shedding and found that the settings seem low. If you’re close to skin type 4 the issue may be that they don’t want to burn you, but the areas you’re treating usually are the lightest ones. Keep in mind if you had to pause at 12J then 14 and 16 will hurt more as well.

As another option, if they don’t want to go higher because your skin is dark, they could always use the Yag laser on you at higher settings, since GentleMAX is a Yag and Alex laser combined.

Thanks for the reply!! I am willing to deal with more pain if it means a better chance of eliminating the hair permanently :slight_smile:

I’ll ask about it on my next appointment.

I would ask them to test 14/18 and 16/18 and see if your skin is fine when those are used. That would be better.

Other than that, everything sounds ok. Don’t have any treatments anywhere where new hair is not in full growth yet. That means that you may need to wait 8-12 weeks for most of these areas.

I decided to email them and request having test patches done at the higher settings. I have been worrying about it since I saw my settings on my last appointment and I don’t want to lose any more sleep over it.

The response I got back was a recommendation to decrease the cryogen from 40ms to 30ms (leaving delay at 40ms). Would that improve the effectiveness? (I thought the only purpose of the cryogen was to decrease the pain?)

Also…Can they actually tell when they do a test patch if the settings are going to be effective? If so, how can they tell? I remember when I had my initial appointment, they zapped me a few times and waited to see what happened before doing the treatment.

30-40 ms is the pulse width. On GentleLASE, it’s not adjustable. It’s fixed at 3ms. So 30-40 ms is pretty high, relatively to that. The lower the pulse width, the better.

They probably just tested to make sure you don’t burn. Unfortunately, most clinics are more concerned with not burning you than with getting you results. Since they can explain away the latter, but not the former (which can get them sued).

You basically should go in person and try to make them feel ok about testing your skin at higher settings. “Higher” includes large spot size, short pulse width, and high joules. It’s combination of all 3. Generally, when we recommend to try at least 14J on 18mm on GentleLASE, it’s assumed that the pulse width is 3ms.

Perhaps what she meant was reducing the CRYOGEN delay from 40 msc to 30 msc. That would NOT EFFECT the treatment efficacy. They seem to be treating you at 12 Joules with a 3 msc pulse width. We do not know the size of the distance gauge ( spot size ) Perhaps it is 18 mm or 15 mm.

Thanks for the responses! I will definitely discuss the settings with them in the office before my next treatment.

Romeo, I believe it is 18mm spot size. I remember them telling me they use the largest spot size (to cover more area) during the consultation. I did not verify this yet, but I will ask. I will report back :slight_smile:

18mm is much better than 15mm so it’s good they are using that, but 12J is still unreasonably weak. You need to go higher, or you’re basically paying for a reeeeally expensive wax job. :stuck_out_tongue:

Another question: what is the range of acceptable settings for cryogen? Should cryogen be increased when joules are increased?

You really shouldn’t have to delve that deep into it. They should set the cryogen as advised by the manufacturer.

I just want to mention that if your pain tolerance is getting in the way of your treatment, there are plenty of things you can and should do in order to get your money’s worth and enjoy your best results! I’m super new to all this, (just had second sesh of Brazilian with Candella Gentle YAG Pro), but I was determined that my tech was NOT going to rush or skimp because I was yelping. There are established strategies to makes TATTOOING painless, so believe me, there is zero need for pain to factor into your hair removal plans.

Step 1) Advil Liqui-gels: I take 2 40 mins prior to treatment. Anti-inflammatory pain meds will work better for laser than other kinds.
Step 2) Topical lidocane: I’ve had great results with a basic Salonpass roll-on, but there are more advanced ointments that include both lidocane and
Step 3) Saran wrap: for even better numbing results, wrap the lidocaned areas tightly with saran wrap for 40 mins or so prior to treatment

There’s probably a lot I still don’t know - if you need more, just check a tattooing forum.