I’ll keep my updates/questions here from now on.
I originally had laser done on my back, shoulders and neck with GentleLase, and they used very low settings to avoid burning me (I’m middle eastern). It was 18mm and 6-7J. I found out this was way too low to have any permanent effect so I went on hiatus for a while until I figured out what to do next.
More than 10 weeks later, maybe even 12, when the hair was pretty much back to the way it was originally, I went in for a treatment with the GentleYag at 18mm 20-22J and 10ms. I had a big reaction on my skin during treatment. It has now been almost 4 weeks and honestly, I believe I clearly had better shedding with the GentleLase even though settings were super low. I was puzzled because after reading a lot on this forum I thought the yag at decent settings would do me better. Basically I would say 80-85% shed or pepperspotted, there are quite a few hairs here and there growing slowly and several small to medium sized spots that are growing normally. A couple of these are big enough that I don’t think she could have missed them. And she checks for the skin’s reaction during treatment for areas that are not red. I do have dark, coarse hair btw.
I now believe it’s possible that while 18mm on a yag might work okay for the coarsest and deepest of hair such as the male beard or other similarly coarse areas, for areas that are not quite as coarse, it may be better to use a smaller spot size and higher fluence. Not just because the hairs may be closer to the surface, but based on an interesting thread by ‘t4ngent’ which includes a Candela document, it seems that smaller spot sizes at high enough fluence can actually deliver more energy at every depth (up to 4.5mm in the document and probably a little more based on the percentages listed there) than the largest spot size can, which is limited to lower fluences because it hits more skin tissue making it less safe and more painful at higher fluences.
Anyway, based on all this I decided to try having my touch up at a smaller spot size like 12 or 15mm and higher fluence. However, the nurse didn’t know how to change the spot size, I guess they only ever use 18mm. So I decided not to do it yet, and I scheduled a consultation and test spot for next week with another place that has the GentleMax. The nurse at this new place seems willing to talk settings and change the spot size, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ll give an update then.