Report of My Beard Thinning with CoolGlide

As I had mentioned before on this board, I am writing this report to help others who maybe interested in this procedure. I had this procedure done this afternoon. I am sorry if this report is too long.

Me and My Goal :
I had been thinking about thinning out my beard for a while. I had got positive results from laser treatment on my back and shoulders , and wanted to extend that to my beard area. I am tired of my heavy beard and having to shave twice a day (if I wanted to go out at night). My goal WAS NOT to get rid of my beard completely , just have it toned down few notches.

My skin color is 3+ (or maybe 4, on my face). I am male.

While achieving my beard thinning, I was concerned about the following

1- Will it grow back evenly, every time
2- Can I tolerate the pain (I had read too many horror stories)
3- Will the results be long lasting
4- Money

After consulting with several doctors and clinics , I decided to have this procedure done at the following place with Doctor Tony Ghidorzi,., in Chicago.

DR Ghidorzi mentioned that he does 1 or 2 beard reduction/elimination every week. This was the expert I was looking for. He also mentioned that all of his cases have resulted in even re-growth .

Precautions for Pain:
I used the following (many thanks to Andrea and this board for information in this area)
1- ELA-Max 5 - I put this cream heavily on my face and neck, several layers. I almost finished a whole tube of 30 grams. I put the cream on 1 hour before the procedure. The good thing about ELA-Max is that it does not need to be covered to be effective (unlike EMLA). This would have been very cumbersome on the face. The heavy cream looked like shaving cream on my face . By the time I got to my appointment , it was all absorbed and looked transparent and almost invisible (just in time, since after parking I had to walk few blocks before getting to the doctor . I did not get any looks from people on the street)
2- Vicodin, As Andrea mentions on this board , if you take this kind of pain relieve prescription drug , get a ride from someone to be safe. I had Vicodin from another Doctor.
3- Dristan (over counter nasal spray)- I am not sure if this one was needed, but I had few sprays in my nose. The idea is to keep your nose dry, since the discomfort and pain may cause some nose dripping during the procedure
4- Did not have any coffee or other beverages with caffeine (pop) , before the procedure.
5- Hydration - Had good amount of water through out the day
6- Had a good lunch (did not go with empty stomach)

I think major items are 1 and 2. I am not so sure about the rest

The Procedure:
I told the Doctor , that even though my appointment was for full beard removal, I am not sure if I can handle he pain. I asked him to start on the Neck and then I will decide if I want to do the rest of the face , or stop and just have the neck done. The doctor agreed and gave me a set of small and tight goggles. The machine “Coolglide” (made by Altus Medical) was set with the following parameters.

35/30, (35 joules energy and 30 is pulse width ?)
%20 Overlapping
10 mm Spot size (I think this is constant for this machine)

He put some sort of gel on the areas he was treating. It DID NOT hurt much and before I knew it he was done with my neck. He asked me if I want to proceed to the beard on my face or stop. I asked him to continue (not much pain so far).
On the face , there were some moderately painful spots (chin area) , but no big deal. Even the area around the lips and mustache area were not bad. He gave me some cotton pieces (the kind dentists use) to put in my mouth while he was doing the area around the lips. He said one thing that this would do , is to prevent my teeth (or caps) from discoloration (I guess laser rays can go right through the lips and get to your teeth).

Before long my whole face was done . I was pleasantly surprised at lack any major pain during this whole ordeal. I don’t know if it was any of my pain precautions, my tolerance, or conservative energy that he used. I didn’t care , this was tolerable and I was happy.

After the procedure he washed my face and cleared many hairs that had popped out and were sticking to my face. I looked in the mirror, I did not look that bad , just a little red.

Follow Up:

The Doctor told me to come back after 2-3 weeks to see if any touch ups are needed (the hair has shed by then). He also told me to keep shaving as normal. Since the severed hairs will still be pushed out of the shafts during the next two weeks.
He suggested to have the next procedure after 2 to 3 months. He said since my goal is thinning (not eliminating ) my beard, I should let it grow and see how it looks, and then decide if and when to go for the next one , this sounded good to me. For people who want to eliminate their beards I think the interval is 8 (or 6 ?) weeks.

After coming home tonight, I looked at my face. Other than looking a little red , it looks great. It looks very smooth and glowing. I am definitely presentable and do not have to hide. I may give my face a rest and not shave tomorrow.

While I still don’t know for a while if my beard would grow back evenly, I am very pleased with this experience.

Thanks to Andrea and all the other poster on this board for their help and information. I hope this is useful to someone. I am not associated with “Lake view Laser” Clinic ,but as a patient I appreciate their great service ( if you happen to go there let them know you heard about them from Alex).


You used almost AN ENTIRE 30g tube of ELA-MAX ON YOUR FACE?

Damn. I should have thought about using more of the Emla when I went for the procedure.

I used 5g of Emla the first time and about 7.5g of Emla the second time.

I really had never thought about using more than 10g . . . 30g on the face seems a little crazy, but maybe that is why you did not experience that much pain!

Of course everybody’s tolerances are different and you may have just had a high tolerance for the pain.

If my hair grows sparsely enough from my recent treatment, I might stay with my “conservative” use of Emla i.e. less than 10 grams.

But if it grows back super-thick, thick hair would hurt more at the next treatment, I might use more Emla, like 15g or more, use go buy a tube of ELA-MAX and do like you did!!

My doc told me to use a 5g tube of Emla, and I used 7.5g last time, without really asking him!, and now I am starting to think that it might be a good idea to use even more to numb the pain. This might even make it easier on the doctor (he can cover areas faster).

Also, I had not heard about the laser being able to discolor the teeth. That is really interesting. I might ask my doctor to put some cotton under my lip the next time. I just looked in the mirror, and I’m not sure if I see any or not. I might just being paranoid, but the front teeth do seem a little bit less white than the others. Probably just paranoia, but interesting nonetheless.

Hi Zap, I have enjoyed your reports on this Forum and have used your information to be better prepared for this procedure.

I think I used about 25 g of ElA-Max 5 (out of a tube of 30g). I read the information sheet in the box. In the “Overdosage” section it says " 60g application to 400 cm**2 for over 3 hours …" can cause problems , I was not even close to these limits. The important thing is the surface area covered and time left on skin , face/bread area is not that large (compared to back or chest).

By the way the ELA-max 5, is a by prescription (has 5% lidocaine). I think there is an over the counter version too. You can also buy this and EMLA , on the Internet . I have bought some EMLA cream (30 g tube) for $32 + shipping, from (no prescription needed).

I noticed (in your post on December 24th) that you do not cover EMLA, after application. I think it makes a difference to do so (based on my personal experience). The same is also recommended on the EMLA site , and the information sheet in the box. I know it is not easy to cover the face (I think Andrea has some tips on how to do this on this site). I have used ELMA before and I liked it (with covering)., for my face/Beard I will stay with ELA-Max. By the way I went over the lip lines (slightly, with out going into my mouth), when applying the cream on the lips (another tip from Andrea, for getting those close-to-lip hairs)

The amount of my pain (or lack there of) , is also dependent on the Laser type and settings. I think the doctor used a conservative setting on this first visit , which was fine since my goal is thinning. Your doctor may be using higher (relative) power since your goals are more aggressive (Beard elimination). I do not know what would be the equivalent power of 35 Joules (on Coolglide a YAG, with higher wavelength) to your LightSheer laser (a Diode Laser).

I don’t think you need to worry about teeth discoloration. I think what my doctor mentioned was potential of discoloration for “Caps” . If you don’t have any caps on your front teeth (I don’t) , you should be O.K. I don’t know what is the potential discoloration of regular teeth with laser (I could ask him next time). I also think my doctor was using these pieces of cotton (they are straight and stiff) under the lips , to get to the lips better and create straight path for the laser (my guess).


Here is an update and a shaving tip (that you may know already), after Laser Beard Treatment.

The redness and bumpiness of the face went away after a day and half, or (as is mentioned on this board ) by 48 hours. The last place to look “normal” and not red , was the neck area (thinner skin ?)

I shaved today (had skipped shaving for one day to let the skin heal). It went well. Here is tip that I had seen in "Men’s Health " magazine , and used. Here is the information from MH

Splash your stubble with warm water , slather on the shaving cream- but DON’T SHAVE. Wait about 3 minutes, then bring blade to face. “Exposure to water causes hair to expand 34 percent in volume, making it softer and easier to cut” , says Karen Burke M.D, a dermatologist in private practice in New York city.
“But we found in our study that this doesn’t happen until after 2 minutes and 50 seconds”

The above worked fine on the dead beard hairs that are making their way out . The shaving was not painful and the results are O.K (there is a slight shadow that I expect to reduce as more hair comes out and shaved)


Wow! Terrific comments, FuzzyBear! I used to use an entire 30g tube of EMLA on my face, and it definitely reduces the pain. You have to leave it on long enough (an hour or more), and then treatment is quite bearable in my case.

Your tips on post-laser shaving are great, too-- it’s also true after electrolysis-- try to avoid shaving until the redness and bumps subside.

I’m sure many others here can’t wait to hear your follow-up reports… thanks again!

Hi Andrea, Thank you for your kind words. Here is a brief update,

After 3 weeks all of the pigmented hairs are gone (Gray ones still there , but they seem not to grow fast).

During the first week after procedure, you have to be very patient , the dead hairs that are not shed yet , give you that not-shaven look.
The dark beard was mostly gone by second week, but it took another week for all the hairs to be cleared. It is a great feeling , I have not have my face this clear since I was a teenager. I know the hair is going to grow back , but I am enjoying this while I can.

One way to shave the last few remaining hairs is to use a dry blade (no shaving cream) , be very careful not cut your face and don’t do this if you still have lots of hair left. This worked well on the last few hairs (or patches).

Good tip, and we all look forward to your updates!