Thinning the Beard with CoolGlide

I wanted to hear the experience of anyone who has used the “Coolglide” Laser (made by Altus) , on thinning the male Beard. I have been looking into this (the beard area) for a while. I want to see If the re-growth would be uniform and Also if this laser (in hands of a experienced doctor) can produce long lasting/permanent results , after one or two treatments. My goal is to thin my beard evenly and not completely get rid of it.

The doctor that I consulted has told me that he has done more than 20 beard removal/thinning. And he assured my that it would grow back evenly, each time. He recommended the use of Coolglide laser (he also has the GentleLase in his office, but thinks Coolglide would provide a more even result for me and is more suitable for my skin color)

Thanks to Andrea for providing this forum and also answering my earlier questions about finding places that offer LightSheer laser in Chicago (I was investigating all lasers)

Here is some more information about me. I am male . My skin type is 3+ and maybe 4 (on the face ). I have had treatments on my back + shoulders (3 times), arms and forearms (1 time) with GentleLase Plus, before and I am very happy with the results .

After reading all the articles about beard removing on this board and another board. It seems (based on one other user) that using Lightsheer , or Gentlelase Plus on the beard area needs at least 3-4 treatments , before uniform re-growth is Achieved. I do not want to have 3-4 treatments since I don’t want a complete removal , I also do not want to do this due to financial reasons (in addition to the pain involved).

Is it possible to thin the Beard evenly and permanently with 1-2 treatments with Coolglide ? If you have used it for this purpose please let me know your experience. If I go through with this I will post my results.


Hi FuzzyBear-- I’m glad the site has been helpful to date, and I hope I can give a little more guidance.

If you have had good results from laser before, I would expect you might see somewhere from one-thirds to two-thirds reduction in facial hair after two treatments. Whether this will be a permanent reduction is hard to say for sure. Much will depend on how high a treatment you can tolerate. Beard removal is going to hurt WAY worse than any other hair removal you’ve had. I would look into options for making treatment more bearable if pain is a concern.

If you and your doctor both feel that you can achieve your goals in two treatments, I’d say go for it. If you feel like trying to negotiate a bit, maybe you can get him to agree to free or reduced cost touchups if it is uneven or comes back thicker than he told you to expect.

In any case, please keep us posted on your progress. There are many men who are interested in this procedure, but very few have actually followed through to date.

Dear Andrea, thank you for your response and your suggestions. I would be very happy with 1/3 reduction. The risk is if it does not grow back evenly and I have to keep going back. The other considerations also (as you pointed out ) is the pain. . I was just looking at a table showing the Follicles density /cm**2 concentration. For different body parts , Beard is 500 and Back is 70 . The doctor mentioned that he would use 30j initially .As you know the energy applied is different on different lasers, I know Coolglide works at a higher wavelength and penetrates deeper, and absorbed less by the melanin but I have no idea of how high or low 30j is for Coolglide (I am more familiar with GentleLase energy levels, since that is what they have used on my back)

The doctor has given me a prescription for “ELA-Max 5”. I have not used this before (have used ELMA). The advantage as you know is that you don’t need to cover ELA-Max (unlike EMLA), I hope it works as well (or better). The doctor will provide the touch up (if needed after two weeks, for areas missed). I like your suggestions of negotiating touch ups if it is grows back uneven. (have not talked to him about this yet).

I still have not decided to do this. I will post my experience if I go through with this procedure.

Hello FuzzyBear,

My goals are the same as yours, thining my beard without completely getting rid of it.

I had 5 LaserSheer treatments. After the 1st one, the results were rather uneven with small patches growing here and there. But this problem went away as soon as I had my 2nd treatment. But eventually everything grew back and now I am at the same point as I was before I started the treatments. Except that now I know the meaning of PAIN:frowning:

I am curious: why should CoolGlide (or any other laser) produce more even results?

Great forum. Good luck all!

Hi Mike2003-- sorry to hear about your disappointing laser results. Facial hair removal for males is by far the hardest hair to remove permanently. Even good equipment in well-trained hands does not mean you will have success. I know people who had 20 to 40 treatments and still needed more.

LightSheer is one of the better ones for facial hair. The long-pulse Nd:YAGs like CoolGlide have some catching up to do in terms of published results before I’d say they were effective for permanent reduction of male facial hair.

Fuzzybear, it’s difficult to compare energy levels across lasers, since much depends on an individual consumer’s tolerance.

[ February 07, 2003, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Andrea ]

Fuzzybear, can you tell me who you are going to? I am also from Chicago and looking for a reliable practicioner.

thanks a bunch!

Hi mike2003, thanks so much for your reply and your information. This is the kind of insight I was hoping to get. I will wait till I am convinced this works, before I do anything. First let me answer your question and then I have some follow up questions.
You had asked why “Coolglide should provide a more even result”. I don’t know the answer and the reason. My doctor said that based on his experience he has achieved more even results with Coolglide. This doctor has a GentleLase Plus Laser too. He uses Coolglide (not the GL +) for Beard removal/reductions. I asked if the use of Coolglide is all due to my skin color (3+), he said no he uses Coolglide for all beard cases. He also said the results are permanent (he has done more than 20 cases, some for removal and some for thinning).

Mike, I know this is a very painful process, I was wondering if you used any creams (Emla, Ela-max) ? and if so is there anyway to reduce the pain (maybe put more layers of the medication , on sensitive areas i.e. mustache, jaw line and neck ).

I have heard that the beard/hair removal is more difficult to achieve, if you are younger (more testosterone?). I am in my early 40s (with still lots of testosterone), can I ask about how old are you (20s,30s) ?. I am trying see if there is any chance that this would work for me (I have seen reports from others that it has worked for them). Also what is your skin color (II, III,…) ?

By the way , I did not use LightSheer, since I had a test area done (at another clinic, on my Arm), and it seemed to produce more redness and even scabbing than GentleLase (which I have used before , with minimal temporary redness , and no scabbing). I do not want any scabbing and trauma (more than what I have to) on my face. I hope “Coolglide”, is even less traumatic than the other two.

Andrea, Thank you for your response about Beard treatment in general, and Coolglide in particular. The only place I have seen some study results about Coolglide , is their site. ( Here is one paper from 2000. This is a small paper, I wish there were more studies.

MervSmith, Here is the contact information for the Dr. That I am considering for this procedure. There are 3 pictures of Beard and Neck hair removal on his site. The picture under “Male Beard #1” maybe a generic picture (I think I have seen it on some other site too), but I am not sure. The price is $500 for full face/beard (or less of you take a package of 3). Let me know if you choose to try this, maybe we can keep each other informed about the results. I think he is a competent doctor and I have used him before for Back hair removal. He does not charge any consultation fee, on the first visit.

Dr. Tony Ghidorzi

Hi all: I am fascinated with this discussion. We have treated men for facial hair at our facility, some wanting the type of reduction that is mentioned in the above posting. We use the Altus CoolGlide Vantage for all of our treatments, having rid ourselves of the Lightsheer. One of the reasons for this is because of the incidence of unpleasant side effects (scabbing, hyper- or hypo-pigmentation)from the Lightsheer treatments, and the fact that our patient population is at least 50% Fitzpatrick 4-6. These side effects are simply not acceptable for this population. The effects of the CoolGlide are permanent - the studies are there if you wish to see them. One thing I can say is that because of the scatter of energy from all lasers, you cannot guarantee an even reduction of hair - the pattern of hair growth itself is not even, and the pattern of the laser spot is very dependant upon the skill of the person operating it. There must be at least a 20% overlap when tracking the laser in order to get a uniform reduction. Whether you can get the type of overall, even reduction that you are looking for is questionable, especially in only 2 treatments. You want to go to a practitioner who has a lot of experience with this particular machine, and the documentation to prove it. It is an incredible machine in the right hands, but my personal opinion is that 2 treatments is not going to get the result you want. Men’s beards are extremely resistant, and require many treatments to get effective reduction. If you are Fitzpatrick 3-4, a setting of 30/25 would be very conservative, but a good starting point for a test spot, especially if your beard is very dark and dense. This is the test we would use for a Fitzpatrick 5-6, but again, a man’s beard can be extremely dense, and it would be advisable to use a lower fluence/pulse size for a test. Hope this rather lengthy answer helps!

Hi hairfetish, thank you for your very informative and detailed post. It is great to hear these from an expert who has performed this procedure. This is very helpful for me and perhaps all the other men who are interested in this procedure ,as Andrea pointed out. I have some more questions to better prepare for this and know my choices.

  1. Thank you for sharing the technique for even reduction. Does the “overlap” mean if the laser beam light beam size (width) is 10mm (just an example, It’s probably larger). You will go over a path (10mm) and then go back over the two edges of this track. ? and the covered area would be 2mm (laserd twice) + 6mm (laserd once) + 2mm (lasered twice ) , and so on ?

  2. You mentioned the 2 treatments is not enough for even reduction. What is the minimum number of treatments that you have observed reaches this goal , in your experience ? Also how uneven is the beard after the first treatment (holes, large areas) ? I am trying to get a sense if it could be hidden by close shaving. I know these are general questions and results could vary.

  3. What do you recommend for pain reduction ? Is there a technique (several layers ?) of Ela-Max for less pain during the procedure. How bearable is this ?

  4. What are the other laser parameters (thanks for your confirmation of 30 j as conservative start) ? For example what is your recommendation for spot size (if adjustable), or pulsewidths (higher is more permanent ? 300ms ?)

  5. Where is your clinic in Florida (URL/contact info , if available). Also if you happen to know any skilled practitioners for this procedure in Chicago/Midwest, please let me know.

Few weeks ago when I asked my doctor if he does anything different for beard removal versus even thinning (question 1, above), he said no. He also said that he has observed even re-growth. After reading your convincing comments, I am a little confused (not by you). I am not sure as a patient, how to proceed.

Best Regards,

Wow, Fuzzy, I don’t know if I can keep up with you!! Anyway, I will attempt to answer most of your questions (I hope). The number of treatments that we recommend are from 4 to 8 treatments for approximately 80% reduction. This is very general for several reasons, among them being the location of the treatment area (lip, chin in women being hormonally generated and EXTREMELY resistant, and beard area in men also hormonally induced and VERY resistant), the density of the hair, the color of the hair and the skin color. One of the reasons we use the machine we do is that we have enormous leeway in our settings. Spot size, however, is always 10mm for hair reduction. The spot size determines the depth of penetration, and a 10mm spot will effectively treat about 4mm skin depth (approximately the depth of the hair root). Fluence and pulse width are adjusted according, again, to the color and texture of the hair. 300ms on the CoolGlide is never appropriate! Fluence goes up, pulse width goes down and vice-versa. With darker skin tones, fluence and pulse width are very close to each other (that is, 30/30 or 30/25 for dark skin/dark hair as opposed to 50/15 for lighter skin/fine dark hair) Of course all of this pertains to the Altus machine only - each laser has its own appropriate settings, which is why the practitioner must be trained by the company for each machine they might use in their practice. As far as who in Chicago might own an Altus machine, I suggest you call Doug Delany at 201-410-1975. He is the Altus rep for NY/Boston, and will know who has a machine in your area. Someday, we hope, they might actually post this information on their company web-site (Mr. Connors, are you listening?) I hope this wordy reply helps you out - let me know if I can provide any more info!

Hi hairfetish, Thank you for your answers about the number of treatments needed and also the parameter settings . This has been very helpful for me (and I am sure many others). Thanks to your suggestion, I did call the Altus Rep in my area (got it from Altusmedical site) to find the list of doctors/clinics that use Coolglide in my area. I agree with you , it would be helpful for patients (like me), if they had this information posted on their Web site. As you may know Candela (makers of GentleLase) have this kind of list on-line,

thanks Fuzzybear, When i decide on a place i will definitely keep those from chicago, and anywhere else for that matter, posted on my progress.