Treatment #9 - questions for experts!

I’m a 23yo male with pale skin, dark brown hair. I’ve had 8 treatments so far on legs, chest and abs, and am currently in the process of having my 9th session. The clinic uses a CoolGlide Nd:Yag laser.

The results have been pretty good so far - although 9 treatments were rather more than I anticipated needing. My lower legs are practically hair-free (there’s the odd cluster here and there, but nothing significant) and the other areas are much, much sparser than when I started.


  • My knees still have a lot of hair on them. I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done about this, as the hair looks quite blond.

  • My upper legs (especially inner thighs) have quite a bit of hair remaining. The hair is finer that it used to be, but there’s still plenty of color to attract the laser. Unfortunately, in today’s session, nothing happened. Virtually no hairs frizzeled, and although the skin went a bit red there was very little follicular edema. The nurse was quite puzzled! We tried various settings, but to no avail. Finally the nurse reduced the laser spot size to allow her to crank the power up past its usual maximum, right up to a whopping 120J! Only then did we start seeing the results we’d expect, but by this time the skin had been hit 4-5 times already! I know we have some experts on the forum here… perhaps they could suggest techniques for targeting the hairs?

  • At my 8th treatment, my chest was practically clear, but we went and zapped it anyway. Now, at my 9th, there’s (I think) more hair than there was at my 8th! And the same with my abs. I go back again on Monday to do Chest/Abs. Does anyone have any comments as to what may be causing this - is it just another hair cycle we’d previously missed that’s now coming through? How should we tackle it?

Thanks in advance, guys… As payment I’ll post before/after pics for you when I’m done. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

What is you skin type? 120 joules? I believe none of the lasers go up that high…They usually max out at about 50 joules. How low was the spot size? It’s important to have a balance between the joules and the spot size. Also, it’s harder to tackla fine hairs with Yags. They’re best for dark coarse hair. After a while, you experience diminishing returns. RC will probably attest to this and will be able to help you more with his experience.

It’s been years for me and I still get the odd blond hairs around my knees. I have them removed with electrolysis.

I also had several big clumps left on my inner upper thighs. I also had those removed with electrolysis.

Other than that, my legs are… as my name states… hairless.

…120 Joules?! Are you sure? That’s a mammoth energy level. Is that safe? I hope it’s not prematurely aging your skin.

…I can relate to the hair around the knees thing. My legs are pretty sparse, but I have this circular patch about one inch in diameter just below my left kneecap. It has stayed the same density from the start. Was it missed previous sessions? I don’t recall. I made sure he got it this time around. It reminds me of how hairy I used to be. Whew, what a difference. Whenever I have second thoughts about shelling out more for additional treatments, I just run my fingers over that area and I change my mind. That same area on the other knee is just fine though.

…As for your problem, my take: The roots are too deep. The hair bulbs are out of range depthwise for the laser to penetrate. Probably more than .25"-.30" of an inch. It could just be singing off the tops and not affecting the bulbs. Is it worth blasting these hairs with such high energy that you risk serious skin damage (of which your skin is pretty young and it might not be so apparent as it really is!)? I don’t think so, but it’s your decision.


It could just be singing off the tops and not affecting the bulbs.

Well, that’s the thing… even the tops weren’t affected. I hadn’t shaved my legs since the last treatment 8 weeks ago, so the hair was quite long (we find now that it’s sparser and finer, the hair has to be unshaven in order to see it). Despite this, not even the tops frizzeled until we increased the power.

Yep, I’m pretty sure it was 120J, 10ms, spot size 7mm. Previously we’d been using a 10mm spot, and 55-65J, I think, but as I say, that didn’t seem to work this time.

I don’t know about premature aging of the skin, but the nurse was concerned she might be burning me. It didn’t feel like it at the time, and 24 hours later there’s a few red marks, but nothing that looks like a burn.

However, I think this might be my last treatment anyway. It looks like I’ve reached this laser’s limits. Perhaps it’s time to start reading up on electrolosis now?!

Serious skin damage might not show up as a burn as commonly recognized, it’s more of a destruction of the underlying dermis, that’s how it would do it’s real damage. If no more laser treatments, then maybe it’s all for the best. But before ever getting that much energy, I would go to a completely different practitioner. I just don’t understand how 120 Joules couldn’t burn down anything in its path. Try a Comet treatment. That’s all I can recommend because that’s all I’ve had my experience. Sometimes I think four different lasers in eight sessions is more effective than the same laser eight times. Just different wavelengths and operator techniques attack with more variety.


P.S. You went in with eight weeks of growth? They wanted that? I always go in clean shaven. Long hair will dissipate laser energy.

I would agree that you need to finish those up with electrolysis now. Also, I think 10mm spot size might not go deep enough to hit the roots of those deeper rooted hairs.

It is true that larger spot sizes penetrate more deeply into the follicles than smaller spot sizes. You cannot directly compare Nd:YAG fluences with diode or alex fluences. Higher fluences are required with the YAG lasers because the melanin absorption is not as high. The compensating factor is that the 1064nm wavelength penetrates deeper into the follicle. With the higher fluences they generally use longer pulse widths.

If you did not shave before the treatment, that will really hinder the effectiveness of the laser. You can leave the hair for the technician to see growth patterns, but before the laser is used the area should be shaved.

If the hair is finer and lighter from previous treatment, then you may be experiencing diminishing returns. Electrolysis is your best option in that case. Since the hair does not appear to be affected buy the laser, I would say that it is too fine.

And Mantaray has an excellent point about follicle depth. I had some hairs on the sides of my chest that came out of my skin at an angle and when I plucked a few of them after laser treatments, you could see that the follices are very deep! I think some of those are too deep for the laser to hit. Again the answer is electrolysis. That’s why I say to start with laser and finish with electrolysis.

Before you get electrolysis, you might try to find a practitioner with the Comet. It is a combination RF/diode laser. It is reported to work better on finer and lighter hairs. You may want to try a treatment or two to see if it works better. I have to say that the diode laser like the Lightsheer definitely works better on finer hairs.


Thanks guys…

Here’s a photo I’ve just taken. This is just under 2 months’ growth, and about 2 days after my latest (9th) treatment. Are the hairs dark enough to warrant continuing with laser? If so, which one? Or would electrolysis be better at this stage? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

[image][/image] (Click for bigger)

BUMP! I’d love to hear from the resident experts on this forum. Is this too fine to continue treating with a Nd:YAG laser?

BUMP! I’d love to hear from the resident experts on this forum. Is this too fine to continue treating with a Nd:YAG laser?

Not much hair left! I would say laser has been a success for you. Were all your treatments with a Nd:YAG? Do you tan? If yes, did you get treatments while tanning?

Since you did not feel much on your last treatment, I would say to go with electrolysis. While there is not much hair left, that is way too long for laser treatment. The treatment may have been more effective had the hair not been so long. I know it would be harder to see, but the practitioner needs to work around that.

If, and that is a big if, you can find a really good Lightsheer practitioner you might try a test spot. Your skin may be light enough that you can do it, but it’s borderline.

You have a small enough amount of hair left that electrolysis is definitely a good option.


Thanks mate. Yes, all my treatments have been with the Nd:YAG. Yes, I tan quite well. Yes, I did have treatments right through summer when I was tanned (although I did try to minimise my tan prior to each session).

So you wouldn’t recommend any laser now? Not even the Comet? (I’ve never seen that one down here anyway…)

I’m pleased to hear you say there’s little enough left for electrolysis to be viable though. I wasn’t sure how few hairs you had to have - doesn’t electrolysis remove them one by one? Surely that would be a pain, even with this little hair?