Will "conservative" laser treatments get rid of hair?

One month ago I had my chin & neck area treated with the EpiTouch alexandrite. I have very light skin & black hair. Although the area treated was smooth for a little bit, after about 3 weeks the hair started coming back in. There might be a 10-15% reduction in the amount of hair.
I have however noticed that the hair does seem to be lighter in color. The nurse who did the treatment went on and on about how conservative his treatments are, saying that he uses lower settings to prevent burns, scarring, etc., and that I would probably need at least 8-10 treatments, maybe more.
I don’t want to be burned or scarred, but I’m concerned that maybe his “concervative treatments” will only lighten the hair and not get rid of it. Is that possible? I don’t want to spend all this money only to end up with the same amount of hair, and have it so light that then laser won’t work.
I’m considering switching clinics, but don’t want to make a decision until I feel like I’m more informed. My next appointment is coming up & I don’t know what to do :confused:

[ April 09, 2003, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: Yeayea ]

Hello YeaYea!

Having regrowth after 3 weeks does not sound right. I’ve had my upper cheeks treated with the Gentlelase Alexandrite and the hair usually takes about 8 weeks to grow back. Depending on the density of your hair, it’s possible what you are seeing is the hair that was not treated coming back. Your practitioner might have also used too low of a setting as you suggest. A setting which is too low can cause “laser waxing” which essentially disables the hair that is treated but does not destroy it. The hair comes back in roughly the same density although sometimes it may come back lighter (just like waxing). Were the energy settings all that you could stand, or were they just recommmended by the practitioner? If you can handle it, I would suggest a test patch at a higher energy setting. I have found that many practitioners go with lower settings because of the discomfort that the laser causes. To me, it’s painful at a low setting or a higher setting. So I would rather go with ther higher setting and get results instead of just temporarily stopping the growth. Do you remember what energy setting was used? As far as the 8-10 treatments go, I don’t consider it impossible since I am in that range right now. My hair growth was extremely dense, though. And I didn’t go in for regular treatments at first. It was a learning experience for me. On the face, you should see about 20% reduction per treatment (this number is variable depending on body location, but it is a good average for the face). If the correct laser parameters are used, and assuming no hormonal problems, you should get rid of facial area hair at the rate of 20% per treatment. So:

Treatment 1: 80%
Treatment 2: 62%
Treatment 3: 50%
Treatment 4: 40%
Treatment 5: 32%
Treatment 6: 26%
Treatment 7: 21%
Treatment 8: 17% etc., etc.

The 20% is conservative. So it’s possilbe to see results quicker than listed. You will also notice that some hairs come back lighter (I have read evidence that some hairs in the catagen phase may be partly affected-giving lighter hair). It’s just important to note that the loss will be gradual and will come to a point where results will barely be noticeable. Sorry to ramble on so much, but I’m pretty interested in the subject. Hope it helps. Let me know if you have any questions!

Regarding clearance on the face, I would like to add that different areas may achieve different results. I have had 5 LaserSheet treatments so far with conservative fluence settings.

</font>[ul][li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Neck and throat: excellent, >90%.</font></li>[]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Cheeks: fair-to-good. 50-70%.</font></li>[]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Chin: marginal, <30%.</font></li>[*]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Upper lip: none that I can see, <10%.[/li]</font></li>[/ul]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>

Hi Gabriel & Mike2003,
Thanks for both of your replies. I’m a little confused about how to proceed, & it really helps to have input from other people.

Gabriel- To answer your question about what energy setting was used…I don’t know. The machine was turned away from me so that I couldn’t see what the settings were on the front. The man doing the treatment acted like any info he could give me would be way over my head & that I wouldn’t be able to understand :roll_eyes: . At the end of the treatment I asked what settings he used and tried to get more detail, but he would only say that he used a low-moderate level & he increased it a little at the end and I seemed to tolerate it fine.
I don’t know if you remember, but you told me about Merrill in Blue Springs awhile back. I really liked the fact that when I talked to them on the phone they were so eager to answer my questions, which was the complete opposite of what I’ve ended up with. I’m still considering changing to them, just don’t know if I have enough good reasons for it…taking into consideration travel time, extra expense, etc. If I sound extremely confused…I am.

Hello YeaYea,

>I’m a little confused about how to proceed…

Actually this looks more like an art than a science… I mean that there isn’t necessarily a “best way” for everything. Something might work best for someone and not at all for someone else… So… don’t worry too much! :wink:

>The machine was turned away from me so that I couldn’t see what the settings were on the front. The man doing the treatment acted like any info he could give me would be way over my head & that I wouldn’t be able to understand

Yes, I understand what you mean… But it is very simple really, only 2 settings:
a) The fluence (energy), in J/cm2 – this is the most important.
b) And the pulse duration, in ms – often 30 or 100.

I make a point to keep of log of the values used for each treatment. Tell your guy you want the actual values. You’re the customer and pay for this.

Laser can cause a lightening of hair color, which is sometimes permanent. This can give a good cosmetic effect for some, but it poses a couple of problems:

  1. it makes future treatment less effective (lasers target the dark stuff in the hair)

  2. It does little about the feel of the hair.

Usually there’s 30-60% reduction after a treatment, some of which may be permanent if done properly. However, some people do not respond to laser, for unknown reasons.

Conservative treatment reduces the chance of side effects, but if your gal is a permanent reduction, you’d be better off being as aggressive as you can.

Thanks for sharing the idea about keeping a log regarding the details of each treatment. I plan on doing that from now on.

Thanks for the advice. These treatments aren’t inexpensive, & I hated the thought of ending up with the same amount of hair…just lighter, and spending a lot of money for little to no improvement.
This journey of hair removal is exciting, but also a little scary & frustrating at times. It’s hard to know if you’re making the right decisions, even more so when you realize how much time & money you’ll invest in this process. It’s even tougher when you don’t know where to get answers from & who exactly you should be trusting.
Thank you so much for this web site. I’ve always felt like you can get the best advice from people who’ve been through your same situation. It’s great to know that when you’re stumped or confused, you have a place to come to & ask questions, find more information, and just have a really great bunch of people to bounce ideas off of. I can’t imagine how much of your time it takes to keep this site going, but thank you so much for doing it. :grin:

For laser to be effective you need to be aggressive with fluence settings. The important thing is to find a practitioner with enough skill and experience to use high enough fluences to the point just short of long-term skin damage but not beyond that point. I wouldn’t worry about scabbing and post treatment redness, that is only temporary and will go away.

Based on your practitioner’s stated philosophy of using low fluences, I would change practitioners.


Hello RJC2001,
When I posted this question, I felt like I really could use some advice on what to do, and if what my practioner was saying sounded right. Everyone who’s responded has really helped me…and taking into consideration what you, Andrea, & Gabriel, have all said, I’ve made a consult. appointment with another place. I’m wanting this done right, and wanting the hair removed for good…thank you for the push in the right direction :smile: