Title: Laser hair removal: A review and report on the use of the long-pulsed alexandrite laser for hair reduction of the upper lip, leg, back, and bikini region.
Authors: McDaniel DH, Lord J, Ash K, Newman J, Zukowski M
Journal: Dermatol Surg 1999 Jun;25(6):425-430
BACKGROUND: The mechanism and permanence of laser-assisted hair removal remains a formidable task in the medical community.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and long-term efficacy of the long-pulsed or normal mode alexandrite infrared laser for hair depilation.
METHODS: Beginning in October 1996, a total of 31 anatomic sites on 22 patients ranging in age from 25 to 59 years (mean 42 years) were evaluated to assess hair removal. Treatment sites included 17 upper lips, 9 legs, 2 backs, and 3 bikini regions. Eligible patients were of Fitzpatrick skin types I-III. Patients were treated using the long-pulsed alexandrite infrared laser at 755 nm, single-pulse technique, 10 mm spot size, 10% overlap, pulse durations of 5, 10, and 20 msec, and a fluence of 20 J/cm2. Subjective patient improvement and objective, blinded graded improvement was assessed at 1, 2, 3, and 6 months.
RESULTS: Objective blinded grading at 6 months revealed that hair reduction varied both with the pulse duration and anatomic location. Maximum reductions observed were 40%, 56%, 50%, and 15% for the lip, leg, back, and bikini areas, respectively. Upper lip hair reduction increased from 40% to 54% at 6 months when a second treatment was performed 8 weeks after the initial treatment.
CONCLUSION: The long-pulsed alexandrite laser is safe and effective in reducing hair growth. Treatment efficacy varies with the anatomic location, pulse duration, and number of treatments. A single-pulse technique utilizing a 10 msec pulse duration at 20 J/cm2 produced the greatest hair reduction. No permanent adverse effects occurred on skin types I-III at the parameters tested.