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Aesthetic Laser Centers uses the Lumenis (formerly Coherent Medical) Lightsheer Diode Laser to perform laser hair removal. Below is a history of lasers that have been used since the beginning. To learn more on the Light Sheer Laser, click here.

History of Lasers

Skin Type Chart

Skin Type Skin Color Sun exposure results in:
I Northern European always burn/never tan
II Northern European always burn/can lightly tan
III Mediterranean can slightly burn/tans easily
IV Asian/Middle Eastern never burn/always tan
V Indian always tan easily
VI African always tan easily

ALC has been comparing lasers for hair removal since 1996, when the first laser was FDA cleared for use on the public. Prior to the introduction of lasers for hair removal, electrolysis was the only form of long term or permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is a tedious, invasive, and painful process that involves inserting a needle into each hair follicle and delivering an electrical charge to destroy them one at a time. Electrolysis often requires years of treatments at regular intervals. Laser non-invasively treats hundreds of hair follicles simultaneously. So, in a few minutes, lasers can effectively treat an area that would take over an hour with electrolysis.

Presently, in the year 2001, melanin is the most common target to destroy hair follicles with lasers utilizing wavelengths from 590 to 1200 nano meters. Melanin, being the target chromophore, presents a delicate problem for darker skin patients IV,V, and VI. The high amounts of melanin in the epidermal regions of the darker skinned patients absorb too much of the laser and can therefore heat up and burn. Further, the contrast between hair (the target of the laser) and skin also is often not good. In comparison, the lighter skin types I, II, and III epidermal regions can relatively ignore the laser and have much less chance of heating up and burning. Unlike the darker skin types, there does exist a good contrast between hair and skin and therefore much higher more effective temperatures can be used on lighter skin types. Finally, active suntans can not be safely treated by lasers with wavelengths 590-810nm. Active suntans excite the melanocyte cells to produce new melanin to protect the skin. Only the Yag laser (1064nm) can be safely and aggressively used on sun tanned skin because this longer wavelength travels past the skin surface and leaves the epidermis free of the excessive heat and targets the deeper hair follicle.

Short Pulse YAG

Softlight or Thermolase Corporation came out with their short pulsed ND Yag laser first in 1996 with lots of promises. However, Aesthetic Laser Centers found after six months and beyond that this laser hair removal procedure was certainly not permanent, as was promised by Thermolase Corporation. The FDA then stopped their right to claim permanence. Softlight doctors and Thermolase Corporation returned thousands of dollars to patients for their failed results. The FDA pulled Softlight's claim to use the word Permanent hair removal immediately.


The next laser on the scene was the Palomar Ruby Laser. This laser (Epi-Laser) had side effects of hypo and hyper-pigmentation (lightening and darkening of the skin). These side effects can be permanent and very undesirable. Following the Epi-Laser was the introduction of the Sharplan Ruby and Alexandrite lasers (Epi-Touch). These lasers had fewer side effects than the Epi-Laser; however, they undertreated the hair follicles and require years of treatment to even potentially be considered permanent. However Aesthetic Laser Centers never found the Sharplan Ruby or Alexandrite Epi-Touch to be permanent with their results.

The next laser technology, developed and promoted was the Epilight. Aesthetic Laser Centers trained hundreds of doctors from around the U.S. to use the Eplilight Hair Removal System. In addition, ALC was involved in the FDA investigations for approval of the Epilight. However, after two years of constant aggressive treatments on its patients, ALC concluded that the Epilight was not efficiently removing hair with permanence, or yielding sufficient reduction especially on tough body areas such as men's backs and arms. Side effects, such as burns, with the Epilight are common. Scars have also been reported. The Epilight has been a great disappointment, and could not be considered the most effective hair removal system in the world in comparison to other newer, more aggressive systems.

Alexandrite & Diode

Next came the Cynosure Apogee Alexandrite Laser and the Lumenis Lightsheer Diode Laser. ALC compared both systems and found the Lightsheer significantly more effective. The Cynosure Apogee Alexandrite requires the same old mess with gel all over the treatment site and is just not worth the trouble. The Cynosure Apogee Alexandrite breaks down often and needs repairs almost weekly. The Cynosure Alexandrite burns skin types IV, V, and VI very badly. Permanent scars have also been reported, even on fair skin. ALC found the Lightsheer Diode to be the best system for permanent hair reduction since it was cleared for use. It's cooling system far surpassed any previous lasers in the market. Still, however, the Lightsheer can burn skin types IV, V, and VI very badly, if improperly used. Skin type IV's can require 1.5 to 2.5 years of treatments with the older original Lightsheer Diode laser to reach a permanent result or permanent reduction status. The new upgraded 100 millisecond Lightsheer with longer durations can more aggressively be used on Skin types V and VI and sun tanned skin! Hopefully this will now reduce the number of appointments for Skin types V and VI patients. Skin types V and VI can easily hyperpigment with the original Lightsheer Diode if the technician is not careful. The new upgraded 100 millisecond Lightsheer Diode has less chance of the hyperpigmentation problem. The Lightsheer is safely used on skin types I, II, and light III's and can yield great results, if the operator performs aggressive treatment parameters. The unit is very portable.

Another Alexandrite laser of note is the Candela Gentlelase Alexandrite laser. This company uses a cryogen spray onto the skin to pre-cool the skin in an effort to protect it form being burned. Though very fast, the Gentlelase has caused many burns to patients and permanent scars have been seen. The operator is restricted to only one setting of 3m/sec. duration. This very much limits the versatility of the laser and definitely is not for all skin types. The machine is bulky and over 300 lbs. In comparing the Lightsheer Diode to the Gentlelase, similar hair removal/reduction can be seen with skin types I, II, and III. The Diode is safer for IV, V, and VI compared with the Gentlelase.

Long Pulse YAG

Several Long Pulse Lasers were released for sale and received FDA clearance for hair removal. Among these are the Laserscope Lyra and the Altus Medical Coolglide. ALC compared several Long Pulse YAG lasers. In our opinion, Long Pulse YAG lasers are safe for all skin types (I-VI) and sun-tanned skin types (I-VI). However, it is also our opinion that Long Pulse YAG lasers are not effective for skin types I-IV, light to medium coarse hair. This type of skin and hair constitutes the majority of the current business in the United States. Our experience has shown that Portugese and part American-Indian patients are at high risk for severe ingrown hairs with these lasers.

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