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.
||Sun exposure results in:
||always burn/never tan
||always burn/can lightly tan
||can slightly burn/tans easily
||never burn/always tan
||always tan easily
||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
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.
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.
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.
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