Background: Laser hair removal is the treatment of choice for hypertrichosis. The two most commonly used hair removal lasers are compared.
Objective: To present the results of a comparative study examining the role of wavelength, fluence, spot size, pulse width, and cooling systems on long-term results after a series of four laser hair removal treatments using the 755 nm alexandrite and 800-810 nm diode lasers.
Methods: The axillae of 15 untanned, type I-V patients were treated side by side four times at 4- to 6-week intervals with a 755 nm, 3-msec pulse width, cryogen spray-equipped alexandrite laser and an 800 nm, variable pulse width, cooled sapphire window-equipped diode laser. Each patient was pretested and treated with the maximum fluence tolerated at the largest spot size available for each laser (12 mm round/113 mm2 for the alexandrite and 9 mm for the diode).
Results: Evaluations were done at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the last treatment. Twelve-month results with the alexandrite and diode lasers achieved 85% versus 84% hair reduction. The fact that tan avoidance was strictly followed permitted the use of relatively high fluences (25-30+ J/cm(2)) even in type IV patients. For most patients, four treatment sessions using high fluences (30-40 J/cm(2)) with relatively large spot sizes (12 mm round for the 755 nm alexandrite and 9 mm for the 800 nm diode) resulted in 12-month hair reductions in the 90% range.
Conclusion: Both the alexandrite and diode lasers in this 12-month study produced excellent long-term hair reductions.