Background: Lasers with long wavelengths are less well absorbed by melanin and are considered to be particularly suitable for hair removal in dark-skinned patients.
Objective: To compare the efficacy and complications of 800 nm diode and long-pulsed 1064 nm Nd:YAG lasers in laser-assisted hair removal in Chinese patients.
Methods: Fifteen women had hair removal treatments (13 axillae and 2 legs) with diode laser on one side and Nd:YAG laser on the other. They were followed up for 36 weeks. Subjective assessments included the degree of immediate pain and the degree of hair regrowth. Clinical photographs were taken for evaluation by two independent observers to assess complications and the degree of hair regrowth.
Results: Long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser was found to be significantly associated with a greater degree of immediate pain after laser surgery (P =.0001, independent sample t-test) and also had a longer laser time (P =.0001, independent sample t-test). Besides transit adverse effects such as erythema and perifollicular edema, only one patient developed hypopigmentation at week 6 which resolved by week 36. Although regrowth rates were low at week 6 (subjective rates were 23% and 19% for Nd:YAG and diode laser, respectively), most patients had significant regrowth at week 36 (subjective regrowth rate 91% for both long-pulsed Nd:YAG and diode lasers).
Conclusion: Diode 800 nm and Nd:YAG 1064 nm lasers are safe in laser-assisted hair removal in Chinese patients, and besides immediate pain, there was no other significant adverse effect. Most patients experienced regrowth 36 weeks after a single treatment. Further study is necessary to determine the long-term clinical efficacy and complications of laser-assisted hair removal with these systems in dark-skinned patients.