Hair removal using a combination radio-frequency and intense pulsed light source

J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2004 Dec;6(4):201-7. doi: 10.1080/14764170410008133.


Background and objective: The long-term removal of unwanted hair is achieved by many laser and intense pulse light sources. One limitation is the treatment of individuals with dark skin. The light energy with the current systems has to penetrate through the epidermis before being absorbed by the hair follicle. In individuals with dark skin the high melanin concentration in the epidermis absorbs high energies that can lead to complications. The objective of our study was to study a new system that combines optical energy, intense pulsed light (IPL), with radio frequency (RF). This allows for the use of less optical energy due to the addition of RF energy. The lower optical fluence allows for safer treatment of darker skin types.

Study design/materials and methods: This was a multicenter study, in which 87 patients were enrolled. A single treatment was performed on a specified body site. Twenty-one of the 69 subjects that completed the study had skin types IV-VI. Each subject was evaluated at 1, 7, 30, and 90 days after the treatment session.

Results: Hair counts were significantly reduced from baseline after one treatment by an average of 46%. Individual patient data showed that the percentage in hair count reduction achieved ranged from 0 to 100%, with 43% of the patients having a 50% or greater decrease.

Conclusions: The combination of optical energy and RF when delivered simultaneously achieves effective hair reduction with the use of less optical energy, allowing for the safe treatment of all skin types.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Radiofrequency Therapy*
  • Skin Pigmentation