Comparison of hair removal efficacy and side effect of neodymium:Yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser and intense pulsed light systems (18-month follow-up)

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Jun;16(2):193-198. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12312. Epub 2017 Feb 6.


Background: Photothermal destruction of hair shaft melanin with intense pulsed light (IPL) and neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) laser has become an effective treatment of hair removal.

Aims: Our aim was to compare efficacy, satisfactory levels, safety, and side effects of Nd:YAG and IPL in hair reduction.

Methods: This was a prospective randomized intrapatient, right-left, assessor-blinded comparison of Nd:YAG vs IPL. There were 38 volunteers recruited. Seven sessions were performed. Hair count, efficacy, and side effects were compared before and after each treatment and 6 months after the last treatment. In respect of 12 volunteers, we have examined the reduction in hair after 18 months.

Results: Initially, there was no significant difference between the numbers of hair follicles. There was significant hair reduction after each treatment on the Nd:YAG-treated side. The hair reduction became significant after the third treatment with IPL. Comparison of the efficacy of the two devices on each visits showed no significant difference. There was statistically lower pain score on the IPL-treated side and statistically higher erythema, burning sensation, and edema on the Nd:YAG-treated side. Statistically lower side effect score was observed on the IPL-treated side. Eight months after the last treatment, there was significant hair reduction both on the Nd:YAG and on the IPL-treated side, and there was no difference between the efficacy. The patient satisfaction scores were higher with the IPL.

Conclusion: Unwanted hair can be reduced by both systems safely and effectively; however, IPL has less side effects and higher satisfaction scores.

Keywords: IPL; Nd:YAG; hair removal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intense Pulsed Light Therapy*
  • Lasers, Solid-State*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Time Factors