What's the Best Laser Hair Removal Machine?

The clinics near me offer a number of different laser machines. names like Light Sheer, IPL, Yag, Duet, Cool Glide.  What do the medical expert here think works best in laser hair removal?  --Julie

Doctor Answers (33)

Laser for Hair Removal in Raleigh: Selecting the Best Laser for your skin type

+13
Laser hair removal has come a long way since the first laser for hair removal received FDA clearance in the mid 1990’s. A link to laser hair removal pricing is below

Older generation lasers were slow, very painful and worked only on individuals with very dark hair and very light skin. Today, lasers can work on all skin colors and some lasers are even safe for treating tanned skinned. Lasers for hair removal can be performed on any (yes, any) area of the body.
When considering a hair removal laser treatment, consumers should ask the following questions:
First and foremost - Do NOT Pay for a laser series up front. Everyone responds diffeerently and a reputable laser center will feel confident that you will come back for services. pay as you go, do not pay up front
1) Is this laser FDA approved for hair removal on my skin type and hair color?
There are several lasers for hair removal available. No one laser is ideal for every individual. Depending on your skin color and hair color, some lasers will be more effective than others.
The Ruby Laser: This is the "original " hair removal laser. Its deep red color at 694nm is very well absorbed by the melanin pigment in hair, making it an excellent choice for fine and light hair. However, because melanin is present in the skin as well, the Ruby laser cannot be used on patients with skin that is not very light, including tanned skin. Because of this limitation, slow repetition rate, and relatively small spot size, Ruby lasers have become less popular for laser hair removal in recent years.
The Alexandrite Laser: This laser produces reddish light. With its large (up to 18mm) spot size and high repetition rate, the Alexandrite laser is the fastest hair removal laser, and is suitable for rapid treatment of large body areas in patient with light to olive complexion. An entire back can be treated in less than 30 minutes.
The Diode Laser: This laser, consists of a high power laser diode emitting infrared (invisible) light at ~800-808nm. The longer wavelength allows deep penetration into the skin and safety for darker skin types, but with less efficacy for lighter and finer hair. A smaller spot size means a longer treatment. That may mean a more expensive treatment. A longer treatment may also increase discomfort and a need for topical numbing
The long pulse Nd:YAG: This laser can be used on all skin types, including tanned skin. Large spot sizes and fast repetition rates allow large areas to be treated quickly. Then disadvantage is less effective clearance for fine and light hairs than some other hair removal lasers.
IPL devices are not lasers, because they emit non-coherent light of many different wavelengths. However, because most of the light energy is in the shorter wavelengths, treatment of darker skin types is less effective than with the appropriate laser.
2) What is the spot size of the laser? A larger spot size offers not only the advantage of faster treatment, but also additional safety and efficacy. As spot size increases, a lower percentage of the delivered light energy scatters outside of the treatment area, increasing the depth of pentration, and allowing a lower energy setting to be used for treatment.
3) What type of cooling system is the laser equipped with? It is important that a laser have consistent cooling in order to ensure patient safety and comfort.
4) Is there a board-certified physician on site? Although complications with new lasers for hair removal are rare, in the event of a complication, you need to know who will provide medical attention.
5) Are treatments sold in a package or one at a time? Because every person will respond at a slightly different rate, and some individuals will require more treatments than others for complete clearance, most laser centers will offer individual sessions.
6) Are complimentary consultations and spot tests available? You should be able to meet the technician and experience a pulse or two before committing to a treatment.


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Best laser for hair removal

+10

The answer to this question most certainly depends on your skin type. One practitioner above claims that the long pulsed ND:Yg is the best laser while another claims it is the Lightsheer. In fact we agree with both of them. The long pulsed Nd:Yg laser is best for darker skin types and the Lightsheer (Diode) is best for lighter skin types. One other laser that was not mentioned is the alexandrite laser. This is an excellent laser for light skinned hair removal. One thing that is important to keep in mind when choosing a laser is that we are talking about types of laser and brands of lasers in this discussion.

Best TYPES of lasers for hair removal: Diode and alexandrite for light skin, long pulsed Nd:Yg for darker skin.

The Lumenis Lightsheer is an excellent Diode laser. The Cynosure Apogee is an excellent alexandrite laser and the Sciton Profile is an excellent long pulsed Nd:Yg laser. This is certainly not meant to be an extensive list of brand names but hopefully clarifies the different between the type of laser used and the brand name of the laser.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

The answer to this question is more complicated than one...

+7

The answer to this question is more complicated than one would at first think.

There is not a single “best” laser for hair removal on all patients. The list of machines available for laser hair removal includes the diode, ruby, alexandrite, and Nd:YAG laser, as well as intense pulsed light devices. Many different variations of these lasers are available from numerous manufacturers.

The best laser for laser hair removal for each person depends on his or her skin color. In my experience, the diode laser is the most effective laser for removing hair on lighter skin, whereas the Nd:YAG is the safest and best laser for more darkly pigmented skin. I have not found any laser to be particularly effective in permanently reducing very blond or white hair.

Arash Akhavan, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon

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Laser Hair Removal - Ideal Device

+6

Hi,

  As noted by the other physicians above, there are several effective devices for laser hair removal (differing in both wavelength used to target the hair follicle as well as the manufacturer). After having had experience with various lasers for hair removal, I liked the Alexandrite 755 nm (Cyanosure, I believe) laser. However, by far, my favorite laser for hair removal is the Lumenis Light Sheer Duet. It is considerably less painful - the vacuum/suction component of the handpiece "tricks" your nerve endings into feeling suction instead of the laser itself. Also, the Lumenis Light Sheer Duet has a relatively large spot size, which means that large areas of the body like the full lets, arms, etc can be treated relatively quickly. Also, due to the suction, your skin is pulled up closer to the actual diode (laser), which allows more effective and predictable results because of this closer proximity of the hair-bearing skin to the laser energy emitting diode. This device also inludes a seperate handpiece that has a smaller tip and a DCD (dynamic cooling device) component as well. The latter handpiece is good for smaller areas of the face, bikini areas, and areas overlying body convexities.

  To recap. . . laser hair removal is a fabulous option that practioners are able to offer their patients (decreasing your chances for "ingrown hairs" and almost eliminating the need to use a razor once your series of treatments yields adequate results). In my opinion, the Lumenis LightSheer Duet is the top-of-the line, least painful, most effective, and fastest lasers currently available for laser hair removal.

   Take care,

MK

Monika Kiripolsky, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

The gold standard in laser hair removal is the...

+6

The gold standard in laser hair removal is the LightSheer laser. In broad strokes, you need monthly treatments for four to six and then two to four treatments a year to maintain a hair-free state. The darker the hair, the better it works.

This is the premier laser for hair removal. I have access to all kinds of hair removal lasers, and this is the one that I use on my wife, myself, and my family.

Charles Crutchfield, MD
Minneapolis Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

LightSheer Duet is the best laser for hair removal

+5

We obtained a new LightSheer Duet laser  about 6 months ago, to replace our regular LightSheer Diode. The Duet is a huge leap forward for laser hair removal. Not only is it five times faster but the comfort level is significantly better. Not a single patient has complained of pain or discomfort with this laser. The results have been excellent on all skin types and many patients who were reluctant to treat large areas, such as the legs, chest and back, have gone ahead with this laser mainly because it is so tolerable and fast. Like other lasers, however, it does not work on blonde or white hair.

 We have been doing laser hair removal in my practice for nearly 12 years. In that time, we have tested almost every type of laser there is, including the Alexandrite, NdYag, Coolglide, IPL etc. We and our patients agreed years ago that the LightSheer Diode was the best overall laser in terms of efficacy, comfort  and speed. The new Duet sets the bar even higher and is the first laser I have obtained that has generated emails from patients thanking me for getting it.

While no laser can guarantee the same results on every patient and skin type, most of the modern lasers do a very good job. The main difference between them is patient comfort and speed.

Arie Benchetrit, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
1.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Best Hair Removal Laser

+4

There are several devices used for laser hair removal. The best one does depend on your skin type mainly.

I think the best overall laser is the new LightSheer Duet Diode laser by Lumenis. It is fast, very effective, and much less painful than the other hair lasers. It uses a suction device to decrease pain. I have used about 8 different hair lasers and was super impressed by this laser - enough to buy one.

The LightSheer Duet can be used on all skin types, but the best laser for really dark skin is probably the long pulsed Nd:YAG (GentleYag by Syneron/Candela).

Having said that, all of the laser hair removal devices work - how well they work depends on the settings being used, the skin and hair type of the patient. An experienced technician is always important.

Our protocol is to do 6 treatments in a series and space them at least 6 weeks apart. So, undergoing laser hair removal is a bit of a project. But it is worth it.

 

Jennifer Reichel, MD
Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Best results depend on your skin type, laser type, and practitioner

+4

I am a big fan of:

alexandrite laser for light skinned people (cynosure apogee elite, candela gentlelase are examples of alexandrite lasers)

nd yag for darker skinned folks (cynosure apogee elite, candela gentleyag)

I think diode lasers (lightsheer) is also a good one, although I prefer individualized lasers mentioned above.

Not a big fan of IPL for laser hair removal...I used IPL for a while but gave it up in favor of above technologies.

Marwan R. Khalifeh, MD
Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

LightSheer Duet Gets My Vote as Most Effective, Most Comfortable, and Fastest System Overall. 5 out of 5 Stars.

+3

I started with Laser Hair Removal(LHR) almost 20 years ago!  My first machine was a Ruby Laser that cost me a ton of money and ended up being a very expensive door stop- I eventually sold it for parts.  I invested in various technologies over the years, but for the last several years we have depended on the LightSheer Diode Laser.  Last year we upgraded to the latest model, the LightSheer Duet, the Ferrari of the Hair Removal Systems.    By far it is the fastest and most comfortable way of getting rid of unwanted hair.  What used to take hours of treatment (a man's back for example) can now be done in less than half an hour.   We also have other technologies available for special circumstances, but the most useful and most commonly used is the LightSheer Duet in our Clinics.  It is strongly recommended.  The results are excellent, and patient comfort is really great.  It is a 'no brainer'.    Why did I upgrade our laser?  LHR is now more or less a commodity, and people are shopping on the basis of price and convenience.  Why spend 3 hours getting a treatment if you can come to my clinic and be done in 20 minutes?  It made good business sense to provide my patients with the best technology available, and my philosophy in general has always been to "under promise and over deliver".  The LightSheer Duet in the right hands is a very effective and safe way to remove unwanted hair.   In our community, we have many people using cheap machines for laser hair removal.  Unfortunately, many have no idea how to use their machines, and they don't understand the principles involved.  We often see laser burns and blisters from inexperienced clinics.  We just saw someone in followup  this week who had already paid for 7 treatments elsewhere, with absolutely NO results.  She was amazed at her results after a single treatment at our clinic.  She realized that she had wasted all that time and money for nothing, and she learned a valuable lesson.  You should look for people in your community who have experience, multiple technologies, and who really know what they are doing.  Try to get a word of mouth referral, and remember that glossy ads and marketing hype are NOT reliable indicators of quality care.  Don't just look at telephone listings or websites- try to talk to real people who have experienced the procedure.

Claudio DeLorenzi, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

The most effective lasers are the Lightshear,...

+3

The most effective lasers are the Lightshear, Alexandrite, and Intense Pulsed Light.

The Long pulsed 1064nm Nd:YAG is, at best, only half as effective and requires many more treatments but is best for dark-skin types.

Laser hair-removal works best on dark hair and works very poorly, if at all on blond or grey hair.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.