NOTE: This review compares the old Lightsheer Diode model to the newer Lightsheer Duet model. There is an even newer model, Lightsheer Desire (why do all the names have to start with the letter "D"??). I have not tried the Desire model and do not review it here.
CONCLUSION (if you don’t want to read the whole review):
-Duet = less painful on large areas (arms and legs). Quicker on large areas. May not be as thorough on large areas. Works better if laser is set on stronger setting.
-Diode = more pain, large areas are more time-consuming, but MAY require fewer sessions if laser tech does a careful, thorough job (at least that’s my theory).
HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE THE LASERS:
Old standard Lightsheer Diode:
-The full name of the laser is the "Lumenis Lightsheer Diode." If you put this into google image search, you will see a laser machine with ONE head, not two.
-Based off of the Lumenis website, it appears that the Diode model is no longer in production; however, some clinics are still operating it.
-The head of the laser has the word "ChillTip" written on the side.
-The laser "spot" (surface area that comes in contact with the skin) is small - less then 1 square inch.
-Pain management: Features a "ChillTip" that is supposed to cool the surface of the skin in order to minimize pain. I can't say that I've felt this working at all. However, at my clinic in Dubai, they also have the patient hold an "air cooler" that blasts icy cold air onto the skin during treatment. I don't think this is standard practice at every clinic, but it helps and I'm glad they do it. It's also a good distraction to move the air cooler along in front of the laser during treatment.
Newer Lightsheer Duet:
-Full name of the laser is "Lumenis Lightsheer Duet." At the time of this review, you could find this laser listed on the Lumenis website.
-The laser has two heads: the 'ET'/small head, and the 'HS'/large head. The small head is a similar size and design to the head on the old Lightsheer Diode, described above, and is used for smaller areas like bikini area, face, and underarms. The large head covers nearly triple the surface area and is used for legs, arms, back, and chest.
-Pain management: Small head: has the "ChillTip,” same as on the old Lightsheer Diode (see above). Large head: Uses "vacuum technology," meaning that you feel suction, and a strong warmth, on the skin during treatment.
COMPARISON OF MY EXPERIENCE WITH DIODE VS DUET:
Number and location of treatments:
-3 treatments on bikini, arms, legs, and underarms with the Lightsheer Diode (old model) at Silkor Laser Medical Center in Dubai.
-1 treatment on bikini, arms and legs with the Lightsheer Duet (new model) at Suntra Spa in Cape Town, SA.
-Small head (only head on Diode; smaller of the two on Duet): Sharp "snaps" of pain with each zap of the laser. Quick, sharp pains that are over in an instant, but you endure a LOT of them per session. Note that everyone's pain tolerance is different. My Diode tech says that some clients tolerate it just fine, while others are asking for breaks every minute or so.
-Large head (Duet only; only used on large areas): Each pulse feels like strong warmth, combined with suction. Sometimes the warmth was painfully strong, like being very briefly burned with hot water. I was wincing when the tech did my arms, and she became nervous and lowered the strength of the laser when she moved on to my legs. But the Duet's large head was MUCH less painful on arms and legs than what I usually experience with the Diode, and it’s faster.
Note that for the bikini and underarm areas, the pain is the same with either laser because the small head is always used. These areas, especially bikini, HURT. I would not have done a second session of bikini had I not paid in advance, because the pain was so bad. But now I’m glad I did it. Results were incredible after only two sessions, about 80% reduction for me.
The Duet is much faster on large areas because of the surface area of the larger head. NOTE that I am a quite petite person, so all areas will take a bit longer if you are average sized, and longer still if you are a larger person.
-Full arms: Diode ~35-40 mins; Duet ~10 mins
-Full legs: Diode ~45-55 mins; Duet ~15 mins
-Full bikini area: 20-35 mins with either laser (both machines use the same small head for this area). Tech may have to give 30 second breaks periodically to help with the pain.
-Underarms: ~10 mins with either laser
Overall effectiveness and satisfaction comparison:
-SATISFIED (8/10) with 1 Duet treatment of arms and bikini area; NOT SATISFIED (5/10) with 1 Duet treatment of legs, but this was with a lesser laser strength. Details below.
-VERY SATISFIED (9/10) with 2-3 Diode treatments (so far) of arms, legs, bikini and underarms.
More Notes about Diode vs Duet:
-The Duet seemed to miss a lot more hair than the Diode did, especially on my legs. I elected to get a Diode treatment on my legs two weeks after the Duet treatment (normally you would wait 4-6 weeks between treatments) and the Diode zapped quite a lot of hair that the Duet missed.
-I think that the Duet was less effective in large areas for two reasons:
1. Duet's larger head means that it's easier to miss some places, such as wrists, or near the ankles. It’s a much quicker, less precise process. Diode's small head means that the tech goes over every inch of arm and leg. Diode feels like a much more extensive, time-consuming and thorough procedure, whereas with the Duet, you’re “in and out” quickly.
2. This is my major caveat. With the Duet treatment, the tech lowered the laser strength in order to treat my legs, and my results were not very good. She used a higher strength with my arms, and results were reasonable. I was more satisfied with my arm results, though not as satisfied as with Diode.
General Notes about Laser:
-It takes about 2-3 weeks for the hair follicles to fall out. You may feel a bit stubbly during that time; then you should miraculously become fuzz-free. You should then stay fuzz-free for a month or so.
-I had about 80% bikini area hair reduction after just 2 sessions with the Diode. It was startlingly effective in “front,” about 95% gone there. I paid for 5 sessions in advance and wish I hadn’t.
-Right now I’m very satisfied with underarm and bikini hair removal after 3 sessions, but less satisfied with arms and legs. I will update my review in the future once I’ve had more sessions.
-Price varies wildly depending on model of laser, geographical location, which areas you’re getting done, and whether you’re buying a package. You can’t base prices off of RealSelf. Try calling several clinics in your area and get price quotes for different areas of the body, and package vs. no package. You can also use quotes from other clinics to try and bargain for a better price, but only if they use the same laser.