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Long-Pulsed Nd:YAG Laser Treatment For Hair Removal in Pigmented Skin

Tina Alster, MD, Holly Bryan, BS, and Carmen M. Williams, MD conducted a clinical trial into the effectiveness of using the 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser for permanent hair reduction in patients with darkly pigmented skin. Their trial covered 20 women aged 21-39 with skin types IV through VI and dark brown to black hair on the face, axillae or legs. Three treatment sessions were delivered at monthly intervals using a mean fluence of 40 -50J/cm2.

Two independent medical assessors evaluated the extent of hair loss and re-growth using comparison photographs. This grading system was used: 0 (less than 25% reduction); 1 (25% to 50%); 2 (51% to 75%); 3 (76% to 90%); and 4 (>90%). Subjective patient reports and adverse effects were also recorded at each visit.


A marked reduction in hair re-growth was noted after each of the 3 treatment sessions and it persisted for a year after the final treatment in all body areas studied. Clinical hair reduction scores on the face averaged 2.9 after 3 treatments. Hair on the legs was slightly more responsive, with an average clinical hair reduction score of 3.5 after the third treatment. Axillary hair recorded the top hair reduction score, averaging 4.0 at 3 months.

Prolonged hair loss was still observed a year after the final laser treatment (70%- 90% hair reduction). Axillary hair was substantially more responsive to laser irradiation than was hair located on the legs and face. Adverse effects included mild to moderate treatment pain and occasional occurrences of vesiculation and transient pigmentary alteration, without fibrosis or scarring.

The clinical study concluded that “The long-pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser is a safe and effective method of long-term hair reduction in patients with darkly pigmented skin.

At The Angel Laser Clinic we use the top of the market Cynosure Elite laser. The Elite has the functionality to treat patients with dark skin types using the Nd:YAG laser and patients with lighter skin using the Alexandrite laser.

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