Background. Laser hair removal is the treatment of choice for hypertrichosis. The two most commonly used hair removal lasers are compared.
Objective. To present the results of a comparative study examining the role of wavelength, fluence, spot size, pulse width, and cooling systems on long-term results after a series of four laser hair removal treatments using the 755 nm alexandrite and 800–810 nm diode lasers.
Methods. The axillae of 15 untanned, type I–V patients were treated side by side four times at 4- to 6-week intervals with a 755 nm, 3-msec pulse width, cryogen spray-equipped alexandrite laser and an 800 nm, variable pulse width, cooled sapphire window-equipped diode laser. Each patient was pretested and treated with the maximum fluence tolerated at the largest spot size available for each laser (12 mm round/113 mm2 for the alexandrite and 9 mm for the diode).
Results. Evaluations were done at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the last treatment. Twelve-month results with the alexandrite and diode lasers achieved 85% versus 84% hair reduction. The fact that tan avoidance was strictly followed permitted the use of relatively high fluences (25–30+ J/cm2) even in type IV patients. For most patients, four treatment sessions using high fluences (30–40 J/cm2) with relatively large spot sizes (12 mm round for the 755 nm alexandrite and 9 mm for the 800 nm diode) resulted in 12-month hair reductions in the 90% range.
Conclusion. Both the alexandrite and diode lasers in this 12-month study produced excellent long-term hair reductions.