Long-term Photoepilation Using a Broad-spectrum Intense Pulsed Light Source | Dermatology | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network
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November 2000

Long-term Photoepilation Using a Broad-spectrum Intense Pulsed Light Source

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY (Dr Sadick); the Department of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md (Dr Weiss); the Departments of Pathology and Medicine (Dermatology), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (Dr Shea); ESC Sharplan, Yokneam, Israel (Ms Nagel) and Norwood, Mass (Ms Nicholson); and the Departments of Pathology and Medicine (Dermatology), University of Texas–MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (Dr Prieto). Ms Nagel is an employee of ESC Medical Systems.

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(11):1336-1340. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.11.1336

Background  The goal of laser or flashlamp photoepilation is to produce long-term, cosmetically significant hair removal. We document the long-term efficacy achieved with an intense pulsed light source for photoepilation.

Design  Prospective study comparing long-term results of single vs multiple treatments, and effects of anatomic site and skin type on efficacy of photoepilation with a device emitting broad-spectrum, noncoherent (nonlaser) radiation from 550- to 1200-nm wavelengths, in macropulses divided into 2 to 5 minipulses.

Setting  Private dermatology practice.

Patients  Thirty-four patients (8 men, 26 women) with hirsutism.

Interventions  Parameters for the study were wavelength of 615 to 695 nm, pulse duration of 2.6 to 3.3 milliseconds, fluence of 34 to 42 J/cm2, 10 × 45-mm exposure field, and application of 1°C cooling gel.

Main Outcome Measures  Hair removal efficiency, calculated as percentage ratio of the number of hairs present compared with baseline counts, and patient satisfaction questionnaire completed at last follow-up.

Results  The mean hair removal efficiency achieved was 76% after a mean of 3.7 treatments. More than 94% of the sites reached mean hair removal efficiency values greater than 50%. Hair removal efficiency was not significantly related to skin type, hair color, anatomic site, or number of treatments. Side effects were mild and reversible and occurred in a minority of patients (hyperpigmentation in 3 and superficial crusting in 2).

Conclusions  Our data document the long-term clinical efficacy of intense pulsed light source–induced hair removal in light and dark skin phenotypes. Maximal photoepilation was achieved from the initial 1 to 3 treatments; only a small added benefit was seen after more treatments.