Laser hair removal has been around for several years and is a popular procedure. The possibility of never having to shave again is a huge temptation and is primarily responsible for the procedure's success. Some drawbacks to laser hair removal are the pain and the time required. Now there are two machines that have been featured on talk shows and in magazines that seem to clear up those issues: the LightSheer Duet from Lumenis and the Soprano XL from Alma Lasers.
Lumenis's LightSheer Duet uses vacuum technology to gently suction the skin bringing the hair follicle closer to the laser itself. Treatment is quick, with legs and backs only taking about 15 minutes according to the manufacturer; a 75% improvement over Lumenis' original LightSheer system. A larger treatment tip with deeper penetration is the key. The new tip is 22X35mm as opposed to the former tip which was 9X9mm. That's about the size of a postage stamp as compared to the size of a pinky fingernail.
The light vacuum pressure is the essential element of pain reduction in the LightSheer Duet. The skin is suctioned closer to the energy source and senses the suction rather than the pulse. The skin is stretched thin reducing the number of melanocytes in the skin so that less of the energy is absorbed by the epidermis. Furthermore, the vacuum pressure constricts the blood vessels causing the skin to blanch, or become somewhat white, so that there are less chromophores. When the laser pulses, less of the energy is lost to the chromophores so that more of it can reach the melanin in the hair. The energy is absorbed by the melanin, heat builds up, and the follicle is damaged and unable to regrow the hair. The procedure is virtually pain free and is performed without topical anesthetics.
The Soprano XL also has a larger treatment tip than its predecessor, measuring 12X10mm and has two treatment modes. One uses IN-Motion technology to decrease treatment time and increase patient comfort. The technician is able to pass over the area while the laser pulses 10X per second. This gradually heats the follicle and chromophores rather than a quick blast. When the chromophores and follicle have heated to the proper temperature, the follicle becomes damaged and can no longer produce new hair. The Soprano XL also features the Sapphire cooling tip to cool the skin, making for a virtually painless procedure. The other treatment mode is closer to the traditional method of a single pulse. It uses a stronger cooling tip as well in order to increase patient comfort.