Case Study 3

Hair removal using a combination of conducted radio-frequency and
optical energies –  an 18-month follow-up

Neil S Sadick & James Shaoul

OBJECTIVE: Multiple lasers and intense pulsed light sources have been shown to provide long-term hair removal; however, the management of all dark skin phenotypes and lightcolored hair remains problematic.
The present study examined the long-term photoepilatory effect of a combined intense pulsed light (IPL) (680–980 nm)/radiofrequency (RF) (10–30 J/cm3) light source and its efficiency for the treatment of multiple skin phenotypes and varied
hair colors.

METHODS: Forty adult patients (skin phenotypes II–V) with varied facial and non-facial hair colors were treated with a combined IPL/RF technology. Four treatments were carried out over a period of 9–12 months at 8–12-week intervals. Light energy
ranged from 15 to 26 J/cm2, while RF energy varied from 10 to 20 J/cm3. 
Hair counts and photographic evaluation of skin sites were obtained at baseline, and months 1, 3 and 5 after the final treatment session. H&E biopsies were examined at 1 week in five randomly selected study cohorts.

RESULTS: Maximum hair reduction was observed at 6–8 weeks after each treatment. An average clearance of 75% was observed in all body locations at 18 months. No significant adverse sequelae were reported. Results showed no significant dependence on skin color: lighter and darker skin types responded similarly to treatment. Histologic evaluation revealed thermal damage to hair
follicles with vacuolar degeneration.

CONCLUSION: The combined IPL (680–980 nm)/RF light source with contact cooling is a safe and effective method of long-term hair reduction in patients of diversified skin types and varied hair colors and is associated with excellent patient safety.

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