Home Laser Treatments: Acne, Aging, and Unwanted Hair

May 2012 | Volume 11 | Issue 5 | Features | 666 | Copyright © May 2012

Anne Chapas MD FAAD and Kendra Gail Bergstrom MD FAAD



As our population focuses on maintaining healthy skin, interest in all types of cosmetic treatments has increased. Interest in at-home treatments has increased in parallel to office-based treatment as a less costly option. Home-use lasers are now available in the US in many wavelengths, including 810 nm diode, red light, blue light, intense pulsed light, infrared, ultraviolet, and even non-ablative fractional resurfacing. Several new lasers have been marketed directly to consumers for home treatment of unwanted hair, photoageing, and psoriasis.


Laser technologies, once only available in the doctor's office, are being developed for the consumer market, allowing for private treatment at home. Although not as powerful as the office devices, many of these home devices offer similar types of energy outputs as their office counterparts and incorporate in-machine safety features to allow use by consumers. While major limitations include discomfort and frequent, longer, treatment times, they can be great tools in the hands of the right patient and may complement office-based procedures.
Although office-based laser hair removal remains one of the most popular nonsurgical aesthetic procedures, many people desire to remove hair privately at home. Currently available home laser hair removal can reduce dark hair on skin types I-IV, and use two common modalities, the 810 diode and intense pulsed light. Lower fluences and longer pulse widths offer a wider safety margin than settings usually used in physicians' offices. Testing for skin appropriateness is offered in several different ways for different lasers, including a built-in testing meter in newer models or an online quiz that can help consumers select an appropriate machine and initial setting. Another treatment modality uses bulk heating, which may widen treatment options for patients with dark skin or with blond or grey hairs.
Anne Chapas MD FAADa and
Kendra Gail Bergstrom MD FAADb
aDirector, Union Square Laser Dermatology, Clinical Assistant
Professor of Dermatology, NYU Medical Center, New York, NY
bPacific Medical Centers, Seattle, WA


Dr. Anne Chapas has served as a consultant and received honoraria from TRIA Beauty and Solta.
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