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Skin Care and Diseases

NoNo vs Laser Hair Removal

07/14/2011

Question:

Can you compare and contrast the NoNo hair removal system vs laser hair removal for African-Americans? Please tell me the pros and cons for each, since I really am looking for a solution to remove my embarrassing hair problem. Thanks

Answer:

NoNo is a commercial home-use hair removal device that works via heat - the so-called Thermicon technology, whereas laser hair removal systems operate based on light. Most of the commercially available laser systems utilize melanin (the normal skin pigment and hair pigment) as the molecule that receives the laser energy. The problem sometimes if the skin is rich in melanin is that the laser has a harder time distinguishing the follicular melanin in the hair, which is its main target, versus the normal melanin in the skin. Therefore the safety margin becomes narrow, and the risks increase e.g. post laser pigmentary changes. Having said that though, there are some laser systems that have been successful in treating African American skin, such as long-pulsed ND;YAG lasers. One must remember though that multiple treatments are necessary, which adds to the cost significantly. The convenience of a home unit such as NoNo is quite attractive and the cost is not as much as laser hair removal treatments. However, due to the fact that it's relatively new, long-term effects have not yet been analyzed and reported in the scientific literature.

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Response by:

Elma D Baron, MD Elma D Baron, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Skin Study Center
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University