What are the advantages and disadvantages of an ND: YAG laser over a CO2 laser?

In the aesthetic industry, laser treatment has revolutionised the way many of the skin problems are handled. Laser treatment is used in conditions such as wrinkle, acne scar, hair removal and pigmentation treatment. There are, however, many different types of laser treatment used in the cosmetic industry. Examples of laser treatment used are such as the Nd: YAG laser and fractional CO2 laser.

Nd: YAG stands for Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminium Garnet and is widely used here in Malaysia for permanent hair removal also known as Candela Laser Treatment. Fractional CO2 laser, meanwhile, is used for a variety of uses such as wrinkle, acne scar and pigmentation treatment.

What are the advantages of Nd: YAG laser over fractional CO2 laser in hair removal?

For a starter, Nd: YAG laser uses a selective photothermolysis method which aims specifically at a targetted pigments called eumelanin and pheomelanin of the hair follicle. This enables the treatment to be directed straight to the hair follicle without causing damage to the skin surrounding it.

Fractional CO2 laser treatment, on the other hand, uses beams of CO2 laser to induce damage under the skin to enable self-healing with collagen and elastin production. Although it can remove hair as well, the side effects to the surrounding skin are more pronounced in this treatment.

Nd: YAG laser also uses longer wavelength which means it uses fewer pulses than the CO2 laser. Fewer pulses also mean the treatment is more comfortable to the skin. The CO2 laser is famously known for its “sunburn” effect to the skin which may not be comfortable to some people.

Another good thing about Nd: YAG laser is, it can be applied to all skin type since it does not target melanin specifically but rather eumelanin and pheomelanin.

What are the disadvantages of Nd: YAG laser over fractional CO2 laser?

One thing that strikes immediately when people searching about the difference of Nd: YAG laser over fractional CO2 laser treatment is the pricing. The former is more expensive than the latter as it is a permanent way of removing hair growth. Besides that, Nd: YAG treatment also often unable to remove fine hair which makes the treatment requires several sessions overall.

If done incorrectly, Nd: YAG laser may cause skin lightening or skin darkening susceptible person post-treatment. This is usually temporary hence the need to see a certified aesthetician. This is in contrast with CO2 laser where reddening of the skin is more prominent but less an issue compared to Nd: YAG laser treatment.

Nd: YAG laser carries a small risk of paradoxical hair growth wherein certain people, instead of hair removal, they got hair growth. This may lead them to go for other treatment option which will cost them financially and time as well.

In summary, both laser treatments have their pros and cons to the type of condition a person may have. Candela Laser Treatment has become a popular method for permanent hair removal as well as with conditions such as saggy skin and spider veins. It is therefore crucial for a person to consult a certified and experienced dermatologist or aesthetician before going to decide which treatment suitable for them.