Dr. Harvey Jay Harvey H. Jay, M.D.
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Cornell Medical School
  • Fellow of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
  • Board-certified Dermatologist

Harvey H. Jay, M.D.

45 East 62nd. St., New York, NY 10065
Tel: 212-755-2237 - Fax: 212-755-3359

MD Laser Derm Light that Beautifies

Light that Beautifies

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© Harvey H. Jay, M.D. 1996 - 2009. All Rights Reserved.



1. Are there any long term negative effects of EpiLight or PhotoDerm pulsed light?
Lasers have delivered more intense beams of light to patients for many years. The original pulsed dye lasers were designed to treat blood vessels in newborn children. EpiLight and Photoderm produces many of these wavelengths of light in the 500 to 1200 nanometer wavelength range. This is NOT ultraviolet light which is from 280 to 400 nanometers. EpiLight and Photoderm and lasers produce wavelengths of light that are primarily in the visible light or infrared range. The only experimental data that I am aware of, is in mice, and it shows that these wavelengths can induce repair mechanisms that correct damage produced by ultraviolet UV light. There is NO evidence, that I am aware of, that any of the wavelengths of light delivered by lasers, and shared by EpiLight and Photoderm ,have produced cancer or any adverse long term results. I have treated my family, friends, patients, staff, and myself with this technology, and feel assured as to its safety and efficacy.

2. Why do you prefer pulsed light Epilight for hair removal over Softlight™, Ruby, Nd: Yag (Neodinium Yag), Alexandrite, and Diode lasers?
Epilight and Photoderm both deliver hundreds of pulses of light from 515 to 1200 nanometers wavelengths. These bursts of light can be divided into varying lengths of light and varying intervals between the bursts of light. The flexibility of the combinations of these possible settings is what makes this technology superior to the single color (or wavelength) of light delivered by each laser. The ability to vary these many aspects of the light enable the experienced physician user to customize the settings to the characteristics of the hair, blood vessels, or pigment being treated. These thousands of settings are also not obtainable with lasers.

The primary difference between Photoderm and Epilight is the particular combinations of these parameters that each machine offers the physicians using the machine. Epilight can deliver 2 to 5 pulses each of which has the same duration and interval between pulses. Photoderm can deliver 1 to 3 pulses with the duration of each pulse and the interval between pulses - all independently adjustable.

Hair removal was originally recognized with Photoderm. When I treated blood vessels with photoderm about 8 years ago, I noticed that the hair on the treatment site did not regrow. I began using Epilight in July 1996. Epilight was designed specifically for hair removal. The newer version of Epilight, which I now use, is 12 TIMES FASTER than the current version of Photoderm. The surface area that Epilight treats is twice that of Photoderm and the rapidity of pulses is 6 times that of Photoderm. As a result, Epilight is much faster in treating patients than Photoderm.

In addition, there is considerably more experience in using Epilight for hair removal than Photoderm. I own both machines. I find that I constantly use Epilight for hair removal and Photoderm for treatment of blood vessels such as rosacea, leg veins, hemangiomas, port wine stains, brown spots, elevated scars, and stretch marks. However, in rare instances, I will switch machines when a particularly desirable setting is obtainable on one and not the other. In general, however, I need both machines to deliver all of the most customizable settings to treat each patient. I purchase my equipment. I purchased Epilight for hair removal and I find that I am obtaining excellent long term hair removal safely, in all 6 skin types - from white to black skin color and in black, brown, red and blond hair. No laser can give me these results. No laser allows me to treat all of my patients as safely and as flexibly. I am getting an average of 45% long term hair removal lasting at least 6 to 13 months in type 1,2,3,4,5,skin (white to dark brown skin), and in black, brown, red, and blond hairs. In a clinical study of 150 treatment sites, my patients had no adverse side effects! What more could any one machine offer my patients? I personally treat each patient. The results are excellent.

I performed a later study to evaluate the safety of my work. You can read my article published in the Cornell Medical School Edition of Cosmetic Dermatology Journal in December '02 which demonstrates the Safety of Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal in 250 Consecutive New Patients when using my Ultimate Light™ method. These patients included all skin types. In fact 77% were darker skinned patients (skin types 4,5,6)

Ruby and Alexandrite and the longer wavelength hair Diode lasers are all similar. They have difficulty with darker skin types and leave much more side effects than I am seeing in my patients. Softlight™ use of a tar solution and a YAG laser after waxing was shown to have complete regrowth in 6 months, and had no better results than waxing alone. Their new modifications are still being evaluated.

Why should I purchase another machine when none have not yet been shown to be as good as the one I already own? The main problem reported with Epilight is the expertise required to operate it. I have more experience using Epilight than anyone in the world. As a physician, I am one of the few physician - dermatologists - operating Epilight myself - and treating each patient. I don't need a simplistic solution to the many complicated patient needs that my hair removal patients require. I am still improving my knowledge and techniques of hair removal (as well as treatment of blood vessels and brown spots). My photographs of my own results attest to these results. They are not retouched or altered in any way.

3. How long will it take for the hairs to fall out and how frequently do you treat patients with Epilight?
Hairs usually fall out in one to two weeks. These hairs generally fall out on their own. No treatment is needed to remove them. I usually treat patients at 3 week intervals. I treat patients once, then wait to see their response 3 weeks later. I treat the hairs that remain. I next bring the patient back in 3 weeks to evaluate their response and decide on the need for added treatment. Many patients are happy after one or two treatments. They then return for additional treatment if hairs regrow.

4. My skin is dark. I would like to have treatment with Epilight for excess hair. Can patients with dark skin (skin types 4,5,6) be treated with Epilight?

In view of your skin type being either Type 4, 5, or 6, you should be aware that your skin is more likely to absorb pulsed light in Epilight or Photoderm.

You should therefore be especially careful to see a PHYSICIAN experienced in using that specific technology that you require. Extreme caution, including possibly treating a few test areas, will minimize the chance of your obtaining a side effect; such as lightening or darkening of your skin, or scarring.

Please be certain that a PHYSICIAN personally treats you and that they have had experience treating similar skin types and skin problems, with that particular machine. Asking for photographs of results of that physician (on that machine) will help you evaluate your chance of obtaining the best possible outcome, with the least chance of side effects.

I personally have treated all six skin types (from white to black skin) with Epilight and Photoderm, and have had good results with minimal side effects. Please see our Epilight photo gallery for actual results CASES 10, 11, 12 and other photos of DARK SKIN. Please see my article showing the safety of treating dark skinned patients.

5. What advice can you offer to assure me the safest and best results?
Firstly, you should be certain that a PHYSICIAN operates the machine. In many instances, a non-physician operates Photoderm, Epilight, other pulsed light machines or lasers. I strongly believe that an experienced Physician who PERSONALLY operates and not merely owns these machines will give you the best results and the least side effects. When a Physician purchases a Photoderm or an Epilight machine they are supposed to attend a one or two day course where they are introduced to the machine and observe other user(s) treat actual patients.

I have personally instructed at these courses and have trained Physicians from around the world in my office. These experiences helped me to understand that this training is merely a foundation on which to build, and not a substitute for many hours of intense study and clinical experience that produce a well qualified Physician.

In addition, personnel from the manufacturer will assist the beginners in treating a few patients in the physician's own office. The physician then begin to treat patients on their own. Beginners should be very careful to use the machine's standard settings at their lowest and safest range. It takes at least 6 months of conscientious and frequent use, and a thorough understanding of the concepts of skin and light interaction, for the physician to be able to gain a sense of how to customize settings.

The more experience and study by the PHYSICIAN, the better the results for the patient. Side effects can result from any treatment of a patient, whether the treatment is medical or surgical. The experienced PHYSICIAN utilizes their knowledge to anticipate and avoid many potential problems that the less experienced and less knowledgeable practitioner fails to recognize and/or avoid. These side effects range from unnecessary temporary bruising or pigmentary changes (such as lightening or darkening of skin) to scarring.

6. What are the costs of treatment?
Treatment fees are approximately $12 per square inch of treatment area. There is a $440 per treatment visit minimum fee. Areas that can be treated for the $440 minimum include:
  • Upper and lower lip and chin, or
  • Parts of the face and sideburns or
  • Hands or Axilla (armpits) or Bikini Area
Treatment cost depends on the size of the area treated. Since each of these treatment areas can vary in size in different patients, treatment cost can vary accordingly.

Treatment of larger skin area such as the back, chest, and or extremeties will be according to the size of the areas needing hair removal. The usual cost per treatment for these areas can range from $1,000 to $3,000. The best way to estimate your approximate cost is to come in to my office for an evaluation and treatment to whatever size area you desire and is medically dvisable. This treatment will enable you to judge for yourself the effectiveness and cost of treating your hairs.

7. Is Epilight permanent?
Since February 2000 the FDA has allowed the claim of permanent hair reduction for Epilight.

The FDA now requires proof of permanence. Electrolysis was grandfathered. Since it had been claiming permanence before the law required proof of permanence - electrolysis is not required to prove permanence - but it can still state that it is permanent.

I have completed a study of 150 treatment sites in my patients. My patients had no adverse side effects. They had approximately 45% hair reduction. This hair reduction lasted for at least 6 to 13 months after I last treated these patients with Epilight. These results are superior to those reported by lasers such as the ruby laser. In a ruby laser study, that, I believe, was used to obtain FDA agreement to the use of the word permanence - the authors state that the ruby laser produces permanent hair reduction - the patients had more side effects and less of an improvement in their excess hair - as compared to my results. The ruby laser study noted that any hair reduction at 6 months was maintained for the two year period, which they believed indicated permanent reduction. Since my patients (treated by me personally), obtained hair reductions lasting over 6 to 13 months-my results appear to indicate that Epilight hair reduction is permanent.

I personally have patients who have over 7 years of hair removal using pulsed light Epilight treatment. I do not know of any physician reporting longer term hair removal using Epilight. My patients are Happy! I am Happy! I am still following them to see if the hairs ever do regrow. Each patient is different! There is no guarantee that all Epilight pulsed light hair removal treatments will last for 24 months or more.

Please remember that merely waxing hairs can result in decreased hair growth for several months. When evaluating any physician's claim to successful hair removal, make sure that they show you photographs of THEIR longterm results using that technology. In my office, I PERSONALLY evaluate and treat each patient. We examine the hairs in each area and photograph each area -- to ACCURATELY and objectively evaluate each patient's response. I started doing this measurement when I first began using Epilight under an investigational study on July 5, 1996, before Epilight was licensed by the FDA. In July 1997 I was one of the first three Epilight investigators in the study that was submitted to the FDA and resulted in Epilight licensure.

Approximately 15 other physicians started using Epilight about 9 months after I did. I PERSONALLY treat each patient in my office for any medical problem -- whether with Epilight, Photoderm, or standard dermatological problems.

This experience enables me to use newer and more customizable settings than standard Epilight users can utilize. My ablity to personally deliver the highest level of care; way beyond the beginner presets that many non physicians or beginner physicians use on Epilight, should translate into giving you the BEST and longest term results possible -- with the fewest side effects, at the most economical rate.

8. May I go outside in the sun after treatment?
For most patients, I usually advise waiting three to four days to go out in the sun. I always advise patients to minimize sun exposure and to wear SPF 15-35 sunscreen containing Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide for UVA protection.

9. How long after treatment must I wait before I return to work and resume my normal daily activities?
Patients may usually return directly to work and/or normal activities. Immediately after treatment, there may be some mild redness around the hair follicles. This redness usually lasts for a few minutes, but may last longer. Care should be taken not to irritate the treated area for a few days.

10. How long does each treatment last?
Since treatment is always customized to each patient's needs and area being treated, duration of sessions may vary somewhat. Treatments usually last one half hour and longer, depending on area being treated.

11. May I be treated with Epilight or Photoderm if my skin is still tanned?
It is important to wait until your tan has completely faded. When you are tanned, pigment in the skin may absorb the light and produce temporary lightening or darkening of the skin. Waiting 1 to 2 months after sun exposure or tanning salon exposure is usually adequate.

Areas that are permanently darker that non sun exposed area can be treated. If an area of skin will not get lighter with waiting - then it can usually be treated with my Ultimate Light™ method of pulsed light.

12. Is special preparation necessary prior to treatment?
No. There is no required pre-treatment.

13. What is the status of FDA licensing?
Epilight was licensed by the FDA in July, 1997.

Dr Jay was one of the original investigators whose clinical research led to FDA licensure. Dr Jay has been using Epilight since July 5, 1996, he was one of the first three users in the U.S.

Photoderm was licensed by the FDA in late 1995. Dr Jay began using Photoderm in December, 1995.

14. Is treatment painful?
Patients usually say that the Epilight and Photoderm treatments feel like the snap of a rubberband against the skin. No anesthesia or pain medications have ever been necessary for Dr Jay's patients. Patients report that Epilight and Photoderm treatments feel more gentle than electrolysis, waxing, or lasers.

15. How Many Treatments?
The number of treatments can vary considerably depending on the end point desired by the patient, the area being treated, and the individual response of each patient. It is therefore very difficult to predict the number of treatments in advance. I usually treat patients twice approximately 3 weeks apart. Three weeks after the second treatment I evaluate the response to the two treatments. Treatments after the second treatment are usually done as new hair growth is noted. In order to minimize side effects, we generally proceed more cautiously and slowly with darker skinned patients. In one visit we have treated an entire back, both arms, lower or upper legs, or a combination of several smaller areas. Each patient is different. We therefore evaluate each patient and determine the optimum treatment plan for that patient. Dr Jay personally treats each patient.

16. What are the side effects?
Very few of my patients have any side effects with Epilight. The main side effect is temporary redness which lasts for either a few minutes or occasionally for a few hours. Patients usually go right back to work or play after my treating them with Epilight.

Occasionally, patients with darker skin types, or patients with a recent tan will have some of their extra pigment absorb the light used for treating their hairs. This extra pigment then gradually moves through the skin and disappears in a few days or weeks. The resulting color is usually less dark than the original skin color. Some patients actually look forward to the more balanced and even color of their skin after the darker areas are lightened. The resulting color change or occasional slight redness usually clears in a few weeks, but may last longer. I have not seen scarring in patients that I have treated with Epilight.

For a detailed analysis of the safety of my Ultimate Light™ method of my pulsed light treatment in ALL skin types please see my article published in the peer reviewed Cornell University Medical School Edition of Cosmetic Dermatology - click here

As you know, any medical, surgical, pulsed light, or laser treatment; can produce side effects. The best way to minimize any side effect is to be treated by a physician who is experienced in using the specific machine with which you are being treated. No physician has more experience using Epilight than I do. I personally treat each patient! I can maximize the effectiveness and safety of Epilight by not merely using the beginner presets that technicians or beginner physicians use, but by customizing the settings to match each patient's specific hair color, thickness, and depth; as well as the color of their skin. This experience and ability allows me to minimize side effects and maximize the effectiveness and the economy of my treatments utilizing Epilight's pulsed light technology. No other machine when used intelligently allows the experienced physician to deliver thousands of different settings to correspond to the wide range of patient needs.