IPL Hair Removal
Many of the treatments now delivered with IPL were traditionally associated with laser technology. However, research and development has proven that Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) produces an equally effective outcome, as well as being faster, less expensive and less painful.
For hair removal light waves ranging from 600-1200nm are used in the Ecolite IPL system - this light is almost exclusively absorbed by the melanin, the skin's natural pigment. As there is more melanin in the hair shaft and follicle than the surrounding skin tissue, more light will be absorbed in those structures. This causes a local rise in temperature within the hair follicle, which causes it to die - once dead, it cannot grow again. However, it is important to note that Ecolite IPL (as with Laser) will only be fully effective on hair in the anagen phase of growth cycle - hair that is actively growing and contains sufficient melanin. It is for this reason that a course of treatments are required, around 4 weeks apart, to ensure that all hair to the targeted location is treated, at the right phase of the growth cycle.
The Ecolite IPL offers clients a virtually painless treatment with permanent, or long lasting results. Compared with other techniques hair removal by Ecolite IPL is highly desirable with no blistering, reddening for prolonged periods, infection after a session.
What colour hair can be treated?
Other than white, grey hair and very fair hair, all hair colours can be permanently reduced through treatments. Dark hairs are most easily treated due to their high concentration of melanin that gives maximum absorption. In order to compensate for the lower levels of melanin found in fair hair, the operator can simply raise the fluence (energy) output from the Ecolite IPL system. The System software allows for adjustments to be made according each individual's hair colour and skin pigmentation.
Does it hurt?
As the light energy is absorbed, the discomfort depends on the melanin concentration in the epidermis and the hairs combined. Consequently, there will be more sensation in darker skin types and those with dense hair. No anaesthesia is required and most clients describe the "pain" to be similar to being snapped by an elastic band, at worst.
Does the client have to shave prior to treatment?
As long hairs use up light energy and prevent all o it reaching the hair root, it follows that hairs should be 1-2mm long at the time of treatment, so shaving just beforehand should be avoided, as should other forms of epilation such as plucking, or waxing in the 4 weeks leading up to the treatment. Similarly, bleaching should also be stopped for the same period.
Why do hairs "grow" after treatment?
Unlike some other light-based epilation such as laser, hair is not vaporised by the Ecolite treatment. The heat induced kills the hair root, but the hair remains in the skin and sometimes becomes attached to the epidermis. Over 1-3 weeks following the treatment, the hairs will fall out as the epidermis renews itself. During this period, it will seem as if the hairs are "growing" - clearly, this is not the case.
How can you tell if the treatment has worked?
A few minutes after the treatment there are various indications of the effectiveness of treatment such as: the colour of the hair becoming charcoal, the hair expanding in size or a red ring around the follicle - these are good indicators that sufficient heating of the follicles has taken place. However, this is not always seen and clients can have great results even without such signs - time will always tell.
Are there any side effects?
The visible light is completely safe when the eye goggles are worn to protect against the brightness of the flash. The skin of some clients can become quite red immediately after the treatment and very rarely small blisters similar to excessive sun exposure can occur. However, most clients experience no side effects at all and any of the described reactions should disappear within hours to a few days afterwards. Unlike electrolysis, the Ecolite IPL system is non-invasive.
How many treatments are required?
Only hair in the growth phase can be treated during a session. The number of hairs in this phase varies from 20%-70%, depending on the body site; the length of the growth cycles also vary from 6-12 weeks. Therefore, "catching" the hairs at the right time is not as straightforward as it might seem and that's why multiple sessions over an extended period of time is necessary. Clients with fairer skin and dark hair may achieve permanent reduction of hair to the treated are up to 85% with 4-6 sessions. Darker skins and/or denser hair and men typically need 6-12 sessions to achieve similar results. However, even after the first few treatments, the hair will become finer and noticeable reductions in the density will be found. It should also be appreciated that some clients may find that new hair "appears" to have grown in the treated area - this is merely dormant hair that has began growing and will be then be treated in subsequent sessions to obtain a more effective result - this helps to noticeably reduce the "shadow area" so often found in the armpits where dormant hair roots remain after waxing, or shaving.
How do I prepare for a treatment?
Clients should avoid tanning for 1 month prior to the treatment, along with the advice given above for shaving. Immediately after each treatment, the skin is particularly sensitive to UV light and strong sunlight should be avoided for 4-5 days and a SPF 14 block should be used.
Is it permanent?
Most authorities would agree that current laser and IPL technologies can achieve permanent hair removal of 85-90% to a treated area, which is why we refer to the treatment as permanent hair reduction - achieving the full 100% would be almost an impossible claim to achieve by anyone due to the variabilities of hair growth from person to person.
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