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How does Hair Removal with IPL Therapy work?

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Intense Pulsed Light Therapy, or better known as IPL Therapy is used for Hair Removal, but can also be used for Facial and Body Vein removal, Vascular Birthmarks, Pimples, Facial Rejuvination and Collagen Stimulation.

How does the hair removal system work?

The IPL (Intense Pulsed Light Therapy) hair removal procedure produces a high intensity flash of filtered light from the applicator head, which has been placed in contact with the skin. The energy from the light source is absorbed by the pigment melanin, which is the chromophore, which gives hair its colour. The hair rapidly absorbs this filtered light and transfers it to the surrounding cells that in turn are converted into heat raising them to a temperature of 70 degree Centigrade or more. The heating denatures the cells making them incapable of producing further hair growth.

How is the treatment carried out?

The glass applicator is placed in contact with skin surface and the light is pulsed through it onto the skin. The applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area and the process is repeated.

Who can be treated?

Dark hairs are most easily treated due to the high concentration of melanin that gives maximum absorption and conversion of light energy into heat. Very fair hair has less melanin and consequently less heat is produced, simply raising the fluence output from the IPL treats such hair. White hair has no melanin and cannot be efficiently treated. The upper skin layer of the epidermis also contains melanin and the concentration increases when the skin is exposed to UV light. It is therefore necessary to treat the dark skinned individuals with less energy to avoid generation of excess heat and pain in the skin. The IPL software allows you to adjust the treatment parameters for different hair and pigment type.
SUITABLE FOR ANY SKIN COLOUR & HAIR TYPE

Does it hurt?

As the light energy is absorbed by the pigment melanin, the discomfort depends upon the concentration of melanin in the epidermis and the hairs combined. Consequently it hurts more in dark skinned people and those with dense dark hair hairs. No anaesthesia is required and most patients describe the pain as moderate and acceptable
(as if a hairbrush has been tapped against the skin)

Does you need to shave prior to the treatment?

Ideally, hairs should be 1 to 2mm long when you come in for the treatment so it is possible to mark out the treatment area. Long hairs take up the energy and prevent all of it reaching to the hair root. Therefore hair is trimmed just before for maximum transmission of the energy. If the hair is normally shaved and can be seen when shaven then you can shave right up to the day of treatment. Although plucking and bleaching should not be done. By avoiding any other form of epilating and waxing 4 weeks before the treatment it ensures as many follicles as possible contain hair thus can be destroyed by the light

Why do hairs "grow" after treatment?

Unlike other light depilation treatments, hairs are not vaporised by the IPL treatment. The heat kills the hair roots but the hairs remain in the skin and often become attached to the epidermis. They will fall out after 1 to 3 weeks as the epidermis renews itself. During this period it will seem that the hairs are growing a little faster as the epidermis pushes them out.

How can you tell if the treatment has worked when the hairs are not removed immediately?

Various Indications such as colour of Hair becoming charcoal black and expanding in size or a Red ring around each follicle is often seen a few minutes after the treatment. These are good indications that sufficient heating of the follicles has taken place. Unfortunately this is not always seen and we have seen many patients with successful treatments results without the post treatment signs.

What are the side effects?
 
The visible light should be completely safe, so no special precautions are needed apart from glasses for the brightness generated from flash lamp. The skin of some people can be quite red immediately after treatment and very rarely small blisters as from excessive sun exposure can occur. However, most people experience no side effects at all and the described skin reactions as above usually disappear within hours to few days. Unlike electrolysis the IPL treatment is non-invasive

How many treatments are necessary?

Only hair in the growth phase can be treated. The number of hairs in this phase varies from 20%to 90% depending on the body site. The lengths of the growth cycles also vary from 6 to 24 weeks depending on the body site. For most people three to five treatments are sufficient to clear an area of hair. After the first treatment most patients get a significant reduction in hair density also new grown hairs tend to become finer. It is important to know that the first treatment is believed to synchronise the anagen (growth) phase of the non-anagen hairs. This may cause what seems to be regrowth but actually just sleeping hairs starting to grow at the same time (new growth) This in turn makes next treatment(s) more effective

How do I prepare for treatment?

Patients should avoid tanning 1 month ahead of the treatment and immediately after treatment the skin is particularly sensitive to UV light and strong sunlight should be avoided for 4-5 days.

How Long Does The Treatment Take?

The Facial treatment usually takes 10 minutes whereas both legs and an entire back take approximately 1hour

Is It Permanent?

Most authorities would agree that using current laser and IPL technology it is possible to permanently remove hair. Histology studies have found destroyed and denatured hair follicles cells in post treatment. A recent study showed that the percentage reduction in hairs after treatment using IPL systems are well above 80%.

Before and After Treatment

With IPL there is some preparation required in the weeks before treatment, along with after-care following treatment. Reputable practitioners will give you full information regarding both preparation and aftercare.

Note: Always consult qualified practitioners to assess your suitablility for treatment.



By Dr. Succar
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