Close your eyes and think of a world where you didn’t have to wax or shave anymore. Imagine having silky smooth armpits, legs, and private parts for the rest of your days. Think about all of the time you would save by not having to shave, not to mention no post-wax ingrown hairs or shaving rash. If you’re into your body hair, that’s great, but if you’re a fan of hair free skin then no doubt you’re curious about laser or IPL hair removal. But which treatment is the right one for you and what are the key differences between them?
Both laser and intense pulsed light use light to heat the hair follicle and prevent regrowth, although the technology used to deliver the light is quite different.
Lasers produce a light consisting of one wavelength or colour of light all going in one direction, this creates a single beam, whereas IPL devices produce a wide range of wavelengths of light to produce a single white flash. This light is closer to natural light and can appear with an orange/red glow when the device is flashed against the skin.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Both laser light and IPL light work in the same way for the purposes of hair removal. The light (laser or IPL) enters the skin and is absorbed by the melanin in the hair shaft. The absorption of this light causes the hair shaft and follicle to heat up. If the right amount of light energy is used, the cells in the hair follicle are heated up to a critical temperature that results in an interruption of the hair growth cycle. One of the main objectives for light-based hair removal using either laser or IPL is to achieve this critical temperature in the hair follicle whilst not heating up the surrounding skin to a temperature that could cause damage. This is achieved by careful control of the amount of light output.
In short, the thicker and darker the hair is, the easier it is for the light to detect it. This means that hair reduction is fast and effective for those who have pale skin and brown to black hair. Think of the pigment in the hair as a black item of clothing on a summer’s day; it absorbs all the sun’s heat, whereas a white T-shirt reflects the heat and keeps you cool. Typically, this is why women with dark hair tend to respond better to laser hair removal compared with those who have blonde, fair or red hair. They just don’t have enough pigment in their hair follicle for the laser beam to be absorbed.
Dark skin and hair need to be treated slightly differently from lighter skin due to the high melanin content found in the skin. At the Beauty Editor we use the Lynton Lumina which has the ND:YAG laser built in which is best for darker skin types. This laser penetrates deeper into the skin picking up only the hair and not the pigment in the skin. This is vital for darker skin as it allows us to miss the melanin and only target the hair follicle.
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT HAIR
Hair grows in 3 phases known as anagen, catagen and telogen. Laser and IPL hair removal only treat hair in the anagen phase, which is when the hair is growing, and cells are dividing in the hair follicle.
At any point in time, only some hair is in the anagen phase and the amount varies between people. This is why, to achieve the best results, Laser or IPL treatments need to be done over several sessions with a break between treatments.
The success rate, if the time between sessions and the proper number of treatments is followed, is between 70% to 90% hair reduction.
ARE LASER TREATMENTS MORE PAINFUL THAN IPL?
Laser and IPL treatments can vary in terms of how painful the treatments are due to the way the different technologies work. The single beam of light used during laser treatments is often reported by clients to be more painful than IPL treatments, and due to the fact that the beam of light used in laser treatments is more concentrated, laser devices have a much smaller treatment window. Thanks to the broader flash of light used in IPL, IPL devices feature a larger treatment window and so can cover a much larger area at once, meaning a much faster treatment time in comparison to laser. As with any kind of light-based hair reduction, you are likely to need a yearly top-up treatment to stop your hairs from growing back whether you chose to go with laser or IPL.
AWARD WINNING AESTHETIC TECHNOLOGIES
To summarise, IPL can give the same standard of results as laser-treatments as long as you follow your tailored treatment plan and keep on top of any top-up treatments.
To provide the safest and most clinically effective treatments at the Beauty Editor we use a state-of-the-art Laser and Intense Pulsed Light system (IPL) called the Lynton Lumina. The Lynton Lumina is a medical-grade and award-winning system, used by the NHS and private hospitals across the UK, and provides the very best in clinical results, speed of treatment, and client comfort.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
Undertaking laser and IPL hair removal initially involves a full medical consultation and a skin assessment using the Fitzpatrick skin typing scale (the standard measure of skin type used by dermatologists) to ascertain if you are suitable for treatment. We will answer any questions you might have to ensure that you make an informed decision before tailoring a treatment plan specifically for you. Once we have completed an assessment of the area to be treated, we will provide you with some protective eyewear and complete a patch test on your skin to see how your skin reacts to the laser. Providing your skin settles well you can return to the clinic after 7-days to have your first treatment. The treatment itself feels like a hot rubber band being snapping on your skin, in order to reduce any discomfort, we use our cryo cooling device during each treatment session.
The effects of laser and IPL hair removal are nothing short of life changing, so if you are feeling self-conscious about excess hair and it is having an effect on your confidence, why wait when there is a solution to your problem. Start your hair removal journey today and benefit from this amazing treatment.
If you have any further questions regarding laser hair removal, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our hair removal specialists are on hand to answer any of your questions, so why not book a free consultation with the Beauty Editor today.
Love Katie x