Today's society is less tolerant of body hair than it once was, not only for women, but also increasingly for men. In days gone by, hair was important for protection against the cold and the sun, but in modern times hair in the "right" place is a seen as a source of beauty, but in the "wrong" place as an annoying and unattractive impediment.
People with excessive hair growth often suffer tremendously. This excess hair may be hereditary or hormonal in origin, and occasionally the cause itself can be treated. For this reason, it is important to check that you do not have a treatable cause for your problem. Your doctor will be able to check this with an examination and if necessary, blood tests.
How does laser & IPL hair removal treatment work?
Laser and IPL hair removal treatments work by targeting the follicles or root of the growing hair. Depending on how much energy is absorbed by the follicle, this may have the following effects:
- Slowing hair growth down
- Producing a finer, fairer hair
- Destroying the root completely
- Combinations of the above
Which hairs do best?
Dark, coarse hairs respond best but we expect most hair to respond to some degree. White (grey) hair does not respond at all. Any area of the body can be treated, although some areas respond better than others.
No Laser or IPL system can claim to remove all hair permanently, but the LIGHTSHEER Laser and the doctors-only Ellipse+ IPL have certainly shown that they can reduce overall hair growth and density in most individuals.
How many treatments are necessary?
A course of treatments is always required, and this may very depending on many factors. At a minimum, 4 treatments are necessary. Most commonly, 6 to 8 are needed. In cases where strong hormonal influences are present (for example, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or in males), more than 10 is common. In addition, some desire hair growth to be completely absent, where some are happy to achieve thinner or lighter growth. In those with darker skin and lighter hair, more treatment is necessary as well.
Permanent hair removal?
A lot of hair removal clinics are promoting their IPL hair removal treatments as being 'permanent hair removal'. This is incorrect and misleading. No technology has been shown to completely and permanently remove hair. Laser and IPL hair removal can result in lasting hair reduction, but it is usually necessary to have occasional 'top-up' treatments to maintain good results.
Laser Skin Care have 18 years experience in laser hair removal
Unlike most other hair removal clinics, Laser Skin Care have many years experience in laser & IPL hair removal treatment. Laser Skin Care was the first clinic in Perth to perform laser hair removal, and ALL treatments are performed by our doctors.
We have great experience treating darker skin types - Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean skin types. It is these that are more prone to treatment failures and complications.
Is Laser better than IPL or the other way around?
The best way of answering this question is by saying that "what works best for one person isn't necessarily what works best for the next." It is a great advantage to have a choice of treatment options available.
Laser Skin Care has the LightSheer laser as well as a third generation IPL system.
A point worth being aware of is that IPL systems come in different "strengths". That means, they vary in how high the energies can be set to. Many of the IPLs in the non medical marketplace are not capable of reaching energies necessary to consistently penetrate to the deeper hair follicles. However, they are certainly capable of causing scars and burns in untrained hands. In addition, low powered IPL systems have a high failure rate, and a higher rate of paradoxical hair stimulation.
The doctors at Laser Skin Care are seeing more and more cases where poor or inadequate results are seen after a course of IPL treatment for hair removal. In this case it is a matter of 'buyer beware' as many clinics have poorly trained staff with inferior equipment.
If you are considering having laser hair removal, especially over a large area, we will sometimes suggest having a small area treated to determine whether this will work for you. Test treatments are more often performed in darker skin types. More than one test treatment may be required to ascertain response.
Are there any risks?
As with any laser treatment, there are potential complications, which can be summarised as follows:
- The treatment may not work. In some people, lasers will not work despite our best efforts.
- Skin discolouration. In prone individuals, the area of skin treated may darken or lighten. These appear to be temporary problems. This is more likely in darker skinned people.
- Scabs or crusting may occur. In most cases, this is temporary and has no long term effects.
- Scarring. This occurs if the skin reacts strongly to treatment, but this is very unusual.
- Paradoxical hair growth. A very small proportion of cases (~1%) can show more hair growth in the treated area, or adjacent to the treated area. This is more likely to occur in darker skin types with fine hair, and with low powered IPL treatments. This type of hair growth tends to produce longer, finer hair with a reduced hair density. Paradoxical hair growth itself can be treated with further laser treatment with a good outcome.