Permanent hair reduction using lasers and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) has become increasing popular recently. Laser and IPL machines were first used to remove unwanted hair commercially in the 1990s. Techniques and the effectiveness of the machines has improved enormously since.
Both techniques are extremely effective at permanently reducing unwanted hair growth, but can demand a significant investment in both your time and money. The return on that investment can however be extremely worthwhile especially when you consider the average British woman spends £8000 during the course of their lifetime on hair removal products and treatments. It is essential however that you invest your money wisely to ensure you get good results. So, here are the ten most important things you need to consider before embarking on Laser/IPL hair removal.
1. Always consider the cost of your results not the cost of your treatments
This is the biggest mistake most people make. Often people are taken in by fabulously cheap offers for hair removal treatments. What most people don’t realise is that it’s the results they’re really interested in, not the treatments. Think about. Let’s say you buy 100 treatments for a £1000. That sounds like fantastic value doesn’t it, at just £10 a treatment? However if you don’t achieve any reduction in your hair growth you’ve completely wasted £1000. Always focus on the results you want to achieve and always ask whether your clinic will guarantee your results like Brigstock Skin and Laser does. Check out our guarantee here.
It’s actually extremely easy for clinics to offer cheap treatments. They do this by reducing the amount of time they spend treating areas and can also reduce the cost of their consumables by reducing the power in the pulses of light their machines deliver. Another cost saving exercise is to simply reduce the number of light or laser shots they administer to the area of skin being treated.
So remember, if you’re looking to permanently reduce your unwanted hair go to a reputable clinic that will guarantee your results and satisfaction.
2. Choose a CQC registered clinic
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the ombudsman that regulates all healthcare services. By choosing a clinic that is registered with the CQC you are choosing a clinic whose systems, training, governance and standards are regularly scrutinized by an independent inspector. If a clinic has demonstrated that it has met all national standards you can be assured that you are taking all reasonable steps to assure your safety during treatments.
This is important. Lasers, if operated inappropriately, can cause considerable harm to a patients’ eyes and skin. As well as your safety being assured, you’re also probably assured of a good quality of service, because clinics with CQC registration are more likely to be run by a well-run organisation. Simply achieving CQC registration demonstrates a level on administrative competence that your average beauty salon is not able to attain.
3. Know the level of training and experience of your technician
Operating Laser and IPL machines requires a lot of skill and experience to assure good results. A poorly trained technician or even one not fully concentrating when operating the equipment can result in disappointing results. Always, therefore, request sight of the operator’s certificates -specifically the ones relating to the machines they will be operating on you. As well as these certificates, it’s important that the training doesn’t stop there. Regular training updates and evidence of continuing professional development are key to ensuring your technician will deliver the results you are looking for.
4. Choose a skilled technician
All the training in the world will not guarantee you good results if your operator simply isn’t very highly skilled. Operating the equipment appropriately and setting the correct energy levels for your skin, hair colour, density and thickness can usually be learnt, but knowing how to make you feel comfortable throughout the procedure and ensure enough energy is delivered requires a skill that not everybody can learn. Most clinics of repute will always have testimonials from satisfied clients. Many publish them on their websites for you to read at your convenience. Check these out before you choose a clinic and if a technician’s name keeps being mentioned that’s probably the technician you want to choose.
5. “Laser is better than IPL”
You might hear that laser treatments are better than IPL treatments and surely lasers are better than normal light… aren’t they? Well no, not necessarily. Laser is in fact simply a stimulated emission of light that has been amplified. In the case of hair removal, the light from both laser and IPL is used to destroy your hair follicles by heating up the melanin in them. Melanin is responsible for the pigmentation in your hair and skin. In much the same way that a leather car seat will heat up if left in direct sunlight on a summer’s day, your hair follicles will heat up if strong pulses of light are directed towards them. It really doesn’t matter if this heat is generated through lasers or intense pulse light.
Modern laser and IPL machines are much more effective than the first ones to appear on the market in the nineties. Modern machines are much more comfortable that the original ones that were, to be frank, actually quite painful. Modern cooling headpieces and the modulation of the light pulses has resulted in laser and IPL machines that direct the light and heat to the follicles and not the surrounding tissue. Some modern machines like the Soprano laser machines are designed specifically to be as comfortable as possible. The downside of this type of machine is that the treatments take much longer than many IPL treatments. As you can see it isn’t the case that lasers are necessarily better than IPL machines. It’s just that they are different and fulfil different requirements.
6. Never pluck, wax or thread before treatments
You must never pluck, wax or thread for at least six weeks before your treatment begins. This is essential if you are to achieve any meaningful results. This is because the laser or IPL needs to react with hair still located in the hair follicles in, what is known as, their growth stage. If they are removed prior to your treatment the light will not have anything to heat up and will therefore not destroy your hair follicles.
Shaving is permitted and, in fact, is actually necessary prior to your treatment. Many patients can struggle with this, particularly when receiving treatment to their face. The thing to consider is that this will only be for a couple of short weeks. After your first treatment, much of the hair will be permanently removed, never to return.
7. Never begin any treatment without first having a patch test and ensuring your full medical history taken
Although modern lasers and IPLs are extremely safe, a patch test and full medical history is an essential pre-requisite of any laser and IPL treatment. The patch test is used to determine the safe and effective settings that can be used on your skin and hair type. It’s recommend you wait at least twenty-four hours after your patch test to ensure you do not experience and adverse reaction before undergoing your first laser hair removal treatment.
A thorough exploration of your medical history is also good practice. There are a number of medical conditions that can mean that treatment cannot be carried out. These are called contraindications. These include things like chronic herpes, hypertrophic scarring or psoriasis to name a just a few. There are also a couple of medications that are also contraindications. This is another reason to only approach reputable medical clinics instead of beauty salons that offer similar treatments.
8. No hair will return after my course of treatment has finished
Both laser and IPL treatments only target hairs that are in their growth stage. This is why you will always require a series of treatments over a course of several months if you are to achieve the best results possible. Typically most people require at least six treatments to catch the hair in the right stage of the hair growth cycle. Even when a course of treatment ends some fine hairs will normally remain but you can expect 80-90% of your hair to permanently die off and never return.
9. Avoid sunbathing
Some modern lasers are designed to work on even the darkest skin, but increasing the amount of pigmentation in your skin through sunbathing immediately before undergoing any treatment will limit the treatment’s effectiveness. What’s more, it will make it more difficult for your technician to achieve the best results for you. Put simply, laser and IPL hair removal is much more effective when performed on skin that isn’t freshly tanned and hair that hasn’t been lighted by the sun.
This doesn’t mean that you have to cover up completely. As long as you use a good quality sun cream with a reasonably high SPF you will be fine. Many patients can also experience some sensitivity following treatments. Excessive sun exposure at this point can increase your risk of sun damage, and so is best to avoid if possible.
10. Always follow the treatment plan your technician prescribes for you
No two people have the same skin and hair. This means all treatment plans have to be customised for the individual undergoing the treatment. The best hair removal results can only be achieved with a well thought out and properly executed treatment plan. This will require several treatments delivered at precise intervals to coincide with your natural hair growth cycle. This is why it is necessary to always adhere to your treatment plan and turn up for your appointments as close as possible to your allotted time in keeping with your hair growth cycle.
These are you top ten tips to consider whenever you’re considering laser or IPL hair removal treatments, but here’s a bonus tip for you: if you want to ensure you get fantastic results in a reputable CQC registered medical facility Brigstock Skin and Laser Centre is the place for you. At the centre your results and satisfaction are completely guaranteed, otherwise we treat you for free. You can check out our numerous testimonials from satisfied clients here.
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