One of the most popular and effective cosmetic treatments available today, IPL / laser hair removal has gained wide acceptance as the gold standard for the permanent reduction of unwanted hair on the face, chest, back, extremities, and private areas. Utilizing cooling techniques and advanced technology, IPL / laser hair treatments are now available for all skin colors and skin types.
How it works:
Highly concentrated light energy is utilized to target hair follicles in the skin. The light is absorbed by the pigment in hair follicles, which results in destruction of the follicle and elimination of the hair.
Lasers, which utilize a single wavelength of light, and intense pulsed light (IPL), which utilizes multiple wavelengths, are both highly effective in achieving good results.
The Importance of Multiple Treatments:
Hair grows in cycles. At any point in time, some follicles are actively growing while others are not. It is the actively growing follicles (that are producing pigment) that are successfully treated by a single treatment. To effectively treat as many follicles as possible, treatment must be repeated multiple times. On average, approximately 4-6 treatments are needed to achieve permanent hair reduction. Treatments are typically performed one to two months apart, depending on the area being treated.
Results of Laser/IPL Hair Removal:
IPL / Laser Hair Removal can have dramatic results. After several treatments, in some areas you may never have to shave again. In other instances, touch-up treatments may be periodically needed. Results of IPL / laser hair reduction vary from person to person. The average individual will achieve 70-80% hair reduction after completion of 4-6 treatments. New hair growth may occur, although the new hairs may be finer or lighter in color.
With the development of technology, most skin types can now be safely treated by IPL / laser hair removal. The procedure is most effective in treating dark coarse hairs in fair skinned individuals. Red, blonde, grey, and white hairs typically do not respond well to these treatments.
Risks of Laser/IPL Hair Removal:
While IPL / laser hair removal is considered relatively safe, certain risks exist. Of these the most significant are pigment changes, where become darker or lighter areas may occur. While pigment changes usually do not occur, they are more likely to develop in darker skinned individuals. Pigment changes typically fade in 1-6 months, and are rarely permanent.
Other risks of laser hair removal include temporary swelling, crusting, or blistering of the skin. Permanent scarring is rare.
How to Prepare for Treatment:
To minimize the risk of pigment changes, it is important to avoid prolonged sun exposure and artificial tanning products for 4-6 weeks prior to treatment.
You should also avoid electrolysis, plucking and waxing the hair for 4 weeks prior to treatment, as these techniques temporarily remove the hair follicle that is targeted by the laser and limit the effectiveness of the treatment.
You will need to shave 1-3 days before the treatment, as it is the hair follicle below the skin surface that needs to be treated, not the visible hair above.
What to Expect During Treatment:
The technician will initially adjust the settings on the machine to accommodate the thickness, density and color of your hair, as well as your skin type.
You and the technician will be wearing appropriate eye protection, as the light energy which is utilized can otherwise be damaging to the eyes.
A cold gel will then be applied to the area to be treated. This helps the light to penetrate the skin, while protecting the skin from heat damage.
Next the technician will place a hand-held device against the skin. Short bursts of light will then be utilized to treat the hair, with re-positioning of the device after each burst. Even though you’re wearing eye protection, you will likely still see the flashes of bright light. You should expect the sensation of a rubber band snapping against your skin; some people feel this more than others do.
Treatments are variable in length, depending upon the size of the area being treated. Some treatments last just a few minutes, while others can last as long as an hour.
When the treatment is over you should apply SPF 30 or greater to the area of treatment for adequate protection from the sun. Ice packs, aloe gels, creams, and/or over the counter anti-inflammatory medications may also be recommended, depending upon your situation.
After IPL / laser hair removal, you can expect to have some temporary redness and swelling to the treated area. This should decrease after several hours. You will be able to return to normal activities immediately after the procedure.
It is advised that you avoid prolonged exposure to the sun for one month after the procedure, and that you wear protective sunscreen when outdoors.
You should expect to have some shedding of hairs at the treatment sites, which is typically seen during the first few weeks after treatment.
For More Information About IPL / Laser Hair Removal or to Schedule Treatment, contact Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center at (310) 986-6500 today.