Hair forms in a pouch-like structure below the skin called a hair follicle. What we see as hair is actually the hair shaft, which is the keratinised, hardened tissue that grows from this follicle. Humans have more hair follicles per square inch of skin than most primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas. Because most of this hair is fine and pale (called vellus hair), it usually is not visible to the naked eye.
The thicker, fully pigmented hair most people consider “real hair” is called terminal hair. This hair is found on the scalp, eyebrows, legs, back, underarms and genital areas. Everyone’s hair grows differently, depending on age, weight, metabolism, hormones, ethnicity, medications and other factors. But all hair goes through three distinct growth stages.
1. Active growth phase (called the anagen phase), which lasts up to several years. At any given time the majority (80%) of our body hair is in this phase. During the anagen, the hair has an abundance of melanin (pigment).
2. Regressive phase (catagen phase), which lasts about two weeks, during which the hair stops growing but is not yet shed. About 3-4% of our body hair is in this phase at any time.
3. Resting phase (telogen phase), which lasts five to six weeks, at the end of which the hair falls out and a new hair begins to form. Approximately 10-13% of our body hair is in this phase at any one time.
The IPL/Laser is most effective in reducing hair that is in the active growth (anagen) phase. Because all hair in a treated area may not be in the anagen phase, repeated IPL/Laser treatments may be necessary to remove hair that subsequently enters the growth phase.
Multiple treatment sessions are required as only hair follicles in the growth phase (anagen) respond to treatment. About 15% of your follicles are resting (telophase) and will not be affected by the treatment. Commonly, Eight to Ten treatment sessions are required to provide long-lasting reduction in hair growth. Stubborn areas may require more treatment sessions. The interval between treatment sessions is usually 4 to 8 weeks, but will vary depending on the area of the body. The number and frequency of treatments required is also dependent on the density and location of hair, as well as skin type, hair colour and other factors. The IPL/Laser usually destroys between 60-90% of growing hairs at each treatment.
At your initial consultation your goals, skin type and hair quality will determine your suitability for IPL/Laser hair removal, and the optimum treatment programme for you to achieve the best results. A “test patch” will usually be performed.
Eye protection is worn by the patient and the operator. The operator slowly moves a hand-piece over the treatment area as pulses of light energy are delivered. Most people experience minimal discomfort, feeling a slight burning and tingling sensation. Cooling packs are applied immediately following treatment to minimise discomfort.
Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others and the skin may swell or redden slightly. Aloe Vera Gel will be supplied to soothe discomfort after treatment.
Aloe Vera Gel should be applied regularly in the first few days following treatment to soothe the area. Sun exposure or sun beds should be avoided for at least four weeks before and after treatment. A sun cream of at least SPF30 should be applied to exposed treated areas every day for at least four weeks after the treatment, regardless of the weather.
Redness and swelling may occur following the treatment but this is usually short-lived, lasting one to two days. Either increase or loss of pigmentation in the skin can occasionally occur. Scarring very rarely appears with IPL/Laser. Minor textural changes in the skin can occur in some patients, but this is rare.
For 24 hours after treatment you should avoid:
HOT baths & showers, make-up and deodorant, which may irritate the treated area.
It is also advised that the treated area should not be exposed to sunlight for 4 weeks after treatment. If this is unavoidable the The area should be covered or a total sunblock (SPF30) used.
Treatment is contra-indicated in patients with diabetes or epilepsy
Patients who are pregnant or breast feeding cannot be considered for treatment until they have stopped breast feeding for at least three months
Ideally, no waxing, plucking or electrolysis prior to a patch test or treatment. However, this will be assessed on an individual basis
No shaving for at least two days prior to a patch test or treatment
No hair removal creams for one week prior to a patch test or treatment
No waxing, hair removal creams, plucking or electrolysis in between treatments, only shaving and not for at least two days prior to treatments
There should be no eczema in the treatment area, and any dry skin in the treatment area will need to be well moisturised before a patch test or treatment
You should not have treatment or a patch test for four to six weeks before, and six weeks after sun exposure (either sunbathing or the use of a sunbed)
Self/fake tanning creams can be used for up to two weeks prior to treatment
Please bring to the consultation a list of any medications you are taking, and any skin care products you are using
There is a slight risk of burning, but this would be no worse than the redness similar to sunburn
Clients full medical history is required
How the treatment works
Possible side-effects and how they would be dealt with
Number of treatments required to reach particular goal
Cost of treatment
Length of time before a result will be visible
Other treatment options available
If the client decides to proceed, they should read and sign the Client Declaration Form to confirm that they understand all the implications of the treatment.