In the mid 1990’s lasers and Intense Pulse Light (IPL) machines became commercially available, and rapidly became accepted as the treatment of choice to decrease or permanently remove hair. These machines were approved by the FDA in 1997.
Lasers and IPL’s obtain the maximum effect by using a specific wavelength of light and a specific pulse duration to target the color that is in the hair follicle growth center. Longer pulse duration and repetition gives a more effective heating in the area, which kills the growing follicle. Light is absorbed by the dark material that naturally occurs in the skin, so the darker the hair the better the results. Accordingly, the best results are found in light skinned persons with dark hair.
IPL treatments are not the same as laser treatments; lasers have one nanometer wavelength of light, whereas an IPL has a spectrum of different wavelengths. Both laser and IPL treatments are known as laser hair removal.
A treatment regimen requires at least three and up to eight treatments. The hair grows in three phases: (1) Anagen, the growing phase, (2) Telogen, the falling out phase, and (3) Catagen, the resting phase. The only phase that is affected by the laser or the IPL is the growing or Anagen phase of hair growth. Therefore, multiple treatments are necessary to treat all the hairs during their growth phase. Treatments should be spaced four to six weeks apart in order to allow the skin to rest. In addition, you must avoid sun exposure immediately before and after treatment. Therefore, fall and winter months are the ideal times of year for IPL services.
At the time of treatment, topical anesthetic is applied about thirty minutes prior to the procedure. Side effects after treatment are minimal, and may include mild itching, a little redness and some swelling which may last up to three days. More serious side effects, such as blistering and scarring, a flare of acne, bruising or secondary infection, are rare in occurrence. Some people are allergic to the gels or topical anesthetics used in the treatment. Darker skin has to be treated very carefully to avoid changes in the skin’s pigmentation. A consultation with an IPL specialist is required prior to treatment to determine whether or not the patient is a good candidate for hair removal.
Even in the best of circumstances there may be some regrowth, and a touch up treatment in a year or so may be desirable. Carolina Aesthetics uses IPL machines, and has been treating both light and dark skin successfully for many years.
For those with light colored hair, such as blonde, red and white, the FDA has approved electrolysis as the only “permanent hair removal” for these hair types. Electrolysis, which has been available for over 135 years, is also a hair removal treatment offered by our trained aestheticians at Carolina Aesthetics.
We offer a free consultation prior to beginning treatment to explain the procedure thoroughly, to determine your candidacy and to answer any questions you may have. The aestheticians at Carolina Aesthetics are overseen by the dermatologists at Carolina Dermatology of Greenville/UMG, and are certified IPL and electrolysis specialists. Call us for a free consultation to see which hair removal treatment is right for you.