PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL Electrolysis, Laser or IPL?
“Kill me but make me beautiful” are the words used by Iranian women when they are ready to undergo a treatment for permanent hair removal of unwanted facial hair.
In a study involving 70 women, a team of Iranian researchers found that women’s scores on standard quality of life assessment, more than doubled, after they received laser treatment for their unwanted body hair. The fact is that there is no 100% guaranteed permanent hair removal.
Electrolysis – is an old procedure to remove unwanted hair, discovered by an ophthalmologist, Dr. Charles Michael in 1875, as a way to remove an ingrown eyelash from a patient. In time, his procedure has been improved and modified, today; being a FDA approved procedure for permanent hair removal.
Electrolysis works follicle by follicle, utilizing a small needle with electrical current to permanently remove the hair. The procedure is considered for small areas such as : upper lip, chin, eyebrows and for fine, light-colored and grey hair.
The disadvantage of this procedure is that is quite painful and can cause skin discoloration in darker skin tones.
Laser Hair Removal Treatment – Laser has a monochromatic single wavelength. To achieve optimal results hair needs to be in the same stage of growth – Avagen. If the hair is in resting phase – Catagen or shredding phase – Telogen, will not be affected by laser light and in turn will not be permanent. The target for the laser light is Melanin, our natural pigment in the skin and hair, therefore the ideal candidates for hair removal procedure are with light skin and coarse, dark hair. The average number of session to achieve over 90% permanent hair reduction in 80-90% of good candidates is approximately 4-8 sessions with an interval of 6-10 weeks between. The number of sessions depends on various parameters like: skin color, hormonal imbalance, heredity, sex, area of the body to be treated.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) – is a polychromatic intense light source which emits a broad-band light (from 550-1200?m) instead of one single wavelength as laser have. This means that will target more, than one chromosome. In general, the IPL’s have wavelengths which target melanin, oxyhemoglobin and water.
For hair removal procedure the target is melanin in the hair shaft and follicle but people with darker skin have high concentration of melanin in the skin too and the light (IPL) will have trouble differentiating which melanin to target. Definitely, will not target only the melanin in the hair and therefore the patients with darker skin or freshly tanned are at risk of getting side-effects (superficial burns and hyper pigmentation). Moreover with IPL, even being applied the cooling gel the small vessels and water in the tissue will absorb some of the wavelengths, possible overheating the skin and developing side – effects. Typically IPL will work better for hair removal on lighter skin with darker hair and cautiously used with darker skin patients.
Nowadays are few FDA approved platforms of 2-3 lasers in the same device, with different wavelength suitable for each skin type, and hair type. These are the ideal devices because for the same patient, according with his characteristic we can use different laser wavelength for different areas of the body or for the stage of the treatment. After a number of sessions when the hair becomes lighter, thinner, we will change the laser for optimal results.
Anyhow, the success of the treatment with all these devices depends on which specific device is used, WHAT SETTING ARE USED AND THE EXPERIENCE OF THE USER!
Laser Treatment Clinic
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