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» A Comparison between Intense Pulsed Light and Laser Therapy by Geoffrey Mackellar
» Energist ULTRA™ VPL

Hair Removal FAQ's
1. How does it work?
 

The light output from the applicator is preferentially absorbed by the melanin in the hair. This then heats up the hair follicle and disables the hair germination cells so it cannot grow back.

2. What areas can be treated?
  This procedure works well on the face, neck, chest, arms, back, underarms, legs and bikini line.
3. What hairs cannot be treated?
 

Hairs that are not in the active growth stage cannot be treated. The growth stage cannot be determined at the time of treatment, which is why several treatments over a period of time are required. Blonde and grey hairs are more difficult to remove and will take longer to treat.

4. Is there anything I need to do prior to, or after, treatment?
 

It is advisable to stay out of the sun, and away from tanning beds, for at least 6 weeks prior to any treatment to ensure that your skin is as close as possible to its natural colour. You must ensure that all cosmetics are removed from the treatment area with a good cleanser and then allow the skin to settle. As the skin may be slightly more sensitive post-treatment it is recommended to use skin products developed for sensitive skin and again avoid the sun or tanning beds.

5. Are there any side-effects?
 

Due to the special parameters there are little or no side-effects. The treatment has been likened to being flicked by a hair brush, but the skin may go slightly red for a few hours. If the area is over treated then there may be a chance of some slight crusting and blisters, however, this will resolve in 5 to 7 days.

6. How many treatments does it require?
 

In most cases you will see a result after 3 treatments but there is a significant improvement if the treatment is repeated at regular intervals. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can undergo. After treatment it will appear that the hairs continue to grow. What is actually happening is that the hair is still gripped by the skin and is slowly being expelled from the follicle.

7. When will I see results?
 

As the process is designed to reduce the density of the hair growth you will start to see results after your second treatment. Because you see yourself everyday it is difficult for you to see gradual improvements taking place. Thus, it is very important that good close-up photos are taken before the treatment and then upon review at three months, this will then show the improvement.

8. How often do you need treating?
 

After the initial treatment it is advisable to have a second treatment four weeks later. The hair can only be removed when it is in its active growing stage, therefore a series of treatments is required to catch the hairs in this cycle.

9. How many treatments can I have?
  There is no maximum number of treatments that may be undertaken.
10. How long do the effects last for?
 

It is important to understand that there are numerous hair follicles in every square centimetre of skin on the body, for example, the chin has approximately 455 follicles per cm2 and the thigh about 55 follicles per cm2. As you can see, where we might have disabled a hair follicle there are adjacent ones that might not have been treated in the correct phase of hair growth and may grow through at any time. Additionally, due to alterations within the body new hair growth may also be stimulated.

11. Who can be treated?
 

Virtually anybody can be treated with this system. However, any underlying medical conditions may exclude you from treatment or the results may be negligible. It is very important that you state clearly any medical conditions that you have or any medical treatments you are undertaking.

12. What photo skin types can be treated?
 

Fitzpatrick Skin types I-V are safely treated with no reports of any adverse affects on type VI skin. However, it is NOT recommended to treat Type VI skin.

13. Can this system be used with any other therapies?
 

Yes, the Energist ULTRA™ System works very well when used in conjunction with other treatment modalities. This will ensure that the correct treatment is available to ensure a successful outcome.

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Photo-rejuvenation FAQ's
1. How does it work?
 

A light signal is sent to the body’s collagen production system, this then enhances the rate at which the collagen is produced. Additionally, irregular pigmentation absorbs the light and some of the melanin producing cells are disabled thus evening out skin colour. Finally, fine vessels that have become apparent at the skin surface can absorb the light and be removed.

2. What areas can be treated?
 

This procedure works well over the face, neck, chest, legs, arms and back of the hand. The Energist ULTRA™ System can also improve the appearance of thread veins, scars and pink stretch marks. We have also observed beneficial effects on active acne using VPL™.

3. Are there any side-effects?
 

Due to the special parameters used there are little or no side-effects. The treatment has been likened to being flicked by a small elastic band, but the skin may go slightly red for a few hours. If the area is over treated then there may be a chance of some slight blisters or crusting, however, this will resolve in 5 to 7 days.

4. Is there anything I need to do prior to, or after, treatment?
 

It is advisable to stay out of the sun, and away from tanning beds, for at least 6 weeks prior to any treatment to ensure that your skin is as close as possible to its natural colour. You must ensure that all cosmetics are removed from the treatment area with a good cleanser and then allow the skin to settle. As the skin may be slightly more sensitive post-treatment it is recommended to use skin products developed for sensitive skin and again avoid the sun or tanning beds.

5. How many treatments does it require?
 

In most cases you will see a result after 3 treatments but there is a significant improvement if the treatment is repeated routinely at regular intervals. There is no limit to the amount of treatments you can undergo.

6. How do I know if it has worked?
 

Your fully trained operator will be looking for specific reactions when undergoing a treatment. However, due to many interrelated physiological factors every individual reacts differently. The initial treatment will gauge what energy densities can be used to ensure an effective treatment. A review date will be set to assess the effectiveness of the treatments and then to make any amendments as required to the treatment protocol.

7. When will I see results?
 

As the improvement is gradual you will not see the result for about three months. Because you see yourself everyday it is difficult for you to recognise gradual improvements taking place. Thus, it is very important that good close-up photos are taken before the treatment and then upon review at three months, this will then show the improvement. Collagen can take up-to 9 months to fully mature so gradual improvements will continue over this time.

8. How often do you need treating?
 

After the initial treatment it is advisable to have a second treatment two to four weeks later. Depending upon age, severity of the condition being treated or amount of exposure to the sun, it may be advisable to have a course of treatments over a period of a year.

9. How many treatments can I have?
  There is no maximum amount of treatments that can be undertaken; this can be seen as an ongoing skin care programme.
10. How long do the effects last for?
 

This depends on your lifestyle. However, improvements can continue over several months. The post treatment recommendations from a fully trained operator will provide you with a skin care regimen that will help maintain improvements.

11. For fine lines and wrinkles how much does the collagen increase by?
  We cannot measure the amount of collagen produced due to everybody having a differing base level. But there will be a substantial increase in the rate of collagen production.
12. Where is the collagen produced?
 

New collagen is produced in response to an injury or surgery. The Energist ULTRA™ System “tricks” the body into believing it has been injured and thus starts producing new collagen.

13. Who can be treated?
 

The ideal age range for this treatment would be anybody up to the age of 60 years old. If you have a suntan it is advisable to wait until you are back to your base colour before undergoing treatment.

14. What photo skin types can be treated?
 

Fitzpatrick Skin types I-V are safely treated with no reports of any adverse affects on type VI skin. However, it is NOT recommended to treat Type VI skin.

15. Can this system be used with any other therapies?
 

Yes, the pulsed light works very well when used in conjunction with other treatment modalities. Such treatments include Microdermabrasion, Collagen or Botox injections, galvanic and soft peels.

16. How does it compare to CO2 and collagen enhancement lasers?
 

CO2 lasers are designed to burn off the top layer of skin, and thus stimulate new collagen production in response to this severe injury. Collagen enhancement lasers are specifically designed to target the small vessels to stimulate new collagen production. The Energist ULTRA™ system is able to treat all the signs of ageing or sun damage effectively during the same treatment.

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A Comparison between Intense Pulsed Light and Laser Therapy by Geoffrey Mackellar BSc(Hons) PhD (Laser Physics)

There has been much recent discussion and a degree of confusion surrounding the use of pulsed light and laser therapies for cosmetic skin treatments and hair removal therapy. Much of the confusion surrounds the safety and efficacy of the two methods, and a failure to distinguish between the methods on the part of many practitioners.

Similarities:

Lasers and pulsed light systems both achieve therapeutic results through the selective absorption of light energy in specific anatomical targets, resulting in localised tissue heating and either necrosis of specific tissue or an inflammatory response which achieves the therapeutic end. In the case of hair removal, the target is melanin resident in the hair shaft, which heats the hair and surrounding germ cells in the follicle to a level which causes necrosis, resulting in the long-term or permanent destruction of the capacity to generate new hairs from the follicle. A collateral effect of the application of light is the absorption of light energy by melanin in the epidermis, possibly resulting in undesirable epidermal damage including discomfort and possible blistering. This effect is generally more prevalent in Laser therapies due to the smaller spot size, higher intensity, shorter pulse duration and narrower therapeutic window resulting from the monochromatic and coherent nature of laser radiation.

Differences:

Laser radiation typically consists of a narrow spectral band of energy (the light is all of one precise colour, or “monochromatic”) and also possesses a property known as “coherence”, where all photons in the laser beam oscillate in a precise phase relationship, that is, all of the waves are synchronised and the energy propagates over vast distances without destructive interference. These two properties mean that an intense laser beam can to be focussed to an extremely small spot on the retina or skin, causing permanent damage, and this risk is maintained over extended distances, in many cases hundreds or thousands of metres. In a clinical setting, the monochromaticity implies that only specific chromophores are addressed and that all of the delivered energy is absorbed in the same way by the chromophore. The high “spectral intensity” often results in instantaneous optical bleaching which can affect the apparent depth of penetration of the treatment, while the ability to be focussed to extremely small spots means that there is an attendant risk of ablative damage with any laser treatment, which imposes a higher training requirement on the practitioner.

Intense Pulsed Light radiation is generated by selective filtration of the output of a white light source, and is inherently “broadband” in its spectrum (consists of a wide, contiguous range of colours), and is incoherent. The intensity of pulsed light systems is substantially less than lasers in most cases, and a broader range of chromophores is addressed by a particular device. There is no possibility of spectral bleaching, and the intensity a few tens of centimetres from the output aperture of a pulsed light system is not sufficient to cause permanent eye damage. Light is emitted over a wide area and decays in intensity with the inverse square of the distance from the applicator. Pulsed Light devices do not pose a significant collateral risk.

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Energist ULTRA™ VPL
1. What Makes the Energist ULTRA™ VPL Different
 

The Energist ULTRA™ System is the most advanced hair removal & skin rejuvenation product available.  Utilising state-of-the-art Variable Pulsed Light (VPL™) technology, the ULTRA™ System can be set-up to ensure the optimal parameters to provide a safe, fast and effective treatment for every individual.

2. What makes this System special?
 

Traditionally, most cosmetic procedures have been associated with lasers. As technology has progressed, research has shown that Intense Pulsed Light units, and in particular Variable Pulsed Light (VPL™) Systems, are regularly producing better results than the laser systems originally available. Pulsed Light units are non-laser, emitting light across a broad range of wavelengths that are preferentially absorbed by the appropriate structure in the skin.

 

The ULTRA™ System is designed such that each light pulse comprises a number of rapid shorter pulses. These ‘variable pulses’ ensure more controlled absorption by the appropriate structures whilst minimising heating of the surrounding skin. This means that a greater range of hair and skin types can be safely and effectively treated than was previously possible.

3. Treatment Process
 

After a full consultation with a trained therapist, a comprehensive treatment programme can be developed to match your needs and requirements. Depending upon which treatments are to be undertaken the basic procedure will stay the same:

the area to be treated will be prepared and the applicator head will be stepped across to ensure complete coverage. Due to the large applicator head treatments can be performed quickly, which we know is important with today’s hectic lifestyle.

4. History of Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) machines
 

Early IPL machines used nearly unfiltered light, which removed the hair but also deposited significant energy into the skin. This led to complications including stimulation or suppression of normal skin pigmentation, and occasionally surface burns and possible scarring. Treatment was usually rated as very uncomfortable to mildly painful, and often required local anaesthesia.

Second-generation machines used better filters to remove many of the harmful wavelengths (colours) of the light and some machines added uncomfortable skin pre-cooling systems which alleviated some of the side effects and gave substantially better results. Treatment was rated as mildly to moderately uncomfortable, although skin cooling systems alleviated the stronger sensations at the expense of uncomfortable skin cooling.

Third generation machines such as the Energist Ultra VPL™ provide more rigorous filtering of the light and also deliver their energy in a carefully controlled sequence of micropulses which allow much better selective temperature rise of the hair shaft. In these machines the flashlamp is surrounded by water cooling, which prevents the head from becoming uncomfortably hot during lengthy treatments and also removes significant bands of light in the infra-red which serve only to heat the superficial cell layers or to penetrate deep into other tissues such as bone and muscle. The micropulsed sequence (VPL™ = Variable Pulsed Light) provides energy as a rapid sequence of short doses separated by a brief cooling period which allows the skin layer to cool but is too short for the hair shaft to lose significant heat, so the hair shaft rises to a much higher temperature than the skin layer. This removes the need for supplementary skin cooling, provides significantly greater comfort levels in treatment and greatly reduces the possibility of adverse side effects, even in heavily pigmented skin. There are more than 900 Energist VPL™ machines worldwide, with over 500 installed in Japan due to the significant advantage offered by micropulsing in Asian skin. Good results can be obtained with care even for Indian and lighter African skin types.

The Energist Ultra VPL™ was recently approved by the FDA (the medical regulating body for the demanding US market) for permanent hair reduction.

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