How does it work?
Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL) treatments for hair reduction, aim to destroy hair follicles by selectively heating each hair shaft to a temperature in excess of 70 Degree Celcius. Heat diffusing out of the hair shaft kills the surrounding follicle and bulb, so that no further hairs are grown from the damaged follicles. The energy required to heat the hair shaft, is deposited in the form of a brief pulse, of very intense red and near-infra-red light, selectively filtered, to target the high concentration of melanin in the hair, while avoiding other structures in the skin which may also be damaged, particularly blood vessels. Melanin in the skin also absorbs this light, so some precautions must be taken to ensure damage only occurs around the hair shaft, particularly if the skin is tanned or naturally pigmented.
Each hair follicle normally passes through a cycle of active growth followed by a resting phase, taking between four and eight weeks depending on the part of the body. IPL machines can only affect hair in the later stages of the active phase, because the shaft thickens and darkens as the hair matures and is shed during the resting phase. Only about 25% of the follicles in any area are in the appropriate stage for treatment at any time, and each follicle has slightly varying cycle times; so it is usually necessary to undergo at least five treatment cycles, sometimes as many as eight, in order to treat all of the active follicles. The active follicles in any area are a mixture of thick and fine hairs. Finer or lighter hairs generally require higher energy and more treatments and may not be affected by the treatment which removes the thicker hairs. For this reason the procedure is generally referred to as “permanent hair reduction”.
In order for the procedure to work at all there must be some pigmentation in the hair so the energy can be absorbed. For this reason it is more difficult to obtain good clearance in grey and white hairs, although satisfactory results can be obtained for red and naturally blonde hair in many cases if any pigment is present.
The hair is trimmed and a cooling gel applied to the area to be treated. In a fraction of a second pulsed red light heats up the hair. The hair becomes detached from its follicle and eventually falls out. The hair follicle is left unable to produce a new hair.
» What can I treat ?
The Ultra VPL system can treat all hair types from all over the body, provided there is pigment (colour) present. Fair hair can be effectively treated, however, the number of treatments may be greater. Grey hair cannot be effectively treated.
» Pre Post treatment
The following information is a guideline that will help ensure that the treatment is a success and that the chances of any unwanted side-effects are minimised.
- The area treated can be red and warm for a few hours after treatment. If this is uncomfortable you can cool the area with a cold flannel/towel or some other means of cooling. It is advisable to avoid ice as this may cause an “ice burn”.
- Soothing preparations/gels can be also be applied such as Aloe Vera witch-hazel or Tea Tree oil. These help soothe the area but also have antiseptic properties.
- If you can refrain from the use of make-up that day this will also give the chance for the skin to cool naturally.
- Leave the hairs in the follicles for at least 4 days after the treatment. This will help reduce any chances of an opportunistic infection in the damaged follicle. The hairs will drop out naturally over the following 5 -14 days.
- Try to use cleansing products that have been developed for sensitive skin for 2 days after treatment. Be gentle when drying or rubbing the area treated.
- Avoid tanning beds or sunbathing for at least 7 days after the treatment.
- If you are unsure about anything after the treatment please contact the clinic for further advice.