10 True/False facts on Permanent Hair Removal
1. It hurts
True and False. With traditional Intense Pulsed Light devices, the perceived sensation is often described as a rather painful tingling, comparable to the sting of a rubber band on the skin. Depending on the skin type and the area being treated, redness may occur. The pain is proportional to the thickness of the hair, the more it is thick and black, the more painful it is.
With the new generation of Intense Pulsed Light devices, the treatment is completely painless (you can feel a slightly sense of heat which compared to the tradition devices is perfectly supportable can be felt in the more sensitive zones). With this so-called “dynamic” technology hair removal becomes a pleasure and on top of that, the risks are very limited.
2. It doesn't work on everyone
True. The Intense pulsed light hair removal is more effective since the contrast between skin and hair color is important. For best results, white skin and black hair is ideal. For dark skin, hair removal with the last generation devices is possible, but requires a few more sessions than for lighter skin. And hair removal is ineffective for people who have blond, white or red hair.
NB: The Intense Pulsed Light emits light (that is to say a wavelength) that is absorbed by the hair pigment and converted to heat. When heated, the hair destroys the cells of the bulb. So the light’s target is the hair’s melanin. This is a photothermal method (“photo” means light and “thermal” heat). All optical principles work in the same way: a wavelength is absorbed by a color.
3. It grows back
False. With permanent hair removal by Intense Pulsed Light, the bulb of the hair has been destroyed. But often “permanent hair removal” is confused with “complete hair removal.” Removed hairs do not grow back, but not all the hairs have been removed necessarily. Why? Because all hair does not grow at the same time. There are even hairs that grow once every 4 years … Another reason: very thin hair is difficult to remove. After several sessions, all the hairs that haven’t been able to catch the light remain.
NB: It is possible for hair removed by IPL to grow back in exceptional cases, such as menopause or hormonal changes.
4. You cannot be exposed to the sun before treatment
True, for a few days. With the new generation of Intense Pulsed Light, it is now possible to remove hair from tanned skin but one must still avoid active sun exposure on the treated area 4-5 days before and after the session. New technologies allow the treatment of tanned skin like dark skin without risk of burns or hyperpigmentation.
5. It burns the skin
False (if done right). But the possibility of burns is a hazard to consider before beginning hair removal. There are three possible causes of burns:
– The practitioner is not competent and has improperly configured the machine,
– The machine is defective,
– The client has not complied with the following rules: not taking vitamins that contain beta-carotene, not being exposed to the sun, not getting UV tans or applying self-tanner.
6. It gives you cancer
False. It’s an urban myth; there has never been any real medical controversy on the subject. In medicine, lasers or intense pulsed light are used for lots of things, it has become as common as a scalpel in surgery.
7. It works less well on the face
True. For several reasons. First, because the hair is finer and there is more fuzz on the face. Secondly, because the hair cycle is longer, less regular and the hieratic regrowth of hair requires more hair removal sessions. Finally, because in some cases although we do not know why, hair removal of the lip with pulsed light creates a paradoxical reaction: it promotes the growth of fuzz from afar. These paradoxical reactions are more common in Mediterranean type women.
NB: Hair removal from the eyebrows is not possible, due to the fact that one must always wear protective eyewear (even when you get your calves depilated!). Hair removal under the eyebrows would require removing the glasses; Depilation of the area above the eyebrow on the bone however is possible.
8. You shouldn’t pluck hair before an Intense Pulsed Light session
True. To destroy the hair bulb, pulsed light targets the hair’s melanin. If said hair has already been plucked with wax or an epilator, the light will have nothing to target. Before a session however, the areas to be treated are shaven. Thus cutting the hair shaft but leaving its root. The Intense Pulsed Light therefore is not distracted by the hair on the outside and its light is directly drawn to the root’s melanin which is inside the hair follicle.
9. You can do it yourself at home
True. There are devices that let you depilate yourself from home. These are not lasers, but Intense Pulsed Light apparatuses. Hair removal with IPL medical grade technologies is very effective, but the home devices are restrained: it does not possess the same energy in joules, and are Intense Pulsed Light of small intensity. The results therefore will never be as effective as with a professional practitioner. The dissatisfaction rate is greater: often these appliances refine the hair bulb without burning it completely. And in this state, the hair becomes very difficult to remove.
10. Intense Pulsed light hair removal prevents ingrown hairs
True. The radical solution to overcome ingrown hairs is permanent hair removal. After three sessions, although the other hairs will not yet be completely sorted out, subcutaneous hairs will have, themselves, disappeared.
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