Signed up for a six month deal that’s promised you soon will be hairfree for life? Not so fast. Permanent hair removal is a delicate science, and not all the technology advertised is made equal. Here’s what you need to know.
Sick of shadowy stubble the day after shaving but not quite masochistic enough for regular waxing?
You’re a prime candidate for permanent hair removal. But before you type your credit card details into an IPL daily deal, there’s vast and tricky science behind using light to effect long-term hairlessness. Let’s face it, you’re sending light strong enough to change the way your body works deep under your skin. And when you consider that light is actually heat, it seems absurd to hand your precious body over to the nearest wand-toting beautician. Such is the concern among clinicians. Dermal therapist James Vivian who has credentials in health sciences and is entrusted to treat the skin of some of the nation’s most visible bodies, warns that cut-price procedures may use inferior machines imported from China – often operated by people with little idea of the biological principles underpinning their zap-work. Not only do light species differ between laser and IPL, but the term ‘laser’ encompasses a spectrum with specific pros and cons, from ineffectiveness to burnt skin. (False economy, much?) We had the experts explain the key differences between the two, breaking down the pros and cons. What’s the best method of battling pesky patches and more importantly, are they safe?
What’s the main point of difference?
The key difference between the two treatments is that IPL uses a broad spectrum of high-intensity light, which is emitted at multiple wavelengths, whereas laser emits a single, focused and precise wavelength that’s optimised for maximum follicle absorption. Laser hair removal therefore results in greater levels of permanent hair reduction per treatment when compared to IPL. Crystal Patel, director at Clinica-Lase in Melbourne says, “As laser has a more precise wavelength than IPL, results are achieved with significantly fewer treatments overall.” However, due to the higher intensity of the light, any skin reactions during the treatment are more likely to be permanent with traditional laser than with IPL.