Sunday, 2 March 2014

All you want to know about Laser Hair Removal & IPL - Part 2

What can I expect when I go for a Laser Hair Removal or IPL treatment?

There should be an initial consultation where you will be asked to fill in some personal information as well as some medical details.

Pregnant women, people on Roaccutane or large doses of vitamin A are not suitable for treatment. The treatment is not recommended for Diabetics because they may have problems healing and it is not suitable for people with a tendency to keloid scarring. therapist will evaluate your answers to the medical questions and determine if you are suitable for laser treatment. For your own safety it is important that you answer truthful and disclose any medical conditions that may affect the treatment. If you are unsure ask the therapist or consult your doctor before having treatment.

The therapist will then answer any questions you may have and explain you how laser hair removal works.

It is a standard practice to do one or more test patches before commencing the laser or IPL treatment. The test patches will determine the energy levels to be used during treatment as well as making sure that you do not have any adverse reactions. If your skin is light coloured they may start treatment right away. For darker skin it is best to wait at least 3 days.

What happens on your first Laser hair removal treatment?
The therapist will provide you with protective eyewear and made you lay on a bed with the area to be treated exposed. Some clinics take before and after photos as a standard routine. This is great because it helps you keep track of the progress of the treatment.

With a highlighter she will mark guides in your skin. Then she will apply a cooling gel that helps guiding the light and keeping your skin cool. She will turn the laser machine on and will gently press the head to your skin. There will be a flash of light and you will feel a pin prick or something similar to the snap of a rubber band.

The light energy will be attracted to the colour in your hair, there it gets converted into heat energy and travels through the hair shaft to the follicle, destroying it. If they are using Elos technology, the radio frequency will follow the light a few milliseconds after and will also get converted into heat making the treatment more effective.

In modern equipments the light head has a cooling system which brings the temperature down to prevent damaging the skin.

After the head has flashed, the therapist will move it to the immediate area and repeat the procedure until all the area is covered. It is quite fast. Underarms hair removal takes only a couple of minutes for each arm. Full legs can take about 45 minutes.

After the treatment is finished the therapist will clean the gel from your skin and apply a soothing cream.

You need only 6 to 8 sessions to permanently reduce most of the hair.  Sessions are spaced between 4 to 8 weeks.
There is no downtime and you can return to your normal activities right away. It is best to avoid exercise that may cause heavy perspiration and swimming pools for 24 hours.

Your skin may be a bit red and feel tender in the treated area but it should subside after 1 or 2 days. Do not apply any products that may cause irritation. You can apply aloe vera or a recommended cream 2 or 3 times a day for a couple of days. If you have any other reaction give the clinic a call right away.

Possible side effects of laser hair removal are:

Hypo or hyper pigmentation, swelling, redness, blistering, scabbing.

People with dark skin are more at risk of a side effect. Also areas like the bikini line which are subject to friction from clothing may experience some irritation.

How do I prepare for my treatment?

  • Do not wax, pluck or use depilatory creams for at least 1 month before your treatment. Pulling the hair weakens the papilla and slows the growth of the hair and you need the hair strongly attached to the papilla and in its growing stage for the laser treatment to be effective. Shaving is OK.
  • Do not expose the area to be treated to the sun for 4 weeks before treatment. Use sunscreen SPF30+. If your skin is tanned there is risk of hypo or hyper pigmentation. The same applies to solariums and tanning beds.
  • Do not spray tan or use tanning lotions for at least 2 weeks before treatment.
  • Shave two days before your treatment appointment.
  • Stop prescription Retin-A 2 weeks before treatment.
  • Stop Roaccutane 6 month before treatment.

What happens after treatment?
You can return to work or your daily activities right away. There are only a few considerations:
  • Avoid hot saunas, hot water, swimming pools and activities likely to cause heavy sweating for 24 hours
  • Do not expose the treated area to the sun or solarium for at least 4 weeks after treatment. Use sunscreen SPF30+ whenever you need to go on the sun. If you are treating the face, also wear a hat.
  • If the treatment area feels tender or presents redness apply aloe vera gel until it clears.
  • Do not pick or scratch the area
  • Do not wax or pluck the hairs. You can shave in between treatments.
  • You can exfoliate the area after 3-4 days. The hairs will naturally start shedding after 7 days.

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