Shaving, waxing, hair removal creams (aka depilatory creams), electrolysis, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and laser are all used to get rid of unwanted hair.
Those who shave, wax, use creams or electrolysis to keep up with hair removal maintenance are all too familiar with the need to keep repeating these techniques as the hair grows back – a time consuming process that is also rather expensive over-time.
Permanent Hair Reduction / Removal
To remove the hassle of repeated maintenance, it is becoming more and more popular for people to opt for permanent hair reduction treatments – the best of which are IPL and laser. When talking about these treatments it can be a little misleading to use the term ‘permanent hair removal’ as this implies that hair can never grow back. It is impossible to give the guarantee that a hair removal technique (at this time) is permanent. Permanent hair reduction is achievable however, and the process is so advanced that the hair reduction is so significant that any further maintenance or upkeep is substantially reduced.
Old fashion hair removal wax
IPL is best, but all IPL Treatments are not equal
IPL is currently viewed as the best technique for the removal of unwanted hair, and in certain circumstances, can result in permanent hair reduction. However, a word of caution is essential: there are MANY different types of IPL systems and machines available today, and they are not all created equal!
They all claim to offer ‘Intense Pulsed Light’ technology, but some take the ‘intense’ part of this term loosely, and so are not particularly effective. Professional IPL systems and machines are highly powerful and require professional training to use safely and effectively, but it also possible to purchase ‘home IPL devices’ in a large range of retail outlets, and the effectiveness of these machines is rather questionable – many using ‘intense pulsed light’ without the required physical light characteristics that actually makes IPL treatment effective.
Characteristics of a safe & effective IPL treatment
What characterises an effective light based therapy for the permanent reduction of unwanted hair is the following:
Focused on the follicle with no surrounding damage: The light used must be of a particular characteristic (wavelength and power), that will be absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle (root of the hair) without damaging the surrounding structures such as nerve endings, small blood vessels and oil and sweat glands.
No wasted light: A good IPL platform that is capable of delivering a light filtering system that can effectively ‘narrow down’ the wavelength of the light beam and remove the other light wavelengths that are not effective in being absorbed by and therefore target the hair follicles. Most IPL based systems do not have these filtering systems and although may have the required power output, have a number of wavelengths that are of no use and therefore not effective in being absorbed by the hair follicle (i.e. ‘wasted light’).
Effective on all skin & hair types: An effective IPL treatment must be capable of treating all skin types and all hair types. The less effective IPL systems are not powerful enough and the light wavelengths are not narrow enough to be useful in permanent hair reduction. It is important to note here, however, that grey hair cannot be treated by any system as grey hair has no pigment to absorb the light and therefore, no light based system is effective for people with grey hair).
Power + Focused Wavelength for minimum sessions: The IPL system and professional you go with must use the correct power together with the correct and narrow wavelength to get you the most effective hair reduction result per treatment session in order to achieve permanent hair reduction in the minimum number of treatments.
Why we use the Alma Laser Harmony XL IPL Platform
Dr Goldman uses the Alma Laser Harmony XL platform for IPL Hair Removal (with the SHR Pro hand-piece) that fulfils all the above criteria. The light pulse from the Harmony XL is filtered to a very specific and narrow wavelength (light beam) by a complex system trademarked by Alma Lasers. As this is an actual laser platform, the filtering system removes the ineffective wavelengths from the light beam generated by the machine and only allows through the particular light that is most effective in hair follicle destruction. In addition, as this is an actual powerful laser system, it is capable of generating the required power output for the most effective hair reduction system in Dr Goldman’s opinion.
As this particular form of permanent hair reduction is delivered by a laser and not an IPL machine, this is called Advanced Fluorescence Therapy (AFT).
It is not the same as any ordinary IPL treatment; it is far more effective in permanently reducing unwanted hair.
There are a number of other very special and trademarked features that enable the Alma Lasers Harmony XL Laser to achieve the very high degree of success in permanent hair reduction, including:
- The ‘In MotionTM’ technology that allows the therapist to use the machine in a continuous ‘in motionTM’ technique. This is in contrast to all the other IPL systems that use a ‘point and shoot’ technique. The result is that the treatment time using Alma Lasers system is much shorter so each treatment is quicker and thus far more comfortable
- An in-built cooling system that also makes the treatments more comfortable
- Far fewer treatment sessions required to achieve the desirable outcome of permanent hair reduction
- Due to the above 3 points, the overall cost is usually lower than a number of other IPL hair reduction systems.