What is IPL?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, which means that the light that the eye will see as a flash comes in pulses. The skin will have time to be cooled in between each little pulse, which makes the light more gentle on the skin than laser. Laser has a fixed wavelength and IPL is working with a broad spectrum of wavelengths. Using a filter that filters out the wavelengths you do not want, and you will have a light that can be either red – hair removal, yellow – skin improvement or blue – acne. The light is absorbed by a chromophore, a target such as melanin when it comes to red light and hair removal. When the light is absorbed by the target (e.g. hair roots) is the energy converted to heat that will destroy the targeted cells and you will have a selective destruction of the target organ.
What happens during treatment?
For you to get more detailed information before the treatment usually a consultation meeting is booked at you salon or clinic. The therapist then goes through a number of questions and goes through the treatment step by step. Sometimes a patch test is done on a small area in order to be able to feel how it feels, to see how effectively the treatment works on your hairs and skin type.
You will lie comfortably on a treatment bed. Your eyes will be covered eye protection glasses or special pads, to ensure that the light does not irritate your eyes.
The treatment area is shaved, disinfected and inspected. A thick layer of cold Cool & Protect Gel is applied over the area that is to be treated to cool the skin. The gel also works as a contact between the treatment sapphire and the skin, and leads the light towards the skin. It is important to have a good dialogue with the therapist and let her/him know if anything feels uncomfortable. The treatment is then carried out by trained personnel.
The harmless, long-wave red light is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in hair and hair follicles and is converted into heat. At 70°C there will be a destruction of the proteins in the hair cells and hair follicles that are in the active phase of their growth cycle. When the structure of the follicle is destroyed, no new hair can grow in the same follicle again.
What should you consider before, between and after treatments?
At a consultation the hairs to be treated should be visible so they can be assessed. The colour of the hair, thickness, type and growth density needs to be assessed. Before the treatment the hairs in the treatment area are shaved. Small areas are often shaved in the clinic, while larger areas preferably are shaved at home to save time and facilitate the treatment. Shave at home at the earliest the day before the treatment. Follow the recommendations of your clinic.
We recommend using home care products to ensure the moisture level in the skin before and after the treatment.
Aloe Vera helps the skin retain its natural moisture and makes it feel pleasant throughout the day. Thanks to its unique formula the moisture balance is regulated both from the in and outside of the skin, when it reactivates the skins natural moisture control. The gel also prevents the formation of lines and wrinkles by increasing the suppleness of the skin. The special composition of the gel is based on different plant extracts, specially selected for their quality and efficiency.
We recommend the client to use the Aloe Vera as a moisturizer for a week before treatment with Powerlite IPL. The gel can be used day and night, both face and body, whenever the skin needs extra moisture.
Aloe Vera is also used after treatment with Powerlite IPL. It is an excellent moisturiser that restores the skin´s natural moisture balance. This unique product caresses the skin in a silky protective coating.
We recommend the client to use Aloe Vera a week after hair removal treatment with Powerlite IPL. The product can be used day and night on both face and body. Let your skin rest from the sun or tanning bed one day before treatment and one day after treatment and always use high sun protection factor. The treated area may have become more sensitive to light. It is also important not to use self-tanning products for two weeks before the treatment and not using carotene supplements. You can use make-up in the treated area after treatment.
Rule of hair removal; the skin in the treatment area should never be tanned. This is important so the light is absorbed by the hair only, and not by the surrounding skin.
Between treatments hair can be removed as usual with possibly shaving, waxing, cutting or tweezers. Avoid waxing or plucking with tweezers if you want to do your treatments close together with minimal intervals. After waxing or tweezing the hairs need time to grow back before the treatment can be done, approximately 4-6 weeks. If there is no hair in the hair follicle, the dermal papilla will not be destroyed and the treatment is ineffective.
Why do you need to repeat the treatment several times?
The hair growth phases plays a big part when it comes to hair removal. The hairs constantly switches between three phases; anagen, catagen and telogen phase. Time for each phase is individual and varies from person to person.
The anagen phase is the hairs growing phase and it is only hairs in this phase that respond to treatment with IPL. In anagen phase the hair root is in contact with the dermal papilla that gives nourishment to the root, and it is this structure that we want to destroy.
The percentage of hairs in anagen phase varies a lot between different parts of the body. On average about 60% of the hairs you see is in anagen phase. At each treatment around 80-90% of the 60% growing hairs are normally destroyed. On average about 4-8 treatments are required on a client with optimal conditions, ie light skin and dark and thick hairs.
The hairs grows for a period of time and then goes in to rest for a few months before it falls out. The time for the hairs to grow and rest varies in different parts of the body, and it is also individual between each person. You never know which hairs are growing or resting when treating an area, but only the growing hairs will be treated. That is why you need to repeat the treatment several times on the same area.
How many treatments are needed?
It is necessary to repeat the treatment because only hairs in anagen growth phase is successfully treated. You get a gradual thinning of the hair growth. Number of treatments needed is individual and varies depending on the area that is to be treated and the colour and thickness of the hairs. On average about 4-8 treatments are required on a client with optimal conditions, that is light skin with dark and thick hairs. If one of these parameters are not optimal more treatments may be required. Of course it is up to the client to decide when you feel satisfied with the result.
At really excessive and thick hair growth, for example beard, may also require more treatments due to there may be many phases to go through before a thinning effect is noticeable. There is often a large build up of heat in the skin when the hairs are growing so close together and also are so thick, that the intensity of the treatment needs to be adjusted. Soft, thin and very fine hairs does not absorb much light energy, which means there will not be any good results from the treatments. Treatment of thin hairs are often dissuaded. Not enough heat energy will build up to destroy the dermal papilla.