Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments or clinical lasers may just be the cure you’ve been praying for if you’ve ever cut yourself while shaving, or screamed out in pain given the nature of waxing. Also, needless to mention, at some point in our lives we’ve all experienced unsightly (and sometimes, painful) pustules or pimples associated with ingrown hair that have become inflamed, resulting in irritation. One way to certainly avoid all this would to be have no hair growth happen at all. To this end, the question arises if you’ve ever considered laser or IPL hair removal treatments as a way to stop hair from growing completely in certain target areas where it maybe be desirable to do so, such as, armpits, forearms, legs, the bikini link, and yes— even your face!
Up until recently if laser hair removal was a route an individual would have considered, going to a cosmetic clinic or laser salon was likely the only real choice. Salons specializing often have technicians and commercial-grade equipment that, although effective, still requires multiple visits and the biggest complaint continues to be the very high cumulative cost of the whole treatment, with each visit easily costing hundreds of dollars at high-end reputable laser hair removal clinics. Also, higher powered machines not only mean more pain, and thus longer downtime between session, it also raises the spectre of misuse by inexperienced technicians, especially with those of darker skin tones since darker skin requires extra care and adjustment to avoid any adverse side effects given the high level of melanin in the area around the hair follicle. Luckily, specific lasers have been developed that, in the right hands, can work wonders for those wanting lasting results.
In contrast to going to clinics and salons for laser hair removal, and with the advancement of technology and the advent of devices such as EvenSkyn’s Pulsar and other at-home laser hair removal devices, an individual is able to do laser hair removal at their own convenience. The Pulsar by EvenSkyn, for example, essentially is a Professional-Grade At-Home Laser/IPL Hair Removal Handset that operates in its highest setting (Level 8) at roughly 80% of the laser power of certain widely-used commercial lasers and which leverages the cutting-edge and developing area of Intense Pulsed Light hair removal (that varies from laser in certain technical ways), and effectively bring the salon convenience and results to your home, while also being safe as it complies with all major regulators such as FDA, Health Canada, CE and other regulators (among them RoHS, CQC, PES, EMC, etc.). The biggest savings for individuals that opt for the at-home handset or home-use device route for laser or IPL hair removal instead of going to a cosmetic clinic or salon comes in the form of time and money savings since the IPL at-home device is typically bought outright and the user is able to do as many sessions at their own time and in their venue of choice, and all this typically for the price of one single minor session at a cosmetic clinic.
How IPL and Laser Hair Removal Works
Ever tanned and noticed the darker hue your skin acquired? Of course you have, and we’re sure you’re already aware, that’s our body’s way of defending against the UV rays from the sun through the production of excess melanin. However, interestingly, using this same concept, scientists have developed tools to target this otherwise helpful melanin that exists in our skin and hair, and specifically targeting on that which exists in the hair follicles to gradually damage the germ cells around the hair follicle that produced the hair in the first place.
What to look for in a laser/IPL handset to effectively stop the hair from growing back and avoiding shaving/waxing altogether for good? While there are a plethora and wide breadth of factors to consider, here are some of the top ones that you should look for when look for that ideal companion device on your hair-free journey:
- Skin Tone: First make sure you’re the right candidate! Laser and Intense pulsed light treatments work best in people who have dark hair and light skin. This is all to do with having melanin in the hair, but where the skin has less melanin than the hair. You need to consult a registered and certified physician such as one who specializes in dermatology to ensure you’re a prime candidate for laser or IPL hair removal treatments— be they at home using a device such as the EvenSkyn Pulsar, or at a cosmetic clinic This is because too much melanin in one’s skin can also make one a less-than-ideal candidate since the energy from the laser in very dark individuals can dissipate to the melanin in the skin as well and cause adverse effects such as discolouration, inflammation and redness, among other unwanted side effects that may require. As a general rule, when using an at-home laser or IPL hair removal device such as the EvenSkyn Pulsar, you are able to adjust the energy intensity level and the upcoming Pulsar X device comes built in with a smart skin analyzer sensor that can help adjust the intensity of the device automatically to be just right after detecting and determining the skin tone of the user.
- Intensity and Power of the Handset: Plain and simply the power of your at-home handset, or that in a professional grade machine used in a cosmetic clinic matters, and especially much more pertinent of a parameter to check in the former of the two. This is because while most professional-grade laser hair removal clinical machines typically apply at least 20 Joules of energy per centimeter to achieve the result of hair from growing back, some at-home solutions cap out at 7 Joules of energy per centimeter. The EvenSkyn Pulsar, the leading at-home laser hair removal handset by EvenSkyn, for example does push the limit as far as currently safely possible for at-home laser hair removal handsets (that cover at least more than an inch of skin per flash of the device) to almost 16 Joules per centimeter.
- Ergonomic Design: Professional clinics that do laser hair removal often have attachments that they can vary and affix to their commercial-grade machines that allow them to perfectly treat the area being treated and target almost all the hair that needs treating. However, short of having an ergonomic design such as that of the EvenSkyn Pulsar, many at-home IPL hair removal solutions, in addition to being weaker in power (which means more usage is required to see the same results as you would with a device such as the EvenSkyn Pulsar), they typically tend to be bulky, too wide or shaped in such a manner that do not make for ideal apparatuses for areas that require easier access, such as when doing the bikini line and privates.
- Coverage: As alluded to above, if you do consider laser hair removal at home, or do it at a clinic, appreciating that it’ll take a few sessions before you’re hair-free is important. This is due to the fact that not all hair are treated in the same session because they may all be in a different hair growth phase (and without going into too much detail, in short, hair are not treatable when in certain growth phases and are treatable in the ‘anagen’ phase when the hair is able to absorb the energy from the laser or IPL, thus damaging the hair follicle and preventing it from growing back). However, in order to make this a value proposition that makes sense from a time invested point of view, you need to ensure that your sessions are quick, i.e., the look for a salon and/or device that helps you get each session done quicker so your self care routine doesn’t become an annoyance or liability on your schedule. For example, diode laser, both in-clinic but also those version that exist for at-home use, typically have a comparatively tiny aperture through which the laser emanates, and thus the time investment is significantly longer when completing just one session when using the diode laser, compared to, as alluded to above, a device such as the EvenSkyn Pulsar that have a larger-than-1-inch light window that help you do a large area, such as both your legs for example in less than 15 minutes (a single session)!
- Pain tolerance: IPL is the clear winner here over traditional laser that are employed in clinics on in at-home diode laser-based handsets or devices. This is because of the scattering of the light around the hair follicle in an IPL device that does not concentrate all the energy in one spot. Thus, while, as noted above, it is extremely important to have sufficient power in the handset that you pick for your DIY hair removal (if you chose to do it at home), it is also important to note what technology it utilizes. With commercial laser used in a clinical setting, or with a at-home diode laser, not only is the energy intensity much higher than almost all IPL handsets, it is also concentrated in one single area at a time, and as mentioned above this typically can take long, but because of the concentration of high levels of energy in one spot, the pain can be quite significant and noticeable. Certain procedures in-clinic, for this reason alone, require the use of numbing creams and/or other products that help easy the pain, both, during and after the procedure.
Do share your thoughts with us if you found this article helpful, what else you’d like for our blog contributors to share, and please feel free to share your own laser hair removal, shaving or waxing experiences, thoughts and comments.