Therapies on laser IPL machines have revolutionised the beauty care industry. Permanent hair removal is a matter of a few sessions with each taking under less than half an hour. Skin rejuvenation treatments that not so long ago necessitated extensive surgical procedures and extended downtimes are today completed in under an hour with the patient resuming normal routine immediately after. Given this scenario, it is small wonder that there has been an exponential growth in demand for treatments on technologically advanced and sophisticated laser and IPL machines.
However, before you opt for laser treatments for permanent hair removal, you should follow certain precautions so that there are minimum side effects. Contraindications are a part of any medical process and procedures on laser IPL machines are no exceptions. To understand this aspect fully, you should first know how laser IPL machines function and the technology on which they are based. For full details, go here.
Here is a list of precautions that should be followed to ensure that you get the most from hair removal treatments on laser IPL machines.
- Suntans or fake tans – You should not get real suntans or visit solariums for tans right through the duration of the procedure and one month after completion. It is not to be confused with dark coloured original skin where no such complications arise.
Tans place melanin in an extremely excited state. Since laser and IPL beams of light target melanin which is the pigment situated at the root of hair follicles, tans put the skin at risk and can cause accidental burns or pigmentation marks during treatment. Further, if the skin is tanned after one or two sessions,, the therapist has to adjust the filters to accommodate the change in skin colour. Hence there will not be continuity in treatment plans rendering the whole process ineffective.
- Recent waxing or plucking – Laser IPL treatments work on this principle – beams of light enter the surface of the skin and burn out the melanin which is the pigment that gives hair its colour. Hence, for the procedure to be effective, there should be a hair root. Waxing or plucking pulls hair roots out of the shaft. Thus, lasers have nothing to target. If you have been using one of these methods, you have to wait for a couple of weeks for the hair root to regrow before scheduling a laser permanent hair removal session.
- Presence of moles, skin marks and freckles – There is no evidence to suggest that skin marked with freckles and moles are harmed due to laser IPL treatments. However, ask your therapist about any change in skin conditions after the hair removal process. These marks tend to fade and hence if you are undergoing separate skin treatments, you have to inform the GP that you have been through laser treatments. To prevent this possibility, therapists usually work around the moles to avoid a change of pigmentation.
- Hormone supplements – Many women take various hormone supplements such as HRT and thyroid medications to moderate levels of sex hormones which affect hair growth directly. If medication regulates hormones satisfactorily, laser IPL hair removal treatment will be optimised. If not, a GP has to be consulted for adjusting the dose so that laser treatments can be carried out.
- Wearing dark coloured garments – Light is always attracted to dark colours. Hence do not wear dark coloured clothes during treatment sessions. Further, nylon or polyester bra and underwear should not be worn as any accidental contact with the laser can melt the material on to the skin. For safety, patients should remove these garments and cover themselves with a towel.
- Hirsutism – It is a condition in women where excess dark and coarse hair grows over parts of the body where it normally wouldn’t grow. This includes the face and the back. About one in ten women face this problem which can either be genetic or hormonal. For those with hirsutism, results of treatments take longer to be fully visible. The number of sessions required for a complete hair removal treatment will also be more than the usual.
These are some of the precautions and contraindications to note before undergoing laser IPL permanent hair removal treatment.