IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light machines have been around for a while now, and are mostly used for hair reduction. A couple of years ago, Elight appeared, which allowed the Therapist to treat darker skinned clients with less discomfort and better results. Elight is a combination of two parts of the EM spectrum, that being light and RF, or Radio frequency.
Elight mostly dominates the market in terms of machine sales due to it’s unrivalled flexibility and consistently good results. There are a number of business to business dealers for this equipment with big names such as Caci, Ellipse, Lynton and Clinical Lasers. All of whom have a global reach.
Recently launched into the market is a new kind of IPL technology is SHR. SHR stands for Super Hair Removal, a technology of permanent hair removal which is having a sweeping success. The system combines laser technology and the benefits of the pulsating light method achieving practically painless results. Even hairs which until now have been difficult or even impossible to be removed can now be treated. "In Motion" represents a breakthrough in permanent hair removal with light technology. The treatment is more pleasant than with the conventional systems and your skin is better protected.
What is the difference between the laser and the IPL technology? Traditional laser or IPL technologies employ short impulses of approximately 2-300 milliseconds, applying a vast amount of energy (12-120 Joule on one square centimetre). Energy is transported to the hair root through melanin, where warmth of 65-72 degrees Celsius is produced. Energy reaches the root of the hair follicle solely through melanin. Skin and red blood cells have a similar absorption coefficient as melanin and therefore also absorb the high levels of energy produced by the laser and IPL methods. This can lead to swelling lasting several days or even to third-degree burns.
SHR technology, on the other hand, utilizes the melanin path only partially (50%). Skin is penetrated down to the follicles which produce hair growth. Conventional devices, not using SHR technology, merely transport energy along the melanin to the follicles.
SHR gently transports the energy through the skin and through the melanin to the hair follicles.
Research has shown that a slower, but longer heating process is considerably more effective for permanent hair removal than high and short levels of energy. Therefore, when using SHR, the device is passed over the tissue 6-10 times (in motion) using low energy but a high rate of repetition (up to 10Hz, i.e. 10 times per second) instead of using the traditional method with single, high-energy impulses. Thus, the hair melanin, as well as the tissue of the stem cells, is heated with low energy at a slow pace and over a longer period of time (90 seconds) to a comfortable temperature of 45 degrees Celsius. SHR enables the successful treatment of blonde and, in part even white hair, given that the hair pigment is only secondary.
Which advantages does this have for you? An optimal intensity can be achieved given that the same area is treated multiple times with low energy impulses. The treatment is more comfortable and the skin is better protected than with conventional methods. How are different hair and skin colours affected?
Light skin with dark hair responds most favourably to the treatments. In addition to targeting the melanin, SHR-technology affects the chromophore, a protein located in the follicle, enabling the successful treatment of dark skin removing achromous, fine hairs.
What does the client feel during treatment?
Treatment with SHR is practically painless as opposed to treatment with the conventional IPL devices. On areas with dense hair growth, warmth from the light impulses is evoked and the light impulses may be felt to a much lesser extent than with laser or IPL.
Which areas can be treated?
Body hair can be removed on any part of the body. It is recommended a test be performed on a small patch before the first treatment.
How many treatments are necessary?
Until now hair had to be treated during the growing phase (20%-30%). In the telogen phase, stem cells are in a resting phase but can still successfully be treated with the SHR system. Since growth cycles vary, approx. 8 treatments are usually necessary.
How long should the intervals between treatments be?
The hair growth cycle and the interval between treatments should correspond requiring spacing of approximately 6-8 weeks.
How much time is necessary for a treatment?
Depending on the size of the area to be treated, the time varies from 15 to 30 minutes for a facial treatment and about 3 hours for both legs.
Will there be any side-effects?
Skin is more sensitive in some areas of the body than in others and redness can occur as a side effect. It should disappear in a matter of hours but could potentially be as intense as a sunburn lasting a few days. Contrary to conventional methods, a light crusting which will vanish after 2-3 weeks, or an alteration of the sin’s pigmentation which will disappear after 4-6 months, are very rare.
Are precautions to be taken before the treatment?
At least 1 week before the first treatment, intense sun exposure or solarium visits should be avoided. Hairs should not be waxed or plucked less than 6 weeks before treatment. Shaving is permitted any time. Areas to be treated should be shaved one day before the scheduled appointment.
Are precautions to be taken after the treatment?
The skin’s natural protection is highly weakened after this intense light treatment. Therefore a high level of UV protection (30-50) in the form of suntan lotion should be applied for about 1 week.
After 1-5 weeks hair will fall out. Shaving is possible any time but hair should not be plucked. Allow for the natural process to take place, or you could stimulate new growth. Once the hair has dropped out, it is unlikely to grow back again.
What are the costs?
SHR technology is better for all of the reasons above and this carries a cost implication. However, Clinical Lasers has always led the way on pricing and still does. Couple this with their global solution that offers instant guaranteed acceptance to anyone, anywhere, Therapists can access much needed new equipment, even with the economy in the current state.