It's been revealed that women spend an average of 1,728 hours shaving their legs over a lifetime so it’s no surprise that there inevitably comes a time when we get a little sick of razor nicks and the painful and time-consuming process of waxing. Hair removal has been on trend for women (and increasingly men) for a very long time and looks to be going nowhere anytime soon. Why would it? We don’t really need that furry covering to keep warm in our caves anymore, do we??
Inconvenience aside, many women also suffer from hormonal and genetic conditions that actually promote hair growth. Even pregnancy drastically alters the rate of hair growth and the coarseness of body hair, so for various reasons huge numbers of us are continuously turning to clinics for permanent hair removal solutions.
As we start to count down the days 'til spring and dust off the lighter and brighter side of our wardrobes, let's talk about the options available out there for hair reduction and removal.
The two standout treatments currently available for permanent hair removal are IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and Laser Hair Removal. So how do they compare and which treatment option gives the best result?
What are the differences between Laser Hair Removal & IPL?
The main difference between Laser and IPL when it comes to hair removal is the wavelength utilised. A laser has a single focused wavelength, which specifically targets a chromophore (the part of a molecule responsible for its colour). During hair removal, it is this colour (melanin) in the hair follicle that attracts the laser. This laser then emits a single, precise wavelength to destroy the hair while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
IPL’s are, first and foremost, not lasers. Rather than using a single wavelength of light they instead adopt a broad spectrum that emits multiple wavelengths during a single pulse. This ensures that a single IPL machine, in addition to reducing unwanted hair, can also be used to perform a variety of skin treatments (such as targeting age spots, pigmentation & sun damage) as well as to alleviate common dermatologic diseases (such as acne and rosacea).
Conclusion: Whilst IPL is a transformative treatment tool for various skin issues, it does not have the same ability as a laser to specifically and safely target hair only, so for this reason laser is still the standout choice for hair reduction and removal treatments.
Does Laser Hair Reduction Hurt?
The best way to describe the sensation of laser hair reduction treatment is to imagine a warm rubber band being flicked against your skin.
The LightSheer DUET laser used here at the Dermatology Institute of Victoria has a vacuum assisted handpiece that allows us to treat large areas of the body quickly and comfortably. The vacuum suction activates tactile skin receptors to inhibit the transmission of pain. For smaller areas of the body, the laser handpiece has a chilled tip which continuously cools the skin for extra comfort and safety.
Can Laser Hair Reduction be performed on darker skin types?
At the Dermatology Institute of Victoria, we use only the best, medical grade lasers that can safely treat all skin types. We adopt very specific parameters to ensure safety and efficacy throughout your treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required to achieve the desired hair reduction result varies from person to person. During an initial consultation, we assess various parameters such as the area being treated, the density of hair growth, the skin tone etc. to devise a tailored treatment plan. However, as a general guide, we recommend 8-10 treatments spaced 4-8 weeks apart with maintenance appointments on the conclusion of the final treatment recommended every 6-12 months.
What can I expect on my first appointment?
During your first appointment, you will undergo a consultation with one of our nurses or dermal clinicians. They will explain how the laser works, analyse skin and hair growth, discuss how many treatments will be needed and answer any questions you may have.
Your clinician will then perform a test patch with the laser on the treatment area to note your skin's response and to ensure safety and efficacy. Your first treatment can then be booked 1-4 weeks later.
Contact us on (03) 9826 4966 to make an appointment, or reach out via the fields below.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Dermatology Institute of Victoria.