With laser hair removal increasingly being offered at beauty salons, we are getting a growing number of new patients asking for consultations following unsuccessful hair removal treatment. We’ve written this insider’s guide to arm you with all of the information you need to make a good choice on where to go for laser hair removal.
Everybody out there is going to tell you that they have the best laser in the world for laser hair removal.
They are even going to tell you they have got a laser when in fact they only have an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) which is categorically NOT a laser.
In all probability, they will also claim that they can treat everyone, irrespective of skin colour and hair colour.
The truth of the matter is that there are 3 different lasers, all at different wavelengths and with different characteristics that can be successfully used for laser hair removal.
Why three lasers? Skin colour is the main factor
The Alexandrite laser at 755 nanometres and the Diode laser at 810 nanometres are the lasers of choice for skin types 1-3 and potentially 4. The problem is, as you move towards the darker skin types, on either of the two lasers mentioned above, the power levels need to be reduced. Nobody is going to tell you that.
Whilst treatments can be successfully carried out on skin types 4-5, it does need an EXPERIENCED, FULLY QUALIFIED, TRAINED AND CERTIFIED PRACTITIONER. This is not a treatment for the High Street beauty shops and spas!
The third laser is the Long Pulsed Nd:YAG and this operates at a wavelength of 1064 nanometres and is ideally suited for skin types 4, 5 and 6.
All of the above laser systems have skin cooling systems, either cold air or contact chill tips.
Clinics – get what you pay for
All lasers are built equal – wrong. There is a huge difference. A high quality laser for hair removal is going to cost between £50-60,000. It will come with CE Marking and ideally, should come from a reputable laser manufacturer. Two companies with a long history in the UK market place selling lasers for hair removal are Cynosure and Candela.
Signs of a low quality Laser Hair Removal Clinic
You may have been told that the results will be permanent. Not exactly the truth. Whilst a small number of people will achieve permanent hair removal, the likelihood is that, after a course of 6 or 8 treatments, you will have very minimal hair growth and will probably need a top up maybe once or twice a year. This is why some of the more reputable companies now offer maintenance treatments
People with Asian and darker skin should be extremely careful as to the choice of operator that they choose. Our advice would be for you to stay away from IPLs and be brave in asking some of our suggested questions (below) of any potential operator you may be looking at.
It is essential that you are test patched prior to any treatment taking place. If you have an operator that says that they don’t need to test patch you, walk away immediately!
The same goes if you have a sun tan, have been on a sun bed or have a fake tan and an operator says they can treat you, again, walk away.
When choosing a clinic for a cosmetic procedure such as laser hair removal, firstly look for a registered medical clinic, ideally registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Questions you can ask
Then look for a laser therapist who is experienced and properly trained, and ask the following questions:
- Have they obtained the Core of Knowledge certification?
- Have they been signed off by the laser manufacturer in the use of that particular laser?
- How long have they been carrying out these treatments?
- How many patients have they treated?
- Do they have a Class 4 medical grade laser or an IPL which they are trying to pass off as a laser?
- Do they carry out test patches prior to treatment?
- Do they treat people with a sun tan?
Do not make decisions on laser hair removal based solely on price. Poorly carried out treatments with inappropriate equipment will cost you more in the long run and could lead to complications, such as burns or hyperpigmentation.
There are plenty of Care Quality Commission registered clinics carrying out laser treatments at competitive prices, do a bit of research and find one!Copyright Good Skin Days Limited Good Skin Days Limited is a registered medical facility regulated by the Care Quality Commission