For some, temporary hair removal just isn’t sufficient and this may be for many reasons. Some simply don’t want the hassle of regular waxing appointments, or the short-term results and irritation that can come with shaving, some may suffer inflamed ingrown hairs or have excessive hair growth in areas that aren’t seen to be desirable. Whatever the reason, there is another option which offers long term, sometimes, permanent results and that is Laser or IPL hair Removal.

IPL (intense pulsed light) often referred to as Laser Permanent Hair Removal/Reduction offers a safe, long-term solution to unwanted excess hair, for both men and women. Treatment is suitable for the face and body and results can be seen after just a few sessions.

How does light-assisted hair removal work?

Light is selectively absorbed by melanin, the pigment in the hair follicle. The light energy heats the pigment and effectively destroys the hair follicle, without damaging the surrounding cells.

Who is suitable for hair removal treatment?

In terms of skin type and hair colour IPL hair removal treatments can potentially treat skin types of up to Fitz Patrick 5, this is a scale of how much melanin and melanin activity there is within the skin. Unfortunately, it cannot treat darker skins, which are classed as a Fitz Patrick 6 or above, as the skin would attract too much heat and there is a high risk of adverse effects. When it comes to hair colour suitability IPL is best suited to brown/black hair colour, the less melanin in the hair the harder it is for the IPL to detect and destroy. Grey/white hair has no melanin and therefore is not suitable for treatment.

“There are some other considerations to take into account when discussing suitability and they are based around medical history and any medications being taken, for this reason, a full consultation and patch test should always take place prior to any treatment.”

Is the treatment pain-free?

Generally, IPL is not strictly pain free. Although many find it tolerable, if not comfortable, there are some areas which are slightly more sensitive. It is often described as “a flick of an elastic band” which is a repeated sensation across the treated area, but it is very quick and easily bearable using the correct treatment parameters.

Are there any side effects or risks?

The skin may be red or flushed immediately after treatment and the hair follicles may be swollen and bumpy which is normal and usually subsides within a few hours. In terms of risks, unwanted reactions are rare but may include a small blister or temporary lightening or darkening of the skin.

How many treatments are necessary?

Only hair that is actively growing is affected, therefore multiple treatments are needed. Treatment is typically conducted every 4 – 6 weeks, depending on the area being treated, until a satisfactory result is seen. The required number of treatments varies, but a minimum of 6 is recommended, more treatments may be needed for optimum results.

Pre & post treatment care

During IPL hair removal treatment the hair can be shaved on any area as much as the client would like, but it should not be plucked, epilated or waxed as this will remove the hair from the root/bulb and it needs to be there for treatment to be successful.  Hair removal creams should also be avoided.  Guidance regarding your particular treatment and shaving will be given at consultation. Skin that is actively tanning cannot be treated, therefore the ideal time for treatment is through the autumn/winter/early spring if you intend to spend a lot of time out in the sun. If you tend to refrain from extended periods in the sun and are vigilant with sun care, treatment can commence throughout the year.

This treatment can make the skin slightly more light sensitive, so vigilant sun care is absolutely imperative throughout the year on exposed, treated areas. If sunny holidays are planned then avoid being treated for 2 weeks prior to leaving and be sure to wear full coverage sun protection on all exposed treated areas while you’re away. It is not advisable to treat again for around 4 weeks upon your return, if tanning has been achieved your therapist may request a longer rest period before continued treatment.

“Avoid heat, friction and any harsh products for at least 24 hours following treatment.”

Consultation procedure

Prior to treatment, a consultation is conducted in which a medical history is taken to confirm suitability for treatment. This is also a good opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have. Before treatment commences you must provide written consent.

Equipment used

At SIRENS Skin & Beauty we use the most powerful IPL machine on the market, built here in the UK by industry leaders, Lynton Lasers. This machine is supplied and used in NHS practice and is also capable of providing skin rejuvenation treatments. See here for further information on this: