When lockdown 1.0 first hit, questions surrounding the upkeep of our hair and beauty routines were rife. Many of us resorted to DIY haircuts, manicures and facials almost immediately.
The topic of hair removal though, was a prickly one. CO2 Fractional Laser Machine
For those well versed on laser hair removal, you'll know the essentialness of timing and consistency. For the treatment to be especially effective, you need to firstly ensure you're using clinical-grade technology, like that offered by Soprano Ice Titanium machines. Then, you need to commit your time: this means regularly attending your course of six to eight treatments, every six weeks.
These are the cornerstones of a successful laser hair removal journey. The result? Baby smooth, hairless skin, which often also resolves keratosis pilaris concerns and pigmentation. Yes, and yes.
If you're ready to start your laser hair removal journey, there are a few things to note. Here's everything you need to know before you begin.
Laser hair removal is the process of permanently reducing the growth of hair by exposing hair follicles to pulses of light, which work to destroy the root of the hair, i.e. the bulb.
There are several different laser hair removal machines that work to reduce hair growth and each uses different laser wavelengths.
"The wavelength will make some lasers better for certain types of hair," says Maria Dinopoulos, founder of Pulse Laser Aesthetic Clinic. "Some are safer for individuals with darker skin tones and some produce better results on specific areas of the body than others. The technology of each specific machine will also determine how comfortable the treatment will be for the individual."
While clinics use various machines to conduct laser hair removal treatments, there are three predominant laser wavelengths that machines use to target melanin in the hair follicle.
Each wavelength indicates the depth at which the laser can reach beneath the skin's surface and is suited to different hair and skin types.
Alexandrite - Can go 755 nanometers into the skin and is better for lighter, finer hair which doesn't have much pigment.
Diode - A nice middle ground which sits in between the Alexandrite and Nd: Yag lasers. It reaches a depth of 810 nanometers and is a good all rounder as it can treat many different hairs types, but is not able to reach those that are deep seated.
Nd: Yag - Sits at the top end of the spectrum and goes 1064 nanometers into the skin. It is known to be better for deeper skin tones and those with thick, dark hair. It can also treat hair at its deepest level.
The Soprano Titanium laser system is one of many machines and uses a unique “in motion” technique to gently heat the hair follicles.
"This, together with an in built ICE cooling mechanism, cools the skin simultaneously whilst treating, making it much more comfortable and safer than other lasers with very little risk of any adverse effects," says Maria.
The Soprano Titanium has three different laser wavelengths built into the handpiece (most laser machines only have one), which means it can effectively treat all hair types of varying thickness and density.
Most people require a minimum of six to eight treatments performed at strict intervals of four weeks for facial areas and six weeks for body areas.
The hair will need to be shaved prior to treatment and only shaving is permitted throughout a course of laser treatment. No other forms of hair removal are recommended as this may affect how well the treatment works.
There is no downtime whatsoever so you can return to your daily activities immediately. Unlike other systems, The Soprano Titanium can also safely treat tanned skin, provided the skin is not sunburnt or has not had very recent exposure to sun or UV light.
Now for the question on everyone's lips: Does it hurt?
"The technology has come a long way since the days of laser feeling like an elastic band snapping you," adds Maria. "The Soprano ICE Titanium is virtually pain-free. It delivers the laser energy over time, so that heat accumulates in the hair follicle to damage the stem cells. This is a very gentle method, and you will just feel the skin warming up."
Its freezing cold tip also helps keep the surface of the skin cool throughout the procedure, making it very comfortable indeed.
The Soprano ICE Titanium can treat ALL skin types. Gone are the days where only lighter skin types with thick hair could only benefit from the treatment.
Being South Asian, I have a medium-brown skin tone and thick hair. Laser technicians have always been quick to tell me that I am the ideal candidate for laser hair removal. While Soprano ICE Titanium thankfully works on all skin types as aforementioned, I have been shocked by the results on my own skin.
After only six sessions, my legs are completely hair-free. The odd hair tends to sprout after a month or two, but I quickly take care of that with a clean shave followed by my at-home Philips Lumea Prestige machine, £459.99.
There is a lot of science involved in this treatment, naturally given you are essentially trying to rewire your hair's growth pattern.
"Only hair that is actively growing at the time of treatment will be permanently damaged by the laser."
"Usually, only 20% of our hair is in this growth phase at one time and so a course of treatments is required to try and catch each follicle in this phase. As a result, expect an 80-90% reduction in hair growth after a course of six to eight treatments. The great thing is, any hair that is still growing will be thinner and lighter, and barely noticeable," notes Maria.
Considering the advances in modern laser hair removal, the cons are few and far between. One thing I have picked up on however, is the advice around triggering hair growth.
I've long wanted a hair-free body (from the brows down, that is), but when I enquired about facial hair removal, many professional technicians advised me against it claiming that treating very fine hair with a laser can often have the adverse effect of causing more hair growth than normal.
Our advice? Always seek the guidance of a qualified technician before committing to treatments.
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