Hair Removal

Soprano Laser Diode Hair Removal
The Soprano 810nm gold standard diode laser is an extremely effective choice for virtually painless and permanent hair reduction. The Soprano laser uses a chill – tip cooling system to help achieve this.  The basic principle of hair reduction uses a process called selective photo-thermolysis. This process involves the selective heating of the target, in this case melanin in the hair, to a temperature which will denature the germ cells in the follicle without damage to the surrounding tissue.

Soprano Laser Diode Hair Removal

How do laser and IPL hair removal systems work?
For many years lasers have been used safely and with great success in many areas of medicine. Lasers, and more recently Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) systems are now increasingly used as a safe and effective method of hair removal.

How does laser/IPL hair removal work?
Regardless of the laser/IPL type used, a short burst of light is fired at the skin’s surface. This light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair shaft, where it heats and destroys the hair whilst sparing surrounding tissues. If the hair is in the growth stage (anagen), the heat is transmitted down the hair shaft to the base of the follicle and to the germ cells lining the follicle shaft, causing their destruction. Hair caught in the growth stage will not tend to grow again. Other follicles, which are not actively growing may then produce new hair. These follicles will need to be targeted in the growth stage to effect follicle damage.

How many hair removal treatments are required?
Everyone is different and it is just not possible to be accurate. Somewhere between 5 and 8 treatments are usually required. The exact number will vary depending on where the hair is, what has been done to the hair in the past and, of course, your individual response. Hormonal conditions, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), will also have a significant bearing on how the treatment progresses.

Can all hair colours be treated?
Laser/IPL depilation works best on dark hair because dark hair contains more pigment to absorb light. Fair hair can respond well but white hair, very blond hair and some types of red hair will not respond to a laser or an IPL system and will need to be treated hair-by-hair using an electrolysis technique. We always carry out a test patch before a full treatment so we will know how your hair and skin will respond before you commit to a full treatment.

Can all parts of the body be treated?
Yes – including the chin, upper lip, cheeks, legs, arms, underarms and back – as well as sensitive areas like the ears, nose, chest and bikini line.

Is laser/IPL hair removal permanent?
Results vary; actively growing hair follicles will be destroyed, so for some people we can say that the end result is permanent. However, as with all depilation methods, we cannot give any guarantee as the laser or IPL will only affect actively growing follicles and has no effect on dormant or ‘resting’ hair follicles. Therefore, it is always possible that new hair growth may take place from hair follicles not currently growing. It is also accepted now that some hairs are not destroyed but convert from a terminal (thick dark, noticeable) hair to a vellus (fine, blonde unnoticeable) hair.

How does laser hair removal compare with other hair removal methods?
Shaving, waxing and depilatory creams are all temporary methods that must be repeated on a regular basis. Electrolysis is a valuable method for treating white, grey and red hairs and we do offer this service but it is very slow and suffers from the same drawbacks as laser/IPL methods – only those hairs that are actively growing will be destroyed – the others will grow back. Light based hair removal is the only significant improvement in hair removal in the last 25 years. Many technologies, including the ABC Soprano Diode Laser, Alexandrite, Lightsheer diode, NdYAG and IPL techniques, now carry the coveted American FDA approval for effective hair removal.

Is the treatment painful?
A powerful chill- tip cooling system is used with the Soprano Diode Laser.. Nevertheless it can be uncomfortable, though most people experience no more than a stinging sensation. People with darker skin will feel the laser more as their skin will absorb more energy. In this case more attention will be paid to cooling the skin to minimise skin reactions.

Are there any side effects?
The most common after effect is redness of the skin that can last from only minutes to a day or so. Slight blistering can occur but this is very rare and would clear up within a few days. In very rare circumstances skin colour may change but this will normally return to normal in time. A patch test is carried out prior to treatment to make sure no untoward or unexpected reactions occur.

Is the treatment safe?
Yes. Lasers have been used in medicine for over 40 years and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the treatment can lead to skin disorders or an increased risk of skin cancer. Beauty Within Medi Spa is registered with and inspected by the Health Inspectorate for Wales (HIW)

Can anyone offer this kind of treatment?
You may not know that it a legal requirement for all users of lasers, IPL and LHE systems to be registered with the Health Inspectorate for Wales (HIW). Our Certificate number is HIW/00135. Our clinical staff are all trained to a very high standard and regularly update their clinical knowledge and skills.

Should anyone avoid this treatment?
The hair removal treatment should be avoided by anyone who is:

  • Hypersensitve to light
  • Suffering from live cold sores in the treatment area
  • Suffering from vitiligo (skin pigment loss)
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding

People with very dark skin are at greater risk of pigment change but this can be avoided by selecting the right laser. A full medical history will be taken prior to any treatment being offered to exclude any problems.

How do I prepare myself for treatment?
The laser targets the pigment in the hair and skin and therefore it is important that you do not have a suntan – whether natural or artificial.

  • If you have a tan you should wait at least 4 weeks after your last UV exposure until there is no activity in the pigment producing cells.
  • If you are plucking, waxing or threading, you should stop 4 weeks prior to treatment and change to shaving or cutting the hair.
  • The treatment area needs to be shaved the day before treatment.
  • You should avoid perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before and after treatment.
  • You should avoid alcohol, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Brufen for 48 hours before treatment; This will reduce the risk of a skin reaction.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a condition of the ovaries associated with excessive egg-production and affects between 10-15% of women of reproductive age. It is a familial condition – that is, there is a raised chance that if there is a history of PCOS in the family, you will also suffer from it. PCOS is a condition characterised by many minute cysts in the ovaries and excess production of androgens (male-type hormones).

This information mainly considers implications for laser hair removal (depilation)

Associated Symptoms

PCOS is frequently associated with the following symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Excessive hair growth in the face and body
  • Irregular and infrequent periods or absent periods
  • Infrequent or absent ovulation
  • Infertility

Long Term Risks:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Endometrial cancer

Diagnosis
It is important that a proper diagnosis of PCOS is made and this will require discussion with your GP, who may have access to diagnostics or might refer you to an endocrine specialist.

Treatment
Treatment may involve hormone medication or rarely, surgical techniques but in any case, treatment is aimed at normalising hormone balance and reducing associated symptoms, including excessive hair growth.

Hair Removal for Women with PCOS
Hair over-growth is a common side effect of PCOS and because light based treatments do not interfere with medication or surgery, excessive hair growth can be treated at any stage of the medical treatment (with the exception of immediate post-operation where surgery is required). Hair Removal treatment using laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices is effective for women with PCOS but, because unwanted hair growth in women is hormonally driven, until hormonal imbalances are resolved, increased hair growth may continue in spite of hair removal treatments. Where for most women, hair removal may be a permanent depilation technique, for women with PCOS, hair removal is an on-going management technique. However, treatment will significantly reduce the amount of hair present and slow down re-growth. For example, women shaving on a daily basis may find that they only require laser treatment every few weeks with no shaving in between. Otherwise, the situation is precisely the same in PCOS and non PCOS treatment. A consultation will:

  • Assess and describe the condition.
  • Consider medical history and medications
  • Consider hair and skin type
  • Test patch, indicating the most appropriate energy for your individual skin type

The treatment itself is quick and simple with the laser targeting pulses of light-energy at the hair shaft with the aim of causing permanent damage to growth cells in the hair follicle. Hair follicles permanently destroyed will not grow hair again. For all people, a course of treatments, perhaps 5 – 8 sessions, is required to catch all hairs during the active ‘anagen’ stage of hair growth. Following this, long-interval top-ups may be required to catch the new follicles as they come into growth. Where PCOS people differ from others is that the underlying hormone imbalance in PCOS causes new hair follicles to be created at a much faster rate than in non-PCOS people such that treatment may be a recurrent course of regular laser sessions unless and until hormone levels are rebalanced through medical treatment.

Electrolysis for hair removal ?
Electrolysis is an established treatment for unwanted hair that works by passing a small electrical current through the hair follicle in order to heat up growing cells surrounding the hair. There is also an electro-chemical reaction that takes place helping cause follicle destruction. Electrolysis is effective – it is the only hair removal method permitted to be called ‘permanent’ by the Advertising Standards Agency. However, electrolysis is also slow (one follicle at a time), invasive (the electrodes have to be inserted into adjacent follicles to allow current to flow), painful (ouch) and operator dependent, carrying a significant risk of point scarring. We do offer electrolysis as a service for hair removal but, in the vast majority of cases, we would select laser treatment as being faster and, although we are not allowed by ASA rules to promise this, our experience is that laser treatment is equally effective on most hair types. Because much larger areas can be treated, the cost is also lower and consequently, electrolysis for us is mainly a treatment for white and grey hairs that do not absorb laser light very well.