Laser hair removal- the inside info
March 13, 2012 laser

The latest buzz in the beauty industry has been THE L word for a while now. Laser skin peels, laser hair removal, laser cellulite reduction, laser tattoo removal and the list goes on.

But how safe is the use of laser equipment in beauty treatments, especially when it comes to laser hair removal?

The frank answer to this question is “Provided that therapist is well-trained and experienced and in the laser device that is used, there is no harm in going in for a laser treatment. You just need to find that thin line that sits between providing a safe and effective treatment. Somehow many therapists were not able to get the balance between the ‘fluence’ or power output and hair- skin combination to avoid scabs and pigmentation on the skin. That is where structured IPL training course can help.”

dangers of laser radiation

Having said this, there are two other important factors not to be overlooked – they have also had their fair share of publicity recently.

1. Laser devices – Electromagnetic radiation

Nic Karandonis representing ‘Hair Free’ franchise claims 60 per cent of salons use cheap illegal machines not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. And Today Tonight uncovered a warehouse full of them.

“The Chinese machine uses low-grade parts and has no Gaussian shielding which protects the operator from the emission of harmful electromagnetic radiation as well as the patient,” Mr Karandonis said.

Today Tonight asked John Patterson, a radiation and electronic expert, to measure the radiation levels.

“It’s actually a danger to hold, just having it on standby,” John said.

“It’s spraying the radiation across the whole room and not only that, it’s probably spraying out into the foyer and other shops in that area.”

A mobile phone signal puts out about 25 kH of radiation frequency, the machine John tested put out 800,000 kH.

“This is a massive danger for the person holding and using this instrument and it is extremely dangerous for the person who they’re operating on with it. That’s enormous,” John said.

2. IPL devices – Wavelength Filtering

One of the chromophores most likely to cause adverse reactions is water. As water is present everywhere in the skin, if an IPL emits light that is absorbed by water then there is real potential to cause widespread damage.

Water begins to absorb light at a wavelength of 950nm. Hence any IPL that emits wavelengths above 1200nm has the ability to produce adverse reactions. While contact cooling through a good ICC can help minimise these effects it does not prevent them from occurring. Additionally, contact cooling may impact the result of the treatment because it cools the hair follicle as well as the skin, therefore much higher fluences might be necessary to get enough heat to the follicle. And more fluence can result in more side effects too… catch 22, isnt it?

In an effort to overcome the side effects of water absorption of light most (but not all) IPL’s filter out wavelengths above 1200nm. These wavelengths are filtered out using an infra-red filter or by way of the water jacket that also serves to cool the flash lamp. In this way the systems ensure that the light directed to your skin only contains the wavelengths that are relevant for the desired treatment.

The key point is that you should be careful when purchasing an IPL system that does not filter out wavelengths above 1200nm.

Now when you go next time to your laser hair removal session asked your operator about the wavelengths just to be sure you are safe.

Equipment we use at Laser skin and wellness is 100% safe, tested and serviced every month so we can get you the safest and most effective sessions every time!

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