If you thought that all laser hair removal was the same, you are not alone. In fact, there are several different types of laser hair removal on the market currently. Have you ever had a series of laser hair removal sessions only for nothing to happen? Or, you looked into the idea several years ago and were scared off by the crazily high prices?
Well, hair laser removal machines have come a long way since they burst onto the market over 10 years ago – the technology is now faster, more effective, less painful and not to mention far more cost-friendly too so you won’t break the bank or your wallet trying to get that smooth hair-free feel we all want! We had a chat with our friends over at the Global Beauty Group to get the lowdown on all things laser hair removal so you can make the best choice for you.
All of the lights…and what’s the difference?
So how does standard laser differ from SHR (super hair removal), what about IPL lasers? Arent they a type of hair removal laser as well? In short, yes - all 3 hair removal lasers use targeted light (the laser) to affect the hair follicle, heating it up to a point where it's damaged to the point that it's much harder for it to grow hair anymore. Basically, the difference between the 3 is the type of light or energy (laser) used. Traditional laser machines are a one-shot deal; an intense pulse of light. Standard IPL hair removal laser is similar but instead uses a scattered light pattern to target the follicle. Last of all, SHR treats the area by heating up the hair follicle slowly, using multiple flashes of light.
Ok so, which one is right for me?
Well for starters, when you book your appointment talk to your clinician about the colour of your skin and hair. They will then determine which type of laser hair removal machine is suitable for you and if you are a candidate for SHR. To be a candidate for SHR, your hair needs to be darker than your skin tone. This is because the light is attracted to the darkest thing that it can find…so if it’s not the hair then the surrounding skin cops the heat.
How does SHR work?
Despite heating the hair slower, SHR is a much faster treatment (due to the use of multiple lights). The treatment takes far less time to perform as it enables your clinician to treat much larger areas with ease. Rather than a stamping motion used by standard IPL laser hair removal, the laser is rolled back and forth over the skin. This makes treatments more comfortable by replacing the intense zapping with a warm tingle.
Most places that offer SHR will have standard IPL lasers also, which is great as it’s still a fantastic tool and can be used to treat smaller and hard-to-reach areas. SHR is considered a much safer treatment overall. This is due to the slower heating process, making it preferable for those with more sensitive skin types as well.
The best part about SHR it is faster with less pain and the results are usually much more effective and last longer, meaning you usually need fewer sessions! Another benefit to SHR is that it is brilliant at treating those pesky ingrown hairs. Being plagued with ingrown can be difficult and many people give up before finding a solution. It isn't until people try SHR laser hair removal that their ingrown hairs significantly reduce to the point that they barely get them anymore!
Extra things to know….
An additional perk of newer lasers is that there is now a bit more wiggle room when it comes to treating those with a darker complexion or tanned skin whereas traditional IPL excluded those that did not have exclusively light skin and dark hair. Some lasers can even treat different coloured hair ie lighter colours such as red, grey and blonde – again speak to your practitioner and ask these questions as it's super important to the overall result!
It’s important to remember, everyone’s body differs – and it's important to ask the right questions and find the right type of laser hair removal machine that will be most effective for your skin type and hair colour. The body IS capable of rejuvenating itself, which is why in some cases, hair follicles are sometimes able to repair themselves after being dormant for a long period of time.
It's quite common to have to “top up” results with a couple of sessions later down the line – however, sometimes several sessions are enough to discourage the hair from growing back. Speak to your clinician and find out which type is most likely to yield the best results for YOU.
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