All about Diode & IPL Laser Hair Removal

How does the systems works?

Diode Laser is the gold standard for permanent hair removal. Diode hair removal is taking over from IPL because it is faster, more effective and works on a wider range of skin tones. Working at a wavelength of 808nm, the energy produced is easily absorbed into the pigment of the hair, destroying the follicle. The treatment is safe, stable, controlled and produces excellent results in 5 treatments or less. Faster and more targeted than traditional IPL technology. It Can treat Fitzpatrick skin types 1 to 4/5 much more effectively. Diode is the latest technology and the future of salon laser treatments

  • The IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal system produces a high intensity flash of filtered light from the applicator head, which has been placed in contact with the skin. The energy from the light source is absorbed by the pigment melanin, which is the chromophore that gives hair its colour. The hair rapidly absorbs this filtered light and transfers it to the surrounding cells that in turn are converted into heat raising them to a temperature of 70 degree Centigrade or more. The heating denatures the cells making them incapable of producing further hair growth. 

How is the treatment carried out?

The glass applicator is placed in contact with skin surface and the light is pulsed through it into the skin, the applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area and the process is repeated.

How can it be treated? 

Diode laser is perfect for permanent removal of hair, usually destroying hair completely. Working at a wavelength of 808nm, the energy produced is easily absorbed into the melanin pigment of the hair, where it is converted to heat which destroys the hair follicle. The surrounding tissue is unaffected by the treatment, as all the energy from the laser is absorbed by the melanin in the hair shaft. The treatment is safe, stable, controlled and produces excellent results.

With IPL dark hairs are most easily treated due to the high concentration of melanin that gives maximum absorption and conversion of light energy into heat. Very fair hair has less melanin and consequently less heat is produced, simply raising the fluence output from the IPL treats such hair. White hair has no melanin and cannot be efficiently treated. The upper skin layer of the epidermis also contains melanin. It is therefore necessary to treat the dark skinned individuals with less energy to avoid generation of excess heat and pain in the skin. The IPL software allows you to adjust the treatment parameters for different hair and pigment type according to the client's individual requirements.

Does it hurt?

With IPL - As the light energy is absorbed by the pigment melanin, the discomfort depends upon the concentration of melanin in the epidermis and the hairs combined. Consequently there will be more sensation in dark skinned people and those with dense dark hair hairs. No Anaesthesia is required and most patients describe the pain as moderate and acceptable ("as if a hairbrush has been tapped against the skin")

With Diode - Discomfort associated with the procedure –  the laser functions by heating up its target (blood vessels, pigmentation, hair). The level of discomfort depends on the treatment being done and varies from person to person. The stinging or sensation of heat is typically short term but may persist for several hours after the procedure.

Does the client need to shave prior to treatment?

Ideally hairs should be 1 to 2 mm long when the patient comes in for the treatment so it is possible to mark out the treatment area. Long hairs take up the energy and prevent all of it reaching to the hair root. Therefore hair is trimmed just before to allow maximum transmission of the energy. If the hair is normally shaved and can be seen when shaven then patients can shave right up to the day of treatment. Although plucking and bleaching should not be done. By avoiding any other form of epilation and waxing 4 weeks before the treatment it ensures as many follicles as possible contain hair thus can be destroyed by the light

Why do hairs "grow" after treatment?

IPL - Unlike other light depilation treatments, hair is not vaporised by the IPL treatment. The heat kills the hair root but the hairs remain in the skin and often become attached to the epidermis. They will fall out after 1 to 3weeks as the epidermis renews itself. During this period it will seem that the hairs are "growing".

Diode - Need for multiple treatments – Many conditions being treated by the laser will require more than one treatment to reach the desired results. For laser hair removal the stage of hair growth will determine the rate of destruction.  Complete destruction of all hair follicles with a single treatment is not possible. For rosacea/ redness/thread veins results are seen after the first treatment but multiple treatments are often necessary to remove the desired amount of redness/ blood vessels. Everyone responds in different ways and different rates to each treatment.

How can you tell if the treatment has worked when the hairs are not removed immediately?

Various Indications such as colour of hair becoming charcoal and expanding in size or a Red ring around each follicle is often seen a few minutes after the treatment. These are good indications that sufficient heating of the follicles has taken place. Unfortunately this is not always seen and many patients with successful treatment results without the past treatment signs.

What are the side effects?

With IPL - The visible light completely safe so no special precautions are needed apart from glasses for the brightness generated from the flash lamp. The skin of some patients becomes quite red immediately after treatment and very rarely small blisters as from excessive sun exposure can occur. However, most patients experience no side effects at all and the described skin reactions as above usually disappear within hours to few days.

With Diode - Short term effects – there are multiple short term effects that may occur with laser therapy including reddening, irritated red raised rash, swelling, bruising, numbing, temporary pigment changes, blistering, scabbing, crusting, flaking and sensitivity to the sun. Although these effects, if they occur, typically resolve within a few days, they may persist for several weeks and very rarely even longer. I understand that the degree of side effects varies from person to person and it may not be possible to predict how I will respond.

Possible permanent effects – although most side effects are short term and resolve fairly quickly, some effects can be permanent. Scarring and changes in pigmentation (lighter or darker skin) may be permanent.


How many treatments are necessary?

Only hair in the growth phase can be treated. The number of hairs in this phase varies from 20% to 70% depending on the body site. The lengths of the growth cycles also vary from 6 to 24 weeks depending on the body site. For most patients three to five treatments are sufficient to clear an area of hair up to 85%. After the first treatment most patients get a significant reduction in hair density also new grown hairs tend to become finer. It is important to know that the first treatment is believed to synchronise the anagen (growth) phase of the non-anagen hairs. This may cause what seems to be re-growth but actually just sleeping hairs starting to grow at the same time (new growth). This in turn makes next treatment(s) more effective

How do I prepare for treatment?

With IPL - Patients should avoid tanning 1 month ahead of the treatment and immediately after treatment the skin is particularly sensitive to UV light and strong sunlight should be avoided for 4-5 days.

With Diode - Effects of UV –  sun exposure, tanning beds, sunless tanning lotions and tanning creams can cause discolouration or reaction to laser treatments both during and after the procedure. Having any kind of tan prior to or soon after laser therapy results in an increase in the chances of blistering, permanent or temporary discolouration, scarring and discomfort.  Avoidance of any UV exposure 2 weeks before or after treatment reduces the risk of these effects.

Contra indications – Certain people should not have laser treatment. This includes anybody with open wounds and malignant skin tumours. People who are photosensitive through disease or medication. People who are on or have been on (in the last 3 months) anti acne medication and tattoos in the area to be treated (except tattoo removal clients).

How long dose the treatment take?

The Facial treatment usually takes 10 minutes where as both legs and an entire back take approximately 1hour.

Is it permanent?

Most authorities would agree that using current laser and IPL technology it is possible to permanently remove hair. Histology studies have found destroyed and denatured hair follicles cells in post treatment. A recent study showed that the percentage reduction in hairs after treatment using IPL systems are well above 80%

Post treatment guide

1. Do not expose your skin to UV (sun exposure, tanning bed) for at 14 days before and after treatment or self tan for at least 72 hours before or after treatment

2. Do not shave for 24 hours after treatment.

3. Leave the skin responses alone, they are temporary and will subside.

4. Avoid very hot baths, showers, steam baths or sauna for 24 hours after treatment.

5. Avoid swimming in strong chlorinated water for 24 hours

6. Avoid exfoliating or peels for 24 hours.

7. Avoid rough sports for 48 hours

8. Avoid wearing tight clothing

9. Keep the area clean and dry

10. Hydrate the body by drinking plenty of water

Please note that hot and humid weather conditions can aggravate skin in the period immediately following treatment

If you have any questions, no matter how irrelevant you think they may be, please contact us