Laser hair removal is an increasingly popular method for permanent hair removal. In fact, laser hair removal is one of the most common aesthetic procedures performed in the U.S. Your medical spa doesn’t have to offer in-office treatments to benefit from this trend either. Effective at-home hair-removal devices make it a smart retail item. Southern California based board-certified dermatologist, Tess Mauricio, M.D., answers our questions about intense pulsed light for hair removal and the new LumaRx device.
How does this technology work?
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology emits light energy that penetrates deep into the skin to reach the hair root. The heat stuns the active hair follicles, which breaks the hair growth cycle and helps prevent future hair growth.
What makes LumaRx stand out from other at-home hair removal devices?
LumaRx differs from other at-home hair removal devices because it utilizes IPL technology, while most other products use laser. IPL uses a high-powered light that contains multiple wavelengths as opposed to one single wavelength beam in a laser device. IPL technology uses individual light pulses to target melanin in the hair follicle, heating the hair bulb which damages the follicle to inhibit new hair growth and eventually causing permanent hair reduction. The biggest advantage of IPL compared with laser is the spot size which is the area treated per individual pulse. The size of the window on the LumaRx device is also larger than other IPL devices, much larger than the leading at home laser hair removal device, allowing for quicker and more efficient treatments.
What are the typical treatment protocols and results?
As a first step, users should shave the area they are treating before applying the IPL device to their skin. Once shaved, you are safe to unlock the device with the skin sensor and begin treating the area. Users should keep up with the treatments every two weeks until they begin seeing results. Most people begin seeing results after three treatments.
How is at-home IPL hair-removal different than an in-office or medical spa treatment?
For the majority of patients especially the ideal patient with fair skin and dark hair, the results of efficacy studies show that after just three treatments done at two week intervals, subjects had at least 63 percent hair reduction 12 months out. Even in-office hair removal treatments require a series of treatments in order to see results. As far as treatment time goes, because of the large treatment window of LumaRx Full Body device, treatment speed is comparable to in-office treatments. At-home devices are usually a fraction the cost of in office treatments and the convenience and freedom of doing treatments in the comfort of one's own home is priceless.
What are the risks of at-home IPL hair-removal?
LumaRx is equipped with a skin sensor to protect ineligible users from potentially harming themselves if their skintone will not respond well, so there is not so much risk associated with using the at-home IPL device as there may be discomfort that could result from the treatments. The heat emitted from the flashes burns the hair deep in the root of the follicle, so you're likely to feel a brief tingling sensation. Like any electronic device, it is important to read and follow the operating instructions.
What are the benefits of a spa or medical spa selling at-home hair removal devices? (It seems it would take away business)
Some people prefer to perform the hair removal treatments on themselves, as it is a much more cost-effective way to achieve permanent hair reduction, so some spas and medical spas like to give their clients that option.
How can this device be incorporated with spa treatments or as a complementary option?
There are a lot of waxing clients who may want to consider permanent hair removal so LumaRX can be recommended to them. LumaRx hair removal can be demonstrated in the spa and then patients can continue treatments at home.
What's next for hair removal technology in your opinion?
People always want faster and more effective treatments. And as the window size of devices gets larger the treatments will be faster. Also, minimizing discomfort is always desirable so true "painless hair removal" may be in the horizon. Treating blonde, grey, and red hairs and safe at-home technologies for all skin types is still not available at this time, but may exist in the future.