What is ipl and how does it work?
IPL (intense pulsed light) is a treatment involving the pulsing of light at various wavelengths to heat a target tissue to the point of destruction, without affecting the surrounding tissue. In cosmetic treatments the target tissue is usually melanin (found in hair and skin) and haemoglobin (found in blood vessels). For this reason an IPL machine can be used to remove unwanted hair, pigmentation and small clusters of broken capillaries. To be most effective the target tissue must contain the greatest concentration of melanin or haemoglobin with the surrounding tissue the least. This is why the most effective treatments are on light skin with dark hair or large superficial broken capillaries. People with dark skins or tans have a higher risk of side effects. It may be possible in some cases to still treat, but these patients will require additional treatments at a lower energy setting. If hair is too light, or capillaries too deep, then only an improvement can be achieved rather than complete resolution. Some patients may not be suitable at all. Our medical staff is trained to assess this.
Are all ipl machines the same? How is laser different?
Light wave technology has been in Perth since 1996, with our doctor being one of the first to use it. Since then great advancements have been made which have seen IPL machines becoming able to achieve better results with less side effects to a greater variety of skins. However, not all machines are the same and some practioners have bought cheaper, lower grade machines that are incapable of delivering the desired results. ARGERA has purchased a top of the range medical grade machine, which allows for an even deeper penetration of melanin than previously seen in other IPL machines.
Laser differs from IPL in that the light emitted is at a specific wavelength, whereas IPL emits light over a range. Lasers are thus excellent to treat a specific type of tissue such as hair. ARGERA uses a Diode laser for stubborn facial hair. This is a doctor only treatment in West Australia, which makes it slightly more expensive than IPL. Our clinical staff are able to ascertain which is more suitable to an individuals needs.
How many treatments will I need?
On average a patient will require 4 treatments to achieve the maximal result. This is because hair grows in cycles. To be treated hair must be in its active phase rather than dormant. Different parts of the body also grow hair at different rates. It is essential that patients return at the recommended times to achieve the optimal result. Occasionally some people will need more treatments, including those with hormonal imbalances, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, and those with darker skin where lower energy levels must be used to protect the skin. Some patients will require a maintenance treatment a few times a year. Essentially, once target tissue is treated it is gone forever. Any apparent recurrence is in fact new hair that was not present at the time of treatment. Men wanting hair removal are special cases where a reduction in hair is possible but complete resolution impossible, due to their high testosterone levels stimulating hair growth.
What are the side effects and risks of ipl treatment?
Whilst IPL and laser treatments are highly effective, they do not come without risks. Usually side effects consist of redness, mild swelling and heat to the treated area. These resolve quickly. Some patients may experience a fine scabby red to brown rash the next day ("gravel rash"), which generally clears within a few days and can be covered with mineral makeup. As the target tissue is heated there is always a risk of burns that may lead to infection, scars or permanent changes in pigmentation (loss or increase). Fortunately, this is rare. The risk of side effects also depends upon the darkness of the skin and this is why darker skins are treated slowly and why sun exposure and tanning must be avoided. Certain skincare ingredients and medicines can also increase the risk. You will be asked about this prior to each treatment. Pain is a subjective experience and most patients describe the treatment like “being flicked by an elastic band”. If pain is a concern, we can recommend anaesthetic creams that may help. IPL treatment should thus be taken seriously and that is why ARGERA has opted for medical staff only to use the machine. It is just one of the ways we try to provide our patients with the best results with minimal trauma.
A word of warning; IPL is a medical procedure and as such, despite our best efforts, the skin can sometimes react unpredictably. If this occurs, our patients will have access to our highly trained and experienced doctor to aid their recovery.
How is argera different?
ARGERA offers IPL treatments by trained medical personal only on medical grade machines. This ensures the best results possible (often with less treatments than beautician grade machines) in the safest environment. If an adverse outcome were to occur our patients have the piece of mind to know that they will be cared for by Dr Argie, who was one of the first doctors in Perth to use lasers and IPL machines. Her experience is invaluable. In addition, all of our staff have had treatments on the IPL and thus can provide first hand information on the treatment from the patient’s perspective. ARGERA also offers a laser option for those with stubborn facial hair where IPL has failed.