Despite the fact that flashlamps have a fairly dynamic history regarding what they were initially used to treat, there is relatively little information about how much hair loss is typical with IPL. Whilst when
used in capable hands, flashlamps are a safe way to remove unwanted hair with minimal side effects, although when the treatment is performed by somebody who has inadequate knowledge or experience of the
procedure, flashlamps can cause many nasty side-effects, such as lesions, burns, discoloration of the skin and even uneven re-growth. Although flashlamps are regularly reported as being ‘virtually painless’,
they are not completely ‘painless’. The sensation caused by the high intensity pulses of light, whilst it my not be severe enough to necessitate any pain relief, has been described as a ‘discomfort’, which can
be considered as a disadvantage compared to other methods of permanent hair removal techniques such as electrolysis, which has often been referred to as ‘painless’. Similar to laser beam hair removal, flashlamps
only attack pigmented hair and therefore can only remove body hair which is dark in color. Not being able to assist people with excessive fair or red hair encasing their bodies is therefore a major drawback of
this type of hair removal technology. Also because the filtered light produces heat which penetrates onto the skin, it can be partial to discoloring dark colored skin. Because of this partiality, it is therefore
advisable not to be used by people with dark or suntanned skin. In reality, flashlamps are only a feasible option of hair removal for people with dark hair on fair skin, making this type of technology highly
discriminating in who it can help to achieve hairless, smooth bodies. Approximately four to seven flashlamp sessions are required to successfully remove hair and impair any re-growth. The price of the treatment
depends vastly on the size of the area being treated and varies tremendously from clinic to clinic. To eliminate hair from an upper lip with a flashlamp, a consumer could pay up to $100 per session, whilst a
full leg could cost up to $500 per treatment. Compared to many other forms of hair removal, this technique is expensive and is arguably the biggest component which puts people off undergoing flashlamp treatment.
Due to the potential complications involved with IPL technology, it is extremely advisable to carry out the necessary research and find a reputable clinic which performs this type of hair removal. It is also
recommended that waxing is refrained for four or more weeks prior to the treatment. Shaving the hairs from the area to be treated is however required. Because flashlamps can have a tendency to discolor dark
skin, tanning should also be avoided several weeks and a sunscreen of at least SPF 20 is recommended to be used prior to IPL treatment.
The Flash Lamp Hair Removal Procedure
The treatment begins with the application of a thin layer of gel spread onto the skin. Not only does this gel help to protect the skin from any possible damage caused by the intense heat from the lamp, but it
also optimizes the transmission of light to the hairs which helps to achieve optimum results. The lamp is then held in front of the skin for approximately 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the
area. The strength of the light used can be altered depending on the density and color of the hair as well as the skin type of the consumer. An after gel is often applied to help cool and soothe more sensitive
skin. Usually the client is expected to return at least four times but more than often six until the hair is removed permanently. A gap of six to eight weeks is required between sessions to enable the hair
follicles to go through resting and growing phases, as only follicles which are active and in the ‘growing phase’ can be destroyed by flashlamp therapy.