Laser Hair Removal
Does it hurt?
Does it work?
Does skin colour matter?
How to prepare
IPL vs Laser
Is it dangerous?
Does laser hair removal work?
Yes. Over a period of 6-12 months and 6-8 treatments the majority of clients will see a 90% reduction in hair growth. The laser targets the actively growing hair root killing the stem calls around the bulb that create the hair. Each treatment will knock out the majority of growing hairs but some survive. Because only a fraction of all your hair follicles are active at any one moment we have to wait for the next lot to poke their heads above the surface before despatching them forever. They get thinner with each treatment.
How does laser hair removal work?
The Soprano flashes pure light ten times a second though the surface of the skin. The head is stroked backwards and forwards across the area. With each pass the coloured pigment in the hair heats up more and more until, at 45ºC, the root is cooked. The skin doesn’t heat up to the same degree which is why it is relatively painless. The hair is then naturally extruded over the following 2-3 weeks. Other lasers and IPL machines blast the skin with a single flash of light that also causes sudden heating of the skin which is why at best they sting and at worst can cause serious burns.
When will I see results?
There will be very little to see at first. You may think it hasn’t worked for ten days. Some clients get a bit of redness around the hair follicle and occasionally some small spots may form. The area can be treated with tea tree or aloe vera. During the next two weeks the hairs will have been working their way to the surface and will simply wipe off. We tell our clients that each treatment will bring about a 30% reduction in viable hair follicles. 3 weeks after a treatment there is often no hair to be seen at all. Delightful but only temporary! However the resting follicles WILL spark into life and will need to be zapped again. With each treatment there is a greater and greater reduction. Very occasionally there is little response. This is where the Soprano comes into its own. Because there is so much leeway in its programming and settings the fluence (power) can be adjusted to suit the non-responder in a way that might otherwise cause burns with a less sophisticated machine. Hairs that do regrow tend to be much thinner and less likely to ingrow.
When doesn’t it work?
It will not work on white hair. Redheads and light strawberry blondes have a different sort of melanin called phaeomelanin that makes it much less responsive and may require specialist lasers. There is a very small group of patients with highly resistant hair follicles that necessitate the use of two or three different laser wavelengths to achieve anything like a satisfactory result. A refund would be offered. This situation is much less likely with the Soprano than other 810nm lasers or IPL machines because of its different method of action. Surprisingly even many blondes get good results. Sometimes it’s worth a couple of trial treatments to see if you respond.
Is it safe?
Yes. Lasers and IPL have now been around for 20 years in the aesthetic industry. The wavelength used is well away from the harmful UV spectrum that can damage DNA in our cells causing ageing and skin cancer. Minor heat injury within the skin is actually good for collagen which is why there are so many infra-red treatments available for skin rejuvenation.
Eye protection MUST be worn as the Soprano is a Class 4 laser which can blind. We supply appropriate filtered glasses.
When shouldn’t I have treatment?
If you have recently been sun tanning we must know so as to reduce the power settings.
You will experience burns if you have an artificial spray tan. 4 weeks gap please.
If you are pregnant. If you have active sores from herpes simplex. If you are on any drug that can cause photosensitisation – the list is extensive but the most common ones we come across are the tetracyclines, ciprofloxacin, statins, NSAID’s, antifungals, diabetic drugs and perfumes. An excellent reference is available through the following link
We will take a medical history and ask what drugs you may be on before treating you.
Who will do the treatment?
We have five qualified operators Dr Malcolm Willis, Dr Kathy Kestin, Dr Mini Nelson, Sister Alison McCurley and HCA Cheryl Lorne. The first three are senior doctors who are full-time NHS GP’s who are actively involved in the teaching of medical students from UEA the subjects of Dermatology, Cardiology, Respiratory Medicine and Paediatrics. Alison is one of our senior Practice Nurses who will be available by specific request. We are very approachable, pleasant and professional. We are well used to dealing with sensitive problems with tact and humour. We have been treating the complications of hair removal for years which is why we are offering an end to those problems with the Soprano. Most of all we enjoy seeing an end to the wide range of embarrassments that people feel about their hair. Being hair-free is very empowering and a great boost to one’s self-esteem.
A female practitioner or chaperone will be present for all treatments involving intimate areas on women. Men may also ask for a chaperone if they wish.
Why does it cost so much?
The sophisticated technology in the Soprano means that its capital cost is in excess of several family cars! It is unusual to find such highly qualified practitioners as ourselves doing this sort of work. We do not employ technicians. Our team of nurses and specially trained beautician Emma Wright are very competent. The results achievable from these machines are to a significant degree dependant on the adaptability and skill of the operator. We are not a factory and are not driven by shareholders. We are very specifically doing hair removal and will not be pushing you to buy dubious extras.
But I can buy a hand held device for £350
They do indeed work for some people, especially where the hairs are superficial, the skin pale and the hairs are black and not too thick. They have to be used every week for several months. They are time consuming and have a limited lifespan. They are excruciatingly uncomfortable on sensitive areas such as the genitals. They merely stun the hair follicle and regrowth nearly always occurs. They are heavily marketed by the big brand names to compete with the increasing number of unregulated and excessively priced IPL and laser salons. We regularly treat customers who feel they have wasted money on these devices.
How do I prepare?
The Soprano targets the deep hair root. You should not wax, pluck, thread or depilate for six weeks prior to treatment. You can continue to shave or use depilatory creams. You will need to close shave the area to be treated the day before your appointment. Hairs above the surface heat up and can be painful.
The Soprano is particularly good at treating folliculitis so it does not matter if you have multiple ingrowers. There may be a temporary flare in the days after treatment but the root will be killed just the same.
Do not use perfumes or any lotions on the day of treatment.
Is it painful?
One person’s pain is another’s mild sensation. SHR mode is relatively pain free. It is not without sensation. You are likely to feel an increasing warming sensation as the head is stroked back and forth. There is often a slight pricking sensation at the end of the treatment when the hair roots suddenly reach target temperature. Some people say it is like a hot stone massage. If you feel discomfort we spend more time cooling the skin between active sweeps.
There is a standard mode that is much faster and is most suitable for large areas such as men’s backs. This causes a more intense pricking sensation that is still very tolerable. An armpit can be done in 30 seconds in this mode!
What should I expect?
We shall introduce ourselves and ascertain what treatment you are hoping to have. We shall take a history and ask you to sign a consent form after answering any questions you may have. We shall agree in advance on fees. There are significant discounts for complete packages.
In the treatment room you will be asked to put on protective eyewear. You may have one companion with you. We may need to do a test patch – to ascertain whether you are able to tolerate the treatment without side-effect.
Treatments variably last from less than 3 minutes for an upper lip, 5 minutes for each armpit, 30 minutes for a complete ‘Hollywood’, 60 minutes for a whole leg and 75 minutes for a man’s back. All are much quicker in standard mode. A follow-up appointment will be arranged between three and six weeks later. 4th, 5th and 6th treatments may need to be spaced months apart if there is no new growth. This is where we score highly against other package deals that treat on a 6 weekly basis regardless of the presence or absence of anagen hair.
How do I pay?
Payment will be requested at the end of each treatment session and will be by cash or card. We are able to take most credit and debit cards. We do not accept cheques. A receipt will be issued.
What is the dress protocol?
Please wear white underwear – the laser can set fire to black clothing if it comes into contact – although we would never do that! When lasering intimate areas a G-String may be worn but is likely to get dampened by the contact jelly. We generally use a strip of paper towel subtly positioned to protect the most important bits. This also allows for some tension on the skin in the area. You will be asked at times to help stretch the skin to assist the operator. All very elegant – as these things are!
Can I catch anything?
We are scrupulously clean – as you would expect from practising Doctors, Nurses and Beauty Therapists.
Can you do fine sculpting below the eyebrows in the orbit?
No – the Soprano laser head is too large and would pose a risk to the eyeball. We can do the midline of the eyebrows and above. The skin is masked with tape or white eye-liner.
Will I need Maintenance?
Just as seeds in the soil can germinate after months and years the same applies to resting hair follicles. In the weeks after a treatment you are often completely hair free. There will be a few follicles that sprout and grow into darker hairs and there is usually a fine downy hair. Most people find that a once or twice yearly top up is enough to maintain over 90% reduction long term. We offer cheap special rates for anyone that has paid for a complete course. If you have PCOS then you will always need more regular top ups especially on the face.
Our prices are highly competitive being on average 30% less than many of the major chains and certainly below the prices being charged in areas where the Soprano is well established against the competition. We do not offer ‘essential aftercare products’ that cost the salons very little but are promoted as being worth large sums. No frills just results – and we are directly accountable for the quality of our results!
In the medium to long-term you will save yourself money, inconvenience and discomfort by investing in this treatment.