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IPL hair removal is the latest technology for hair removal. Number of clinical studies have proven that IPL technology is very effective in permanently reducing hair growth and suitable for long term epilation. Comparison to laser revealed that IPL is superior to ruby laser. There are still number of questions in regards of using RF and microwave technology for long term hair removal.






CLINICAL STUDY # 1: Hair reduction using an intense pulsed light irradiator and a normal mode ruby laser.

Source: Journal of Cutaneous Laser Therapy published by Martin Dunitz Publishers, part of the Taylor & Francis Group. Volume 2, Number 2 / June 1, 2000, pages 63 – 71.

Participants: Peter Bjerring A1, Marie Cramers A1, Henrik Egekvist A1, Kaare Christiansen A1, Agneta Troilius A2 ; A1 Department of Dermatology, Marselisborg Hospital, University Hospital of Aarhus, Denmark; A2 Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Malmoe, Sweden

Objective: the main purpose of this clinical study was to compare the effectiveness of an intense pulsed light irradiator system (IPL) and a normal mode ruby laser for hair removal.

Materials and methods: thirty-one patients were treated 3 times with a new IPL system on one side of the chin and neck and with a normal mode ruby laser on the other side. After 6 months, nine of the patients received 3 additional IPL treatments and 11 patients received 3 additional ruby laser treatments. All treatment intervals were 2 months. Hair reduction was measured by hair counts on close-up photographs.

Results: hair reduction was obtained by 93.5% of the patients after 3 IPL treatments and by 54.8% after 3 ruby laser treatments. The average hair count was reduced by 49.3% after IPL treatments and by 21.3% after ruby laser treatments. Three additional IPL treatments following 3 IPL treatments resulted in only 6.6% further hair reduction - in total 55.9%, whereas 3 IPL treatments following 3 ruby laser treatments resulted in an additional 35.5% hair reduction - in total 56.8%.

Conclusions: the IPL was found to be 3.94 times more effective than the ruby laser for hair removal. In the chin and neck region, more than 3 treatments with the IPL did not improve the therapeutic result significantly

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CLINICAL STUDY II: One-year follow-up using an intense pulsed light source for long-term hair removal.

Source: Journal of Cutaneous Laser Therapy published by Martin Dunitz Publishers, part of the Taylor & Francis Group. Volume 1, Number 3 / September 1, 1999, pages 167 – 171.

Participants: Michael H Gold A1, Michael W Bell A1, Teresa D Foster A1, Sherri Street A1 ; A1 Gold Skin Care Centre, Nashville, TN, USA

Background: The long-term removal of unwanted hair is a challenge for health care providers. Peer-reviewed scientific data for many of the hair removal laser systems is lacking.

Objective: This paper provides a chronicle of 24 of the 31 patients who participated in the original 3-month trial for hair removal utilizing an intense pulsed light source.

Methods: A total of 24 of the original 31 patients who took part in the one treatment, 3-month, intense pulsed light trial were examined again at 1 year following the treatment.

Results: Long-term epilation of 75% hair removal was found in this group of patients after 1 year with a single treatment.

Conclusion: The intense pulsed light source is an effective method for providing long-term epilation of unwanted hair.

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CLINICAL STUDY III: Hair removal with a second generation broad spectrum intense pulsed light source – a long-term follow-up.

Source: Journal of Cutaneous Laser Therapy published by Martin Dunitz Publishers, part of the Taylor & Francis Group, Volume 1, Number 3 / September 1, 1999, pages 173 - 178

Participants: Agneta Troilius A1 and Carl Troilius A2 ; A1 Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden; A2 Plastic Surgery Centre, Malmö, Sweden

Background: There is an increasing demand for safe and efficient hair removal. Although long-term hair removal has been demonstrated using lasers and non-coherent light sources, permanent hair removal has been difficult to claim due to the long growth/rest cycle of normal human hair follicles.

Objective: To evaluate bikini line hair removal with a second generation intense pulsed light (IPL) source.

Method: Ten females (20 bikini lines) with dark hair and skin types II-IV were treated with an IPL (600 nm) four times with a 1-month interval. Counting of the hair follicles was carried out with a computer imaging system before treatment, and 4 and 8 months after the treatments.

Results: Hair reduction of 74.7% (SD - 18.3%) was seen 4 months after the treatments and 80.2% (SD - 20.3%) 8 months after the last treatment. Only minimal side effects were noted and no pain or other discomfort was registered during the treatments.

Conclusion: The present study demonstrated that this new IPL system is both efficient and safe for hair removal. Because the follow up period of 8 months is twice the cycle time for hairs in the bikini line area, the obtained hair reduction in this study was long-lasting.

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FCC, 1999 Title: Questions and answers about biological effects and potential hazards of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields

Authors: FCC Office of Engineering & Technology

Publication: FCC BULLETIN 56 (Fourth Edition), August 1999

Affiliated institution: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

As per quote from the bulletin: "More recently, other scientific laboratories in North America, Europe and elsewhere have reported certain biological effects after exposure of animals ("in vivo") and animal tissue ("in vitro") to relatively low levels of RF radiation.

These reported effects have included certain changes in the immune system, neurological effects, behavioural effects, evidence for a link between microwave exposure and the action of certain drugs and compounds, a "calcium efflux" effect in brain tissue (exposed under very specific conditions), and effects on DNA.

Some studies have also examined the possibility of a link between RF and microwave exposure and cancer. Results to date have been inconclusive. While some experimental data have suggested a possible link between exposure and tumour formation in animals exposed under certain specific conditions, the results have not been independently replicated. In fact, other studies have failed to find evidence for a causal link to cancer or any related condition.

Further research is underway in several laboratories to help resolve this question. In general, while the possibility of "non-thermal" biological effects may exist, whether or not such effects might indicate a human health hazard is not presently known. Further research is needed to determine the generality of such effects and their possible relevance, if any, to human health. In the meantime, standards-setting organizations and government agencies continue to monitor the latest experimental findings to confirm their validity and determine whether alterations in safety limits are needed in order to protect human health."


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The science behind it: Microwave Hair Removal equipment uses microwaves like those used in microwave ovens. These are simply radio waves within a certain frequency range. They are absorbed by water, sugars and fats and cause vibration of molecules which results in heat. This means that all water and fat in your skin (not just the area around your hair follicle) can heat up, possibly getting to your blood cells and damaging your sweat and oil glands.

The good news: Can treat all hair colours.

The bad news: Extremely limited data on safety and effectiveness (especially for use on face) make this equipment very dangerous, at least until there's more data available on its safety and effectiveness. Once waves reach and penetrate through the skin, microwaves target everything in the skin (all cells). Pulses are delivered to all tissue non-discriminatory (IPL selectively targets melanin, pigment in the hair [using the process called photo-thermolysis]).

Safety information: Cleared to use in 1999 by FDA: "The Microwave Medical Corporation, Microwave Delivery System (Model MMC-300) is designed for the removal of unwanted body hair except on facial areas. [emphasis FDA's]

This device is not for use on facial areas. Clinical data to date is not sufficient to demonstrate safety or effectiveness on facial areas." [source: ] Some reports recently have raised concerns about the unknown risks of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation taken in concentrated doses to the head and near the eyes. Microwaves have also been clinically proven to cause permanent eye damage in some subjects. More studies on the subject of safety is available.

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Ask your IPL therapist on your next visit to Shines & Shimmers if you wish to receive copies of these.

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