Isn’t body hair one of our womanly woes? How similar we are to men about having body hair but somehow we are all so conscious about it! For some reason, it is expected of us to be ‘hairless’ too! So there we go spending money on hair removals such as plucking, threading, waxing, shaving and just about every product out there that claims to be able to remove hair effectively.
Laser hair removal is not new to the market but for some reason, we lack education and awareness on it. Even after celebrity endorsements and spokespersons we are still practically nearly clueless about the differences: what is IPL laser? What’s laser? What’s Nd:YAG? Diode?? Huh? Permanent? Semi-permanent?
You would have noticed (if you follow me on Instagram) that I recently went to try out the laser hair removal treatment at Anggun Medi-klinik. Interestingly, it was also educational for me as I also met with Asilah, the Sales Executive who supplies the laser machine to clinics in Malaysia!
First of all, there are several kinds of treatments for semi-permanent hair removal. The common one you’ve probably heard about is IPL. But what is the difference between that and the technology used at Anggun Medi-klinik?
First of all, IPL and laser hair removal is similar but not the same. While both uses light energy, IPL is a broad spectrum visible light with filters to cut off short wave-lengths, whereas lasers emit a specific wave-length (pure light consisting of one single color and form) to target hair and can travel deeper down into the hair follicle – making it a more effective method of treatment for hair removal.
LONG PULSED Nd:YAG
How does these laser technology effectively remove hair? The machine used by Dr. Siti at her clinic is called GentleMax Pro, which is made in the US by Candela. GentleMax Pro is the GOLD STANDARD for hair removal, and this is why it is widely used by professional dermatologist and hair removal specialist from all over the world.
It is a long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser machine that delivers long pulse energy that effectively penetrates deep into the skin and converts into heat, absorbed by areas of high pigment/melanin/haemoglobin such as hair and veins. Heat destroys the hair follicle and this results in a stunted growth!
GentleMax Pro by Candela all the way from USA!
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
First of all, I’ve only had one session, so I can hardly be the best testimonial for you – until I start showing results in 4 weeks or so. But being the dream-doctorate student I am, I did a fair bit of Googling and came across several researches (1) (2) that found this technology to be effective ESPECIALLY on our Asian hair/skin type.
In my experience with IPL in the past, I did not see a significant reduction in hair growth. In fact after all the sessions, I went back to waxing because my hair was growing as usual. And all these while I did not understand what the difference was all about. For me, I understood IPL as just another kind of laser treatment out there.
My visit to the clinic today told me otherwise. Our Asian skin and hair types are relatively different and not one laser/light treatment could benefit every person the same way. Apparently IPL could be relatively effective for the fairer skinned, there are in fact few patientswho had rather traumatic experience after IPL treatments such as burns!
The GentleMax Pro Long-Pulsed Nd:YAG laser technology is in fact FDA approved for ALL SKIN TYPES. Which means it is not only among the most effective method of hair removal out there, it is also the SAFEST as it isn’t bias to a skin/hair type. Apart from that, Dr. Siti also mentioned that it is the better choice over diode or IPL.
WAS IT PAINFUL?
It wasn’t. But since I had my lower legs laser-ed, that probably isn’t the best feedback for pain. It was mentioned that underarms, upper lip and Brazilian would hurt a little more as it is a more delicate area. (I’m already super considering Brazilian………).
On my legs, I could feel slight pain on certain areas but something really insignificant like being touched with a warm plate. In fact, the pain does not linger at all and goes away in just seconds.
Usually with laser machines, there would be a separate machine that blows cold air on the treatment spot to soothe (remember it converts into heat?). But with the GentleMax Pro, it is in fact built in as well! Which means, with every light pulse delivered on my legs by Dr. Siti, I also feel a blast of cool air on the spot. Fancy!
WHAT CAN WE DO OR CANNOT DO WHILE UNDERGOING THIS TREATMENT?
There are a few dos and don’ts that comes with the treatment and it can affect how effective it is, the end results as well as any side effects that you may experience after. So take note of these before/after your treatment!
Prior to the treatment
– no tanning prior to treatment or sunburn.
– no waxing or plucking (only shaving)
– avoid tanning/swimming/sun exposure/sweating after the treatment
– moisturise/hydrate skin well to avoid dry/itchy skin
– no chemical peels/laser treatments for the next 2 weeks
– no plucking/shaving. only waxing.
I will touch on a few things here to explain further why post-care is extremely important. Firstly, how the laser works to permanently reduce/stunt hair growth. The laser, which converts into heat, is targeted on the hair follicles. Remember in the beginning I mention how these laser tech works by light being absorbed by pigmented/melanin, like our dark hair? YEP. If you were to pluck or wax, the hair is removed from the follicle. It is unlikely the laser will be absorbed by anything to kill that hair follicle. When you shave, you are only removing hair from the surface, so the laser is still able to target the follicles underneath your skin.
Secondly. It is fairly common for you to experience itchiness and dry skin after the treatment. I have sensitive skin and it is nearly normal for me to experience redness after ANY treatment for that matter, especially on my face. After my first session yesterday, I had red itchy spots (like rashes) which did itch for a bit but subsided after an hour or so. It is a common side effect. As such, swimming (chlorine), tanning and sweating (exercising) could further irritate the skin – so avoid at all cause for 24-48 hours. Just keep hydrating your skin to avoid this problem.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO TAKE NOTE OF
- Hair cycle. It is important to understand that all hair goes through a life cycle of active growth before it stops and fall out. Lasers work only when hair is in a anagen (active) phase. This is why you are recommended to come back for multiple sessions. It is said that roughly about 20% of our hair at any given time is in the anagen phase. Multiple sessions are needed at about 4 weeks interval to tackle the follicles that are in the active phase if you want to see lasting results.
- Health. Hair growth is influenced by many things including hormone imbalances, medication, illnesses etc. Hirsutism, a symptom of PCOS women, happens where there is an imbalance of hormone in women. This results in excessive body hair growth for some and is an important factor to consider when weighing the potential results from undergoing laser treatment. Take note that not everyone may experience similar reduction in hair growth after this treatment. Some may require more treatments.
More reads: Colaz
Dr. Siti explained that a session can costs anywhere from RM250 (upper lip) to RM800 per area. Depending on individual, she recommends you get a package as it would be cheaper and spread out over a long period. Remember that you would need to repeat sessions every month (depending on person) so expect that you would only see near permanent results after a couple of months. However, I was told that you would be able to notice a change as early as the 1stt treatment! So, yes. DYING to see it in the next 4 weeks!
Regardless of the possibilities, the GentleMax Pro that utilises long-pulsed Nd:YAG technology is among the best and most effective out there. It is also the safest in terms of tackling different skin types as the machine has individual settings to suit each person. Below is a photo of the settings on the Candela GentleMax Pro.
If you would like to consider investing in laser hair removal for a more permanent results, do consider going to a clinic like Anggun Medi-klinik, who utilizes this technology. Especially if you are of Asian descent, with darker skin and coarser hair. As these treatments are costly, you wouldn’t want to be investing in a treatment that isn’t going to give you positive results.
Anggun Medi-Klinik is located in Wangsa Maju, just behind Wangsa Walk. There are ample parking spaces at Wangsa Walk for only RM1 for the first three hours. Very convenient!
(I think they are opening a branch at Cyberjaya soon! YAY ME!)
Apart from laser hair removal, Anggun Medi-klinik also provides services for aesthetic and cosmetic treatments as well as medical and surgical treatments.
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday: 9am – 7pm | Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 4pm
Address: GF no 29, Jalan Wangsa Delima 12, Pusat Bandar Wangsa Maju 53300 Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Contact Number: +603-4141 6588, +6017 – 956 2411 (Whatsapp)