The five most common mistakes made by hair removal therapists.

By Raymond Schoeman.

  1. Do not know how to dose fluence during a ‘pain-free’ treatment with the gliding technique.
  2. Do not know how to use pulse duration to increase results.
  3. Believe that gel is essential for a laser hair removal treatment, and use it to the extent that it causes diminished results.
  4. Do not know how to convert from the gliding method to the stepping method.
  5. Do not know how to use cooling for increased results and client comfort.

Do not know how to dose fluence during a ‘pain-free’ treatment with the gliding technique.

This is the most common reason why a laser hair removal treatment will result in no results or disappointing results. In everyday language, it means under-treatment.

For laser hair removal to work, you need to treat the whole area with sufficient energy to kill the dermal papilla. It is therefore important that you calculate the correct fluence. Fluence is the Joules that you give to the skin per square centimetre, J/cm2.

Most treatments done daily range between severely under-treated to under-treated. This translates to no results, or at best some temporary shedding.

Do not know how to use pulse duration to increase results.

Most types of laser treatments require a very short pulse duration to destroy the target, without causing harm to the surrounding tissue. Makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s NOT the case with laser hair removal.

Laser hair removal uses the hair as an element to heat and destroy the surrounding tissue. It is not the hair that needs to be destroyed, it’s the dermal papilla.

For a good result, you need to give enough time to heat up the hair. Once you have the desired heat created in the hair root, you need to give it time to spread to the surrounding tissue. The surrounding tissue needs to heat up to a minimum temperature for a minimum duration to cause enough destruction to the dermal papilla to prevent future hair growth. This all takes time.

Believe that gel is essential for a laser hair removal treatment and use it to the extend that it causes diminished results

Some energy based treatments, like HIFU, absolutely require conductance gel (usually called cooling gel) for the treatment. This is not the case with laser hair removal.

Anything on the skin that the light has to travel through has an effect on the light, and often not for the better. These gels are water based and water refracts, reflects and absorbs some light.

There are various reasons why using gel is sensible, but to improve results is not one of them. When you use gel during a treatment, you have to make sure the benefits the gel brings to the treatment outweighs the disadvantage caused by the gel.

Do not know how to convert from the gliding method to the stepping method.

Just as you need to know how to apply the correct amount of energy as mentioned in point one. You need to know how to calculate the energy settings when you switch between the gliding method and the stepping method.

The gliding method is of limited usefulness in a course of laser hair removal treatments, and using the method excessively will cause a plateau in the results your client will have.

Do not know how to use cooling for increased results and client comfort.

Another great misperception is the idea that the machine offers sufficient skin, cooling and additional cooling will have a negative effect on your treatment.

Diode lasers offer skin cooling as a default feature. But, the main reason for cooling in most handpieces of a diode lasers, is to keep the diodes from overheating. Very few machines actually offer dedicated and sufficient skin cooling.

Since most laser hair removal therapists had no scientific training, very few realize the reason why pain-free treatments deliver result-free unhappy clients. It is the task of the therapist to create a comfortable, well tolerable, treatment for the client, that also delivers results.

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