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Okemos Michigan Plastic Surgeons Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

Permanent Hair Removal

Treatment with StarLux Intense Pulse Light

Our EpiLaser was the first in Michigan, and one of the first in the Midwest. We have been performing hair removal since 1997 and now use the StarLux, the most powerful intense pulse light system (IPL). More than 1 million patients have been treated worldwide, and we (at Trillium) have performed more than 5000 treatments for over 1000 patients. With the StarLux, we are now able to treat those patients with darker skin with no complications.

The StarLux has been FDA approved to "cause permanent reduction of the hair follicles." Most patients can expect at least 90% permanent hair loss after 4-13 treatments, depending upon the patient and the area treated.

Studies have shown that over 85% of patients experience cessation of hair growth for over 10 years, which researchers believe is permanent. Less than 5% of patients will be "non-responders" and will not respond to IPL treatment.

The IPL removes hairs that are in the active growth cycle. Not all hairs are in the active growth cycle at the same time. Multiple treatments are required to disable all of the hair follicles in a particular area. The effect of each treatment is cumulative. After the first treatment, most patients will have re-growth after 4-6 weeks. Four to thirteen treatments are usually required for satisfactory clearing of hair. Re-treatments should only be done when visible re-growth appears. Naturally gray, white, blond, and red hairs do not respond to IPL treatment.

Previous electrolysis and shaving do not affect IPL treatments. Treatment cannot be performed within one month of plucking or waxing. The cost of treatment is usually much less than the cost of electrolysis, over a period of time. IPL is less painful than electrolysis or waxing, since entire large areas can be treated during a single session. It is also much faster than electrolysis (10 minutes for the upper lip).

Before IPL Treatment

A consultation is required and a test spot will be performed. Visible hair or stubble will be required on your consultation date in order to determine hair color and density. Treatment will be scheduled after the consultation, on a different day. Smaller areas may be able to be treated on your consultation date.

Avoid tanning (if possible) for at least 4 weeks before the procedure. If you are tan, we may not be able to perform your treatment. If possible, for at least one month prior to treatment, use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen on exposed areas to be treated. Do not wax, pluck or have electrolysis for at least 4 weeks before treatment. You may use a depilatory cream or shave the area during this 4 week period.

Day of Treatment

The area should be shaved just prior to the treatment. If you arrive to your appointment unshaved, there will be an additional charge. This is an office procedure. Wear loose, washable, comfortable clothing.

Some patients find ice packs very comforting when they arrive home after treatment. Small plastic bags of peas or corn (available at any grocery) work very well. Aloe "sunburn gel" with topical anesthetic (lidocaine) often helps during the first 24 hours.

1 to 3 Days After Treatment

The treated area may be moderately red (like a new sunburn) and possibly tender. Cold or ice packs placed on the treated area are very helpful in reducing the "sunburn feeling." In more than 66% of patients, these reactions usually subside in 8-12 hours. For the other 33% of patients, these reactions may last 12-24 hours, depending on the individual patient. You may shower and wash the area with mild soap. The skin should be patted dry and not rubbed. Some patients experience itching. Antihistamines such as Benadryl may be taken for 1-3 days if required. Discomfort is usually very minimal. You may take acetaminophen or other over the counter pain medicines if required.

4 Days to 3 Weeks After IPL Treatment

The hair often seems to "grow out" at 3-10 days after treatment. This usually is "dead" hair, and will easily rub or gently pull out. This is not hair re-growth, but represents the old hair from the follicle. This hair falls away from the skin easily with gentle rubbing. Most patients require re-treatment when re-growth begins (usually in 4-6 weeks). The effect of further hair growth cycle varies with age, sex, body site and hormonal factors.

Possible Complications

Some lightening or darkening of the skin in the treated area may take place in some patients, increased (darker) pigmentation or decreased (lighter). This is almost always temporary, and should resolve in 2-4 weeks or less. 3% (3 in 100) patients will have hyperpigmentation lasting weeks (usually those with darker skin). For some patients in this group, the color changes can last 6-8 weeks before it resolves. These color changes are almost always temporary, but may rarely be permanent. Less than .2% (1 in 500) patients treated have had permanent color changes. "Unblocked" sun exposure greatly increases the risk of these color changes and should be avoided.

Freckles and pigmented lesions in the treated area may temporarily or permanently disappear.

Although unlikely, you may ask us to remove hair from an area where you later desire hair. In other words, we expect the hair removal to be permanent, with hair loss in this area forever. This may sound silly, but you must assume that the hair growth in that area will NEVER be normal again.

DO NOT schedule IPL treatment within 2 days of an important social function, travel, reunions, anniversaries or public appearances. The treated area, especially if exposed, may be obvious.

Patients Who May Not Be Treated with IPL

  • Naturally white, red, blond or gray hair
  • Electrolysis or waxing of the treated area within 4 weeks of IPL treatment
  • History of keloid scarring
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Facial treatment in those with very heavy freckling or "mask of pregnancy"
  • Poor circulation
  • Failure to take pre-operative anti-viral medications (patients with a history of herpes)
  • Use of Accutane, Tegison or Aciterin within one year of treatment
  • Failure to sign the consent form

Comparison of Hair Removal Methods

Hair Removal Method Speed Duration of Removal Discomfort Needles, Chemicals or Pulling Used? Cost/Year (upper lip)
Shaving Very Fast 1-2 days None-Mild No Less than $50
Depilatories Varies 1-2 weeks Significant Yes $100+
Waxing Varies 3-4 weeks Significant Yes $400+
Electrolysis Very Slow Permanent Significant Yes $400-$1000
Plucking Very Slow 3-4 weeks Significant Yes Minimal
IPL Very Fast Permanent None-Mild No $500-$700

Comparison of Treatment Time:
IPL Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis

Area IPL Time Electrolysis Time
Legs or Back 1 hour 30-60 hours
Lower Arms 30 minutes 20-30 hours
Underarms 20 minutes 10-15 hours
Chin 15 minutes 2-10 hours
Upper Lip 10 minutes 2-6 hours
Lower Abdomen 20 minutes 10-15 hours
Bikini Lines 30 minutes 10-15 hours

(Typical Cost for Electrolysis is $45 to $60 per hour)


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2211 Association Dr
Okemos, MI