Applying the correct techniques is an essential part of the laser hair removal process. It is important for maintaining safety standards, effective treatment, and time management. Improper techniques can not only land you in a lot of trouble but can result in dissatisfaction or even injury to your client. This blog is going to cover some important things you should be doing whether you’ve been in the laser hair removal industry for years, or you are just starting out.
Gridlines are one of the most basic techniques you should be using as you conduct treatment. But their simplicity shouldn’t take away from their importance. Gridlines allow you to easily manage areas of the skin, allowing you to identify treated and untreated areas, and helps you assess the effectiveness of treatment more accurately.
Gridlines give you more flexibility in your treatment process – even when there are distractions during the treatment you will be able to identify where you have and haven’t been treated. As you treat each area of the gird you have drawn it is a good idea to physically tick it off, so you don’t go over the same area twice.
As you start the treatment be sure to check how the patient’s skin is reacting to the treatment. A good response would be follicular oedema and follicular erythema, these will cause follicles to swell up and turn a pink/red colour. It is also important to keep an eye out for a negative response, this could be burning, swelling, rash, or itching.
Laser hair removal relies on the transfer of energy between the laser head and the skin to damage hair follicles and stops them from growing. Without proper contact, some of this energy is lost and causes a reduction in treatment quality. For the correct skin contact, you should be holding the applicator at a 90-degree angle to the skin as you pass over it. Keeping it perpendicular stops the laser from being reflected and allows it to be fully absorbed into the area you are treating – there can be up to a 70% loss of energy if the beam is not penetrating at the right angle!
As you pass the laser head over the skin make sure to apply the correct amount of pressure while following the contours of the body. This affects the focal point of the laser – highly important for achieving maximum effectiveness. The head of the applicator will have a built-in gauge that is designed to focus the laser at the right distance (this changes depending on the skin type you are treating) to heat the hair follicles effectively. But for this to work, the handpiece must be passing over the skin at the right pressure – too little and the laser may not be effective, too much and it may cause burns.
Surprisingly, skimming over the skin too quickly can cause burning to the top layer of the skin. This is because the laser beam cannot penetrate the deeper tissue and into the hair follicles, instead, it just focuses its energy on the epidermis which is much more prone to burn injuries. Following the contours of the body will mean the applicator will be able to flow over the skin – even in hard-to-treat areas. This will help towards providing a more even finish to the treatment, are reduce the chance of patchiness.
The correct level of pressure should also make it much easier to identify areas that you have treated. As the skin will redden slightly after sufficient exposure to the laser you can use this to visualise where you have treated and where you need to treat next.
Though it is important to avoid overtreating an area, it is also important that there are not areas that are missed. Certain techniques such as the honeycomb technique are designed to provide a 20-30% overlap between areas you have treated. This is something that should be monitored closely to produce the best result for the customer.
When marking out areas whether you are using gridlines, the honeycomb technique, or any other method, it is important to consider how you plan to overlap and the amount of overlap you think you will need. This percentage overlap will vary depending on the area you are treating, the type of skin your customer has, and the application head you are using – but the same concept remains. Taking the Alma Soprano Ice for example, this laser device is supplied with four types of laser head ranging from a Speed 810nm head to a facial tip head. Each of the four heads will require a different level of overlap to provide the best treatment. Typically, as the head reduces in size you will have a slightly lower level of overlap to avoid damaging the treated skin.
Applying the correct techniques to all laser treatments is one of the most important factors to consider when there is a customer in your treatment chair. It can be the difference between a successful session, and a disastrous one. You should always take time to prepare the areas of skin you are going to treat and make a mental plan of how you will complete the treatment once the laser is switched on. Laser equipment can be very dangerous if used incorrectly, however with the right method and procedures in place you can give your customers unbeatable results every time!
Expanding Your Laser Potential
If you are new to the laser hair removal industry, or just want to develop your existing skills even further, our Laseraid training program might be for you. Our dedicated laser device training is for all levels of laser technician, designed to give you the skills and the confidence you need to run or work in a professional laser treatment environment. For more information on how we can help you reach your laser treatment goals just get in touch!