By now, we should know that hair removal is very much possible — it’s just a matter of finding the best hair removal technique that’s efficient, as pain-free as possible and safe.
For years, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy was marketed as the go-to for hair removal in Singapore. Then came along laser hair removal, which proved to be more favourable compared to IPL due to its ability to focus on a treatment area resulting in safer treatments, as well as its pigment-absorbing laser technology which works on darker skin types too. The most recent advancement to this range of treatments is Super Hair Removal or SHR, the latest laser hair removal technology in Singapore that promises painless and effective permanent hair removal.
What is SHR or Super Hair Removal?
Like laser hair removal, super hair removal uses pulses of light energy to permanently destroy or damage hair follicles. Super hair removal, however, adopts gentler pulses of energy at a higher frequency. This allows the skin to be heated gently, but due to the rapid pulses, energy is accumulated by the skin. 50% of this accumulated energy is targeted at the melanin in hair, and the other 50% goes to stem cells responsible for hair production. These stem cells are what causes hair growth; by destroying them, hair can no longer grow.
An important point to note too is that super hair removal targets both fine and coarse hairs due to the gradual accumulation of laser energy into the skin, making it suitable for everyone regardless of skin colour. In fact, because it’s so gentle on the skin, super hair removal is possibly the gold standard for Brazilian hair removal.
So is super hair removal some sort of groundbreaking technology?
Not just groundbreaking but unique too. While regular lasers like the Nd:YAG laser —which carries a 1064-nm pulse— has consistently shown positive effects, it’s frequently been reported among darker skin individuals to have slight pain. Super hair removal laser on the other hand utilizes an 810-nm-powered diode laser based on unbundled light and is therefore not a classic laser depilation.
Despite working in a low-fluency pulse emission, super hair removal’s high repetition rate of short pulses delivers deep into the dermis, heating the dermis to a temperature high enough to effectively damage the hair follicles. This prevents regrowth while avoiding injury to surrounding tissue. The super hair removal procedure also carries virtually no pain, part in thanks to the applicator that’s equipped with a Sapphire Dual Chill Window Technology. This anti-reflective sapphire crystal technology, which uses pure water to filter away high infrared areas of light, acts as a cooling system that cools the skin’s surface to prevent superficial burns.
Best of all, the high speed and frequency of super hair removal technology create shorter treatment times — it takes about 5 to 15 minutes on a small body part and 20 to 30 minutes on the average person’s back!
Does this mean that super hair removal is suitable for everyone?
Yes, super hair removal has proven to be suitable for all hair and skin types based on the 6 Fitzpatrick’s skin types.
A recent 6-month study(1) carried over 5 treatments with an 810-nm diode laser proved super hair removal to be highly effective. The study, tested on 400 patients between 19-58 years of age, showed 75% patient satisfaction. Patients reported that hair fell off gradually after each laser session, and after just two sessions, there was delayed to no regrowth in hair on the areas treated. Further, dark skin patients showed no difference in terms of efficacy and pain from fair skin patients.
Unfortunately, though, it should be noted that tattooed areas cannot be treated with super hair removal. The colours in a tattoo could react to the treatment and could lead to a colour change. As such, we encourage tattoos to be covered and left out during a super hair removal treatment.
Patients are also recommended to shave before treatments. Do not epilate or pluck out hair 4 weeks before treatment, otherwise, there is no connection to the hair root!
What’s the difference between IPL, laser hair removal and super hair removal?
Laser hair removal and super hair removal on principle work about the same, except super hair removal utilises a different applicator with a different laser technology. IPL on the other hand uses light energy instead of laser energy.
|IPL||Laser Hair Removal||Super Hair Removal|
|Covers a wider range of treatment area; less focused on target area||Able to focus on target area with precision; does not expose other areas to unnecessary light radiation||Able to focus on target area with precision; does not damage surrounding tissues and utilises an additional cooling gel technology|
|Produces a wide wavelength of light||Produces a specific type of light consisting of one wavelength||Produces a specific type of light at low energy and high frequency; laser energy is split evenly between melanin and stem cells|
|Requires 10-15 sessions||Requires 6-10 sessions||Requires 5-7 sessions|
|More affordable||More costly||Comparable with laser hair removal|
|Slight discomfort||Painless procedure||Painless procedure|
|Effective only for fair skin||Effective for all skin types||Effective for all skin types except tattooed skin|
Which hair removal treatment is the best?
The truth is, although we posit lasers as the better option for hair removal, it depends on factors like your budget, pain tolerance level and personal preferences.
If the hair you wish to remove is in the anagen (active) phase of hair growth, IPL can easily do the trick. If the hair you wish to remove is however in the non-anagen (phase), super hair removal is your best bet — though this method can work on active hairs too. Nevertheless, regardless of the treatment method, treatment sessions for each procedure have to be spaced in between a few weeks for optimum results.
- Josefina Royo 1, Fernándo Urdiales, Javier Moreno, Marwan Al-Zarouni, Paloma Cornejo, Mario A Trelles. Six-month follow-up multicenter prospective study of 368 patients, phototypes III to V, on epilation efficacy using an 810-nm diode laser at low fluence. Lasers Med Sci. 2011 Mar;26(2):247-55. doi: 10.1007/s10103-010-0846-1.