Benefits of Hair Removal with Sugaring versus Alternatives such as IPL and Laser

By: nimmaco August 16, 2017

Body Sugaring is one of the most effective, and almost painless, forms of hair removal. Sugaring only adheres to hair and dead skin cells so there is less trauma and minimal discomfort while removing hair and exfoliating the skin in the process, which also improves skin texture and tone.

A recent article published by JAMA Dermatology1 (Journal of the American Medical Association) has clearly endorsed Sugaring and encouraged Dermatologists to recommend Sugaring as a safe and effective method, especially for those with sensitive skin or unable to tolerate other more traumatic hair removal treatments.

Sugaring is Best – why try the rest?

While Sugaring provides the ‘Gold Standard’ for gentle and effective hair removal, there are a range of alternative hair removal methods currently available.  Many are ‘expensive and intensive’ to perform and have variable reviews in terms of success rates and client satisfaction. 

Much has been written on IPL versus Laser for hair removal.  So, what are these treatments?

Light based hair removal, including IPL (which stands for Intense Pulsed Light) and Laser use specific wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the pigment in your hair. The light travels down the hair shaft until it reaches the root, where the build up of heat kills the cells in the roots.

While IPL scatters the light rays and is less predictable, lasers provide an intense beam of light which is more effective. 

IPL uses a broad spectrum of high-intensity light which is emitted at multiple wavelengths, whereas Laser emits a single, focused wavelength for maximum follicle absorption.

What you need to know about IPL and Laser hair removal

The basic principles outlined above are that these treatments send light which is strong enough to change the way your body works, deep under your skin2.  Concern has been raised among Dermal Therapists about cut-price machines imported without regulation and the inherent dangers of burns and scarring.        

As with all light based treatments, IPL and Laser work in the same way as black clothing absorbs heat on a hot day. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair and quickly turns to heat which kills the growing cells that make the hair.  This can only work if the hair is attached to the root.  At any one time hairs are at different growth stages, which is why you need to have up to 12 treatments of expensive laser hair removal sessions to catch all the hairs in the different growth cycles3.

It is now generally accepted that as IPL produces a variety of light waves, it is less powerful, and is overall NOT very good for hair removal and only really works for those with fair skin and dark hair. 

Unlike IPL which only treats pale skin, some lasers will now treat hair removal on medium to dark skins.  However, Laser CANNOT remove fair hair or blonde, red, white or grey hairs3.

It is also important that if you have a tan you should stay away from any kind of IPL or Laser.  This means that you SHOULD NOT get Laser hair removal during the summer because skin gets exposed to the sun and is more prone to hypo and hyper pigmentation4.  Also, people with sensitive skin and those who are on medication that can cause photo sensitivity (such as antidepressants; some anti-biotics; & St John’s Wort), should absolutely avoid laser in the summer months.  It is also recommended to make sure you are not tanned for at least 3 weeks prior to laser hair removal.

In terms of discomfort, Laser is regarded as considerably less painful than IPL, but Laser can still feel “like being flicked with a hot elastic band3”.

The various home gadgets available have a limited power setting, so overall won’t give a good long term result.

Caution is also stressed for those with Tattoos who should definitely NOT use IPL or Laser which are attracted to dark pigments and can lead to blistering, scarring or a change in colour of your Tattoo artwork.

Sugaring is Best – why try the rest?

So back to our opening comments … Sugaring provides the ‘Gold Standard’ for gentle and effective hair removal.

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1Sugaring – Modern Revival of an Ancient Egyptian Technique for Hair Removal. 

JAMA Dermatology  June 2016  Volume 152, Number 6

2Joanna Barry, Women’s Health & Fitness Magazine On Line Edition

3Katy Young, The Telegraph – Lifestyle & Beauty, 14 January 2016

4Lauren Levinson, POPSUGAR, 27 June 2017