Frequently Asked Questions
The answers you need
Are there any side effects?
Slight erythema is observed and will disappear after a few days without additional treatment. The pigmented areas will become darker around three days after the treatment. It gives a “dirty look” which will persist for 7 – 10 days after treatment. It can be covered with make-up.
Are there any particular conditions that I should be aware of?
Pigment in the skin (and in Asian skin, the possibility of hidden melasma) should always be investigated using a Woods Lamp (ultra-violet light source) to distinguish between epidermal and dermal problems.
Why do hairs appear to grow after the treatment?
Unlike laser treatment, hairs are not evaporated during Ellipse treatments. The hair follicles are destroyed but the hairs remain in the follicles and are often attached to the epidermis. They will fall out after 1-3 weeks as the epidermis is renewed. During this period it will seem that the hairs are growing as the epidermis pulls them out. It is possible to show that the hair will fall out, by easily lifting it out with tweezers. This is important information to your patients, and they should be advised not to expect an instantaneous result.
Which skin types can be treated for hair removal?
I can treat patient from Skin Type 1 through to 3 with hair removal.
Which patients can be treated?
Black hairs are most easily treated due to the large concentration of melanin in these hairs, which gives an optimal absorption and conversion of light energy to heat. Fair hairs have less melanin and consequently less heat is produced with less certainty of permanent destruction of the hair follicles. Grey (white) and red hairs have no or very low content of melanin, and cannot be efficiently treated. The upper skin layer, the epidermis, also contains melanin and the concentration increases when the skin is exposed to UV-light. It is therefore necessary to treat dark-skinned and tanned individuals with less energy to avoid generation of heat (pain and/or burns). The ideal patient is fair skinned with dark hairs, but the Ellipse computer has pre-programmed treatment suggestions for different hair and pigment types.
Is permanent hair removal possible?
Ellipse has conducted a 10 year follow-up study which indeed documents the long term efficacy of our patented Selective Waveband Technology for hair removal. See our white paper on this. Hair management and hair reduction are increasingly the terms used. After the first treatment most patients get significant reduction in hair density. Hairs which re-grow tend to become finer and lighter in colour. It is important to know and to inform patients that the first treatment is believed to synchronise the growth phase of the non-growing hairs. This causes what seems to be re-growth – but what happens is that the remaining “resting” hairs start growing at the same time.
Is it possible to remove male back hair?
It is possible to remove the hair, but not the reason that future hair will grow. High testosterone levels mean that many men will continue to form new hair until their late thirties. This may result in new hair appearing after treatment. Consider hair management to remove the existing hair on a regular basis.
Is hair removal possible if the client is pregnant?
If a client is pregnant, it is suggested that she waits until 2-3 months after she has given birth to begin treatment. At this time hair growth is synchronised, which means that she has an increased number of visible hairs, making the treatment much more effective.
Is any post treatment care necessary?
Generally the answer is “no”. Many physicians suggest that patients with sensitive skin may benefit from a single application of glucocorticoid cream immediately after treatment and antiseptic cream for a few days.
How many treatments are needed for permanent hair removal?
No-one can guarantee permanent removal of all hairs. It is possible to remove the hairs, but not the reason that hairs grow. It is better to think of hair reduction (hair management) than hair removal. Only hairs in the growing phase can be treated, successfully with Ellipse. The length and timing of the growth cycles are affected by numerous factors such as body site, hair density, thickness, ethnic origin, hormonal level and age. Usually 3 – 6 treatments are needed and the intervals between treatments are typically 1 – 3 months.
Does the patient need to shave prior to treatment?
All hair should be shaved prior to treatment. The only hair that can be unshaven is facial hair. Please note that I can not remove Red, White or Grey hair.
Can patients suffering from Polycyctic Ovary Syndrome be treated?
Yes they can, but they need more treatments – up to 20 due to the hormone levels.
Can you treat Acne Vulgaris?
No. I can only treat teen acne.
Is it possible to do tattoo removal using Ellipse?
No, it is not possible.
Why do some patients get hyper-pigmentation?
Hyper-pigmentation is not a common side effect, but has been observed. It can be striped (if a build-up of gel is allowed) or will follow the shape of the applicator, or that part of the applicator in touch with the skin (both of these tend to be rectangular). If too aggressive energy settings are used – especially in the forehead and on the jaw line, hyper-pigmentation may occur lasting around one month. Less commonly hyper-pigmentation can occur following treatment with a dirty applicator that may have hairs, gel and dust stuck on the glass prism. Hyper-pigmentation can also occur if adequate sun-protection is not used 30 days after treatment.
Is it safe to perform treatment in patients with thyroid problems?
Yes, treatment is safe provided that patients are not on medication where photosensitivity is contraindicated.
Is it safe to get treatment while pregnant?
Yes, the light will penetrate at maximum 3,5mm into the skin and only if the light guide is applied directly to the skin as you would do in a treatment. So even if you were receiving a treatment the light would not reach the baby. When you are preforming the treatments the light guide is pointed away from you and your clothes will furthermore prevent the light from reaching your skin.
Is it possible to treat patients suffering from psoriasis?
Ellipse cannot treat psoriasis, but the light has a healing effect on the plaques, so it is not dangerous to treat over it. Beware of the stronger absorption by haemoglobin if the plaques are red in colour.
Is it necessary to cool the gel?
It is recommended to keep the gel at room temperature as cold gel applied to the skin will result in a contraction of vessels and produce inferior results.
Why is gel used?
A thin layer of gel is applied to the skin prior to treatment to ensure the best possible transmission of light from the applicator to the skin. To remove bubbles in the gel the applicator is moved back and forth a few times in the gel before the treatment is started.