Before explaining the benefits of our technology, we should first give some background information of the biology and physics surrounding the whole concept of skin rejuvenation and hair removal using light and electrical heat.
The human skin and its associated conditions, many as a result of the ageing process and/or exposure to UV light (which our equipment filters out of course!) can be illustrated as follows:
There are 4 main targets in the epidermis (skin surface) and dermal (lower) areas that we wish to isolate in order to treat varying conditions, or to improve the appearance of our skin. These are:
- Haemoglobin in vessels
- Melanin in hair and pigmented lesions
- Collagen Fibres
- Elastin Fibres and Fat
These targets are reached and treated (either denatured as is the case with collagen when achieving skin rejuvenation; or destroyed as in the case of melanin when performing hair removal), via a process known as Selective Photothermolysis.
Photothermolysis was originally undertaken using Lasers (Laser being an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation).
Lasers have been used successfully and with great success in medicine for the past 30 years. However, advancements in physics have resulted in a variation of the technology now being used for many treatments, known as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). Whereas lasers emit a single narrow wavelength of light, IPL delivers hundreds of wavelengths of light. These varying wavelengths are selectively absorbed by different target cells in the skin, allowing many skin conditions to be treated with IPL technology as opposed to a more restricted treatment afforded by the narrow wavelength of a laser.
The difference between the concept of a laser beam and IPL light is shown below:
The absorption spectrum of IPL is narrowed to the wavelengths indicated below, thus cutting out the more harmful wavelengths in the spectrum including UV light.
Our advanced skin system works on the basis of the combined technology (emitted simultaneously) of MPL® (the latest generation of IPL) and Radio Frequency, and is referred to as electro-optical technology. Only a very small percentage of clinics in the UK have this advanced technology which is more extensively used in countries which are ahead of us in the area of aesthetic development, including the USA, Israel (where much of the R&D is concentrated), Spain, Italy, Canada, and the Far East. SkinFirst have been pioneering electro-optical technology in the UK for over 5 years, and own the registered trademark of MPL® for Multi-Pulsed Light.
Our skin system, which simultaneously delivers Multi Pulsed Light (MPL®) and bi-polar radio frequency, achieves outstanding results.
Electro-optical technology is the safest technology of this type on the market and is therefore more suitable for darker skins, which have a higher concentration of melanin (and hence a higher propensity towards hypo-pigmentation). It also achieves better results on lighter haired individuals (in hair removal mode) as it requires less melanin absorption to produce results.
How does combined electro-optical energy work?
The technology not only uses MPL® (advanced IPL) light energy to target cells in the skin for treatment (such as blood vessels for the removal of thread veins, or melanin for the removal of age spots) based on the principle described above of Photothermolysis; but it also uses a safe radio frequency wavelength to emit heat from within. Because the radio frequency does not heat the epidermis (surface area) of the skin, but penetrates deeper down within the dermis, following the path of least resistance created by the MPL®, the same or better treatment outcomes can be achieved using a lower energy of light emission. This can be illustrated as follows:
Because we are able to use a lower energy of MPL® to achieve the desired results (due to the fact that the RF energy is assisting the overall treatment), there is less likelihood that the melanin which is in the skin surface will be overly heated (because MPL® energy heats down from the epidermis whereas RF energy heats electrically from within). This makes it more suitable and safer for darker skinned individuals than traditional IPL systems alone; it also renders the possibility of removing lighter hairs greater. This is because there is less dependence on targeting the melanin in hair to destroy the hair follicle, as the radio frequency simultaneously heats the hair bulge to attack the hair on 2 fronts without raising the temperature of the epidermis. Not easy to follow in website text; so we have illustrated below how the technology would work in relation to hair removal and skin rejuvenation, which are two of our most popular treatments:
The basic anatomy of hair is illustrated below:
Hair has 3 distinct phases in the growth cycle, and it is only when individual hairs are in the active growing phase that they can be destroyed. Therefore at any point in time, not all hairs will be destroyed. Furthermore, new hairs can grow in addition to those that will subsequently enter an active growing phase. This is why a number of treatments are required for hair removal (depending on skin and hair type and area of the body/face being targeted).
As you can see from the diagram above, the melanin in the hair attracts the optical energy from the MPL® and that destroys the follicle. Because dark hair contains more melanin it is usually easier to treat. However, this holds most for those with fair skin and dark hair, as fair skin has little melanin in the epidermis (pigment) and the dark hair has plenty in the hair shaft, so the combination of being able to put in light energy to destroy the hair without changing the pigment in the skin is ideal. With darker skinned individuals, although there is plenty of melanin in the hair to target, because there is also a high amount of melanin in the skin pigment we have to be careful not to cause hypo-pigmentation (lightening of the skin). This is why many clinics cannot treat dark skinned individuals for hair removal and have to use a more powerful, painful and less safe laser, or not offer this treatment for darker skinned clients. Our combined technology, however, enables us to reduce the MPL® energy on the skin surface (so skin pigment is unaffected by the treatment) and still successfully remove the hairs, as we are simultaneously applying a radio frequency heat to the hair root, which helps to destroy the hair without harming the surrounding structure. This is effective, safe and more comfortable. However, as with all of our treatments we always do a patch test first to ensure that there will be no adverse pigmentary reaction.
The synergistic effect of using MPL® and RF has 3 benefits for skin rejuvenation:
- Removal of vascular/pigmented blemishes
- The stimulation of mediators/fibroblasts leading to collagen remodelling
- The direct stimulation of collagen leading to some immediate tightening
Our technology is particularly safe, because not only does it filter out harmful wavelengths in the outer regions of the light spectrum, but it also permits (via the use of a combined and controlled bi-polar radio frequency emission) the lowering of the light energy required, to achieve desired outcomes on the skin, to improve its elasticity and youthfulness, in addition to eradicating unwanted conditions.
As radio frequency is not absorbed selectively by melanin, there is the additional benefit that the system has the ability to treat targets with lower optical absorption such as lighter hair.
Aside from the main benefit that our skin system can be used on dark skin and lighter hair, it can reach to greater depths than traditional IPL systems due to the directional RF component, which means that we can offer deeper and more effective treatments. It is also more comfortable on the skin surface, because of the lower IPL energy needed here. This is further enhanced by our impressive inbuilt cooling system which operates on the skin simultaneously with the heat application.