This is the Homedics most up-to-date permanent hair removal system using two types of heat: pulsed light (IPL)and radio frequency (RF). It appears to be a sturdily built machine. The treatments have a cumulative effect over time and you will need to do `multiple' treatments (according to the instructions). This machine can be used on both face and body. The instructions recommend using a `facial attachment' for the face which is to be purchased separately from the Homedics website but there is no sign of it on there -- and not much else either, not impressed with the website.
For facial treatment, you need to wear the sunbed goggles provided which you can just about see through. (From my experience as an electrologist, facial skin is far more sensitive than body skin so do not zoom straight up onto your face with the setting you use on your body because you probably will get little bit of temporary swelling and reddening.)
The instructions state that you can treat the face without the facial adapter and they give instruction for doing this.
The instructions for this machine state it is suitable for all skin types except ebony black skin. I was pleased to see that it works on blonde and white (grey) hair also, indeed it states that it works on all hair colours although it states that the epilator attachment is required for naturally light blonde, red or white hair.
Coarse dark hair is treated by the laser component since it absorbs the heat but this is ineffective on blonde or white hairs. This is where the radio frequency comes in. This is designed to damage the follicle, and this is more effective on an empty follicle. However this is not explained in the scant instructions. It does mention that paler hair may need more treatments than dark hair but it might be worth bearing in mind that it might help to epilate first on fair or white hairs.
It is only suitable for men below the neckline so you are not recommended to treat male beards but it is suitable for women below the cheek line.
The hair does not need to be long to be treated, indeed it suggested it should be no longer than 0.5 cm in length. I am using a calibrated bead trimmer to trim to this length before treating. It suggests that for best results, perform the treatment once a week for seven weeks and then do monthly top ups. After treatment, the hairs may remain for up to 2 weeks before falling out and this does not mean the treatment has not worked.
The machine is powered by replaceable cartridges, in theory, meaning that the machine does not `run out' and become useless like other makes. In the past, the cartridges for these machines only lasted for around 90 min of continuous use and were priced at around £40. The set I recieved was labelled as '120,000 flashes' on the box cover slip. These new 'quartz cartridges are the equivalent of 18 cartridges and should be sufficient for the entire process because Homeedics claim they are supposed to last 9 years. If this turns out to be the case, I would tentatively suggest that this system have cornered the market with this new generation machine.
I would advise steering clear of the non quartz machines since these will prove a false economy in the long run.
Who cannot use it:
* It is not suitable for people with light induced epilepsy or migraine (protective goggles are provided and, although they are quite dark, you can just about see through them. It also states you may use sunglasses.) * It cannot be used on skin which is tanned or burnt from the actual sun, tanning beds or tanning creams. If this is the case, you need to wait two weeks before commencing treatment. After treatment you cannot go into the sun or use a sunbed for 24 hours. Therefore, you may want to purchase the equipment in the autumn. * It is not to be used during pregnancy or for anyone trying for a baby or breastfeeding. * It is not to be used over tattoos. * It is not to be used over birthmarks or moles. * It is not to be used around the eye area, the scalp, the ears, the nipples, genitalia or around the anus. * It is not suitable for removing beards on men since it may create an `undesirable hair removal results'.
The treatment itself is quick and easy to perform and perfectly comfortable. For the light to flash, both the metal side bars need to be in contact with the skin. There are three strength settings to chose from. The application is a vast improvement on the hold and press of cheaper machines. I have read these machines have, in the past, had over-heating and burn-out issues, so it might be an idea to bare this mind and allow the machine to cool if heat builds up. You might want to use a timer and stick to the prescribed treatment time for the good of the machine as well as your skin health.
Reading the manual, I have read it twice, it does not appear to suggest the goggles are worn for body treatment, just facial treatment. I have just checked the website and it says the following:
Should I wear eye protection when using mē?
"It is not necessary to wear eye protection when using mē below the neckline. The light flash is similar to that of a professional camera flash, and the three way safety system prevents accidental activation of the elōs pulses. However, when treating the face due to the proximity to the eyes the protective eyewear provided in the facial kit must be worn. NB mē complies with safety standard EN60825-9."
So far I have only performed a test patch. I had no issues with the weakest setting but after upping to the medium setting I felt nothing during the treatment but I did feel a little soreness the following day but there was nothing to see. My skin is fair. I have a tan from all this good weather so I will for this to fade before starting treatment proper. (aunty barbar).
Update March 2014: I had to suspend treatment because it was feeling sore, and I think it was due to my persisting suntan. Either that or my skin is too thin and sensitive for this machine.
Update July 2014: This machine is probably the only one which can tackle white or blonde hair because of the combined technology. However, it is easier to sustain a mild burn with it. This have left me feeling cautious about using it.