Treatment review: Nordlys hair removal by Ellipse
World Spa & Wellness experiences quick and effective treatments with the dual-technology Nordlys system from Ellipse
The story: Laser and IPL specialists Ellipse launched the Nordlys system in 2015 to treat a wide range of concerns and conditions, from acne, stretch marks and surgical scars, to pigmented lesions, leg veins and rosacea.
Nordlys, which means northern lights in Danish (Ellipse was founded in Demark) also offers photorejuvenation and hair removal treatments, drawing on a dual method that combines Ellipse’s patented selective waveband technology (SWT) with the non-ablative Nd:YAG 1064 and Frax 1550 lasers.
The treatment: Hair removal is one of the many treatments spas can carry out with the Nordlys system, and when I was offered the opportunity to have a course of underarm hair removal (the system also allows for hair removal on many other areas, including the upper lip, chin, bikini line, legs and arms) I couldn’t turn it down. No one particularly wants hair under their arms, and no one enjoys shaving, so the chance to virtually eliminate the need to do that again was too good to pass up.
Having never had a laser or light-based treatment before and not being sure how painful I would find it, I wasn’t brave to enough to go for upper lip hair removal (this time) but didn’t have too many qualms about the underarm option.
On my first visit to the Ellipse UK office in London, where I had my appointments with the company’s training specialist, a course of six treatments was suggested. It was, however, explained to me that the final number of treatments would depend on a range of factors, including the level of regrowth and how well my skin responded to the system.
The skin under the arms feels relatively thin and sensitive and it would be anexaggeration to say I found the treatment completely pain free.
However, I would definitely say it was a manageable level of pain: I quickly got used to it and it certainly wasn’t anything that scared me off or prevented me from completing the full treatment course.
The light therapy, delivered via one of Ellipse’s SWT applicators, felt a bit like a mild burning sensation (of course the skin was not actually burnt) or perhaps a slight sting.
The applicator was used a few times under each arm, with contact time being very brief, and then it was over.
The brevity of it – I spent no more than five minutes on the treatment couch per appointment – meant this should be a treatment even clients with quite a low pain threshold can have. It might hurt a little, but it certainly doesn’t hurt for long.
This type of hair removal works by allowing controlled pulses of light to penetrate the epidermis, with the melanin in the hair converting the light into heat, damaging the hair follicles’ ability to produce new hair.
The greater the concentration of melanin the more effective the treatment tends to be, so if you have dark brown or black hair, as I do, it’s likely to work better. However, if you also have a dark complexion (and again, I do), the skin around the hair is more prone to absorbing the heat, which means the therapist should use less of it in order not to burn the client.
Originally, my appointments were about six weeks apart; to make sure the hair regrowth was significant enough to give the training specialist something to work on. After a few treatments this was extended, however, as the hair began to grow back at a slower pace.
We also worked around holiday times, as skin is sensitised after treatment and you are advised to avoid extensive sun exposure. Technically, Nordlys can be used safely on tanned skin (as long as it’s not irritated), as it can be programmed to adapt to how tanned the skin is, making sure the suitable level of energy is used. Ellipse nevertheless tends to err on the side of caution, advising clients to leave 30 days between sun exposure and treatment.
A few months in I really started seeing a marked difference, with the hair taking longer and longer to grow back. Even when it did appear again, it was much sparser and finer than it had been before.
Once I completed my course of six treatments, the hair under my arms was very nearly gone. While a few fine and very, very short hairs still appear from time to time they are so insignificant as to almost not count and I’m very pleased with the outcome of the treatment course.
Business boost: Systems like Nordlys, which offer a multitude of treatments with one machine, can give spas a high return on investment. Clients not only want indulgent massages and facials, they’re also looking for targeted, effective treatments that offer visible results. With a price per treatment that is typically above average, Nordlys and similar systems can add a great revenue stream – particularly once the cost of the equipment has been recouped.