“These devices are not harmless to health.” Very popular in beauty institutes because it is cheaper and less restrictive than the laser, permanent hair removal with pulsed light is becoming more democratic with devices that are even sold at home. In a notice published this Thursday, September 9, the National Agency for Food Safety and Security assures that, “practiced by professionals or at home, pulsed light hair removal can cause side effects: burns, blisters, eye damage“. The administrative establishment recalls” the importance of better training professionals and informing users of contraindications and good practices to follow. “In general, pulsed light hair removal devices have the same principle of operation: “the destruction of the hair and the hair bulb by thermal effect”.
Prevent early detection of melanoma
According to ANSES “these devices are not harmless to health”. “Most often, the effects that can be caused are minor: pain, erythema, burning sensation …“, details the Agency, specifying that” blisters or scabs can also occur as a result of the use of these devices. However, hair removal with pulsed light can even have “more serious effects such as from pigmentation disorders and eye damage if misused“Using pulsed light for hair removal might even result.”delayed diagnosis of skin cancer, the IPL can indeed denature the color of precancerous lesions, and thus prevent the early detection of melanoma “.
How to avoid the risks?
To limit the risk of these effects appearing, the authority recommends to wear protective glasses when using these devices, not to epilate areas close to the eyes, such as the eyebrows, not to use anesthetic, or to space out the sessions by at least one month.
As a reminder, ANSES ensures pulsed light hair removal is not recommended in the following cases:
- presence of any skin abnormality – relief, texture or color – or disease affecting the skin: history of skin cancer, psoriasis, herpes or history of herpes on the area to be depilated…;
- drug use of photosensitizing and anticoagulant treatments
- application of any product to the shaved area (cosmetics, including self-tanners, essential oils, “natural” products, etc.);
- unsuitable skin color or type of hair: people with albinism, depigmented hair, down…;
- have been exposed, before or after hair removal, to natural or artificial UV rays. In the event of exposure prior to depilation, it should not be performed before a return to the natural color of the skin. In the event of exposure after hair removal, it should not take place before the resolution of any lesions caused by IPL;
The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Safety has recommended to include these devices in an appropriate regulatory framework and asked for better training of professionals. In practice, pulsed light hair removal has developed among certain professionals outside the legal framework defined by a decree of 1962. This indeed provides that the use of devices other than wax and pliers depilatory for acts of hair removal is only reserved for doctors. As early as 2016, ANSES had underlined the existence of an inconsistent regulatory situation, insofar as beauty salons have the possibility of using these devices to perform photorejuvenation treatments. More recently, decisions of the Council of State (2019) and of the Court of Cassation (2021) have limited the scope of this exclusivity to doctors. “The functioning and the principles of interaction with the skin may be misunderstood or misunderstood by some professionals and individuals. It is therefore necessary to better regulate the device market and the use of this technology to limit its undesirable effects“, explains Rémi Poirier, expert appraisal coordinator at ANSES.