SILK’N

The Silk’n line is a group of products made by Home Skinovations Ltd. These products are hair-removal laser devices for home use. In the Silk’n line the most well known product is the Silk’n SensEpil that is for home hair removal use. The newest technology is the FaceFX. This is not available yet in the USA, but is a fractional light based home-use device that is for “skin rejuvenation and anti-aging.” The Silk’n devices are available without a prescription. (1)

Silk’n SensEpil Hair Removal Claims

The Silk’n SensEpil has “the largest treatment size in the home hair removal market” which means treatments take less time. SensEpil utilizes patented Home Pulsed Light Technology, which uses selective photothermolysis to destroy unwanted hair in the treatment area. HPL is permanent, and has been “proven highly successful to provide long term hair removal results to leave your skin silky smooth and hair free. ” (2)

The SensEpil also has a Skin Sensor will detect “safe” skin tones and the device will not pulse if the skin surrounding the hair is too dark. This is to reduce the danger of burns or hyper and hypopigmentation (dark and light spots). (2) The sensor also uses skin contact instead of pressure to recognize when to begin treatment. This allows the treatment to be faster (an entire male chest or female legs can be treated in 15-20 minutes). (2)

In a two-year multi-center clinical study Silk’n SensEpil has been proven safe and effective for the treatment of facial hair from the cheek line downwards. (3) However, Silk’n SensEpil can damage the eyes and light from the device should not be looked into directly. (3)

Additionally, the Silk’n SensEpil treatments were found to have minimal discomfort compared to waxing or professional laser treatments. The treatment is reported to feel like snapping a rubber band against the skin. (2)

How the Silk’n Hair Removal Device Works

The Silk’n works by the principle of selective photothermolysis, which is how most hair-removal lasers and Intense pulsed light (IPL) technologies remove hair. This technology is well established and has been around for more than a decade. Hair removal happens when the melanin, which is what gives the color to black and brown hair, is targeted by the laser and absorbs the energy from the light. The hair follicle then heats up after absorbing the light energy and it is the heat that eventually disables hair growth. When hair growth is disabled, long-term, permanent hair removal is achieved. (4) The Silk’n SensEpil uses high optical energy and delivers it to the skin while the epidermis and the surrounding tissue is actively cooled (by a cooling mechanism). (4)

Because these technologies target the melanin in the hair follicle, light colored hair (grey, blonde and white) that has little or no melanin and is very hard to treat. Additionally, darker skin types have a significant amount of melanin in the skin. The melanin in the hair follicle may not be enough of a target to safely and effectively remove hair without burning the skin or creating hypo or hyperpigmentation (light or dark spots).

The Silk’n SensEpil is based on patented Home Pulsed Light (HPL) technology that reportedly enhances photoepilation by “a unique acoustic effect” to allow extended periods of hair removal with a lower level of energy and no cooling needed. (4)

It is also important to know that hair goes through growth cycles, and the SensEpil only works during the anagen (or growth phase) of the hair growth cycle. The two other phases, catagen (the transitional stage in which the hair shaft begins to pull away from the root as hair growth begins to stop) and telogen (the resting phase) are occurring in some hairs while others are in the anagen phase. This means that hair removal using the Silk’n device will take 4-6 treatments to show significant results and multiple treatments are needed each week. It also means that because a full cycle of hair growth may take 18-24 months, not all hair may be affected until that time. (4)

How the Silk’n Hair Removal Device Works

The Silk’n works by the principle of selective photothermolysis, which is how most hair-removal lasers and Intense pulsed light (IPL) technologies remove hair. This technology is well established and has been around for more than a decade. Hair removal happens when the melanin, which is what gives the color to black and brown hair, is targeted by the laser and absorbs the energy from the light. The hair follicle then heats up after absorbing the light energy and it is the heat that eventually disables hair growth. When hair growth is disabled, long-term, permanent hair removalis achieved. (4) The Silk’n SensEpil uses high optical energy and delivers it to the skin while the epidermis and the surrounding tissue is actively cooled (by a cooling mechanism). (4)

Because these technologies target the melanin in the hair follicle, light colored hair (grey, blonde and white) that has little or no melanin and is very hard to treat. Additionally, darker skin types have a significant amount of melanin in the skin. The melanin in the hair follicle may not be enough of a target to safely and effectively remove hair without burning the skin or creating hypo or hyperpigmentation (light or dark spots).

The Silk’n SensEpil is based on patented Home Pulsed Light (HPL) technology that reportedly enhances photoepilation by “a unique acoustic effect” to allow extended periods of hair removal with a lower level of energy and no cooling needed. (4)

It is also important to know that hair goes through growth cycles, and the SensEpil only works during the anagen (or growth phase) of the hair growth cycle. The two other phases, catagen (the transitional stage in which the hair shaft begins to pull away from the root as hair growth begins to stop) and telogen (the resting phase) are occurring in some hairs while others are in the anagen phase. This means that hair removal using the Silk’n device will take 4-6 treatments to show significant results and multiple treatments are needed each week. It also means that because a full cycle of hair growth may take 18-24 months, not all hair may be affected until that time. (4)

Side Effects of the Silk’n Hair Removal Device

The treatment sensation varies depending on the person and treatment area, and the more sensitive the area the more likely that occasionally the device might cause mild discomfort.  Side effects and complications seen in clinical studies include a sensation of heat, redness around the hair shaft, and slight swelling. (5) These conditions usually subsided within an hour after treatment. Tanned skin, particularly following sun exposure, contains large quantities of the pigment melanin and thus the laser may target the skin. This leads to a higher risk of adverse effects including burns, blisters, and skin color changes (hyper- or hypo-pigmentation). (5) Additionally, it is common for hair to appear as if it is still growing up to two weeks after a treatment (it is undergoing a process called ejection) and the hairs will eventually fall out. (5)

Extra care should be taken to avoid sun exposure before and after treatments with Silk’n SensEpil and a very high SPF of 50 or more should be used daily for 3 weeks before and after treatment. (3)

Studies on the Silk’n Hair Removal Device

There have been studies published on the Silk’n home hair removal device in peer-reviewed journals. In one study (available on the Silk’n website) performed in 2009 twenty women with light skin and dark (black or brown) hair in nonfacial sites (axilla, forearms, inguinal region, legs) self-administered three treatments at 2-week intervals using the Silk’n. Hair counts and clinical photographs were obtained pretreatment and at 1, 3, and 6 months after the third treatment. The results showed all subjects had reduction in hair counts, and counts were reduced 37.8% to 53.6% 6 months after the three treatments. However, skin region influenced clinical response, with lower legs exhibiting greater hair reduction than arms and inguinal and axillary areas. (6) Mild redness occurred following treatment in 25% of patients, but no other side effects or complications were encountered. (6)

Another smaller study enrolled 10 adults with light skin (skin types I–IV) who possessed unwanted dark hair in the non-facial region. The subjects received between 4 and 6 treatments on a bi-weekly basis with the device by a trained member of the clinical staff in the office. Hair counts and photographs were obtained and results showed mean hair reduction was 36% 4 weeks after the final treatment and 10% 12 weeks after the final treatment. (7) Side effects were limited to transient, localized redness. No complications were encountered. (7)

References:

  1. Silk’n Home. Home Skinovations Ltd. Accessed May 31, 2011. www.silkn.com
  2. About Silk’n SensEpil. Home Skinovations Ltd. Accessed May 31, 2011. http://www.silkn.com/About-Silkn-SensEpil
  3. Is SensEpil For You? Home Skinovations Ltd. Accessed May 31, 2011. http://www.silkn.com/Is_Silkn_For_You
  4. HPL Technology. Home Skinovations Ltd. Accessed June 1, 2011. http://www.silkn.com/Light_Based_Hair_Removal
  5. FAQ Silk’n SensEpil . Home Skinovations Ltd. Accessed June 1, 2011. http://www.silkn.com/FAQ
  6. TINA S. ALSTER MD, ELIZABETH L. TANZI MD. Effect of a Novel Low-Energy Pulsed-Light Device for Home-Use Hair Removal. Dermatologic Surgery. Volume 35, Issue 3, pages 483–489, March 2009.
  7. Elm, C. M., Wallander, I. D., Walgrave, S. E. and Zelickson, B. D. (2010), Clinical study to determine the safety and efficacy of a low-energy, pulsed light device for home use hair removal. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 42: 287–291.