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Choosing the Right IPL Machine

Written by Josh Kersten on January 30th, 2015.      2 comments

 
When it comes to IPL and laser treatments there are many different types:
  • IPL
  • IPL+rf
  • VPL
  • IPL Shr
..and so on, the most common we see in salons and clinics is IPL. A good quality IPL machine can give great results with removing unwanted hair and multiple other skin treatments. Choosing the right machine for your business is critical to your success and ability to provide safe treatments with great results.

There are many factors to consider when looking at starting out in IPL or upgrading your current machine.  Here is a quick un-biased run down of key points to look for and points to avoid.
Tips on Buying an IPL Machine SpaBeauty NZ
When initially looking into adding an IPL service to your salon, you need to keep in mind you need a designated treatment room that meets the rules set forward by any bylaw in your region and that follows the standards of AS/NZS4173 2004 Safe use of lasers in health care.  If you are unsure of what needs to be done to comply with this any reputable IPL distributor should be able to give you some advice. It is recommended that when purchasing an IPL machine that you deal with a company that is located in New Zealand, while overseas companies can also offer great quality machines they are limited when being able to provide customer service.
 
It is hard for someone new to the world of IPL and laser equipment to know where to start, below is a list of some important key points:
 
  • Warranty - How long is the warranty? Is it a full warranty including parts/labour and will you be needing a backup machine while yours is being repaired? If so can the distributor supply a backup machine? Extra costs and money lost due to your machine being out of service needs to be considered.  You should look for a full warranty of at least 12 months with the potential to use a replacement machine.
  • Where is it manufactured - At NZ Beauty Supply we know that even if you buy a machine that the distributor has stressed is made in some foreign country other than Asia you can still be left with a low quality machine. The key factor here is to see what research and development has gone into the machine and where the parts are sourced from.
  • Price compared to features -  Are the features you are receiving really necessary and beneficial? Some distributors will claim they have a revolutionary new product or feature on their machine and charge a huge premium for the feature. You need to ask is this feature really necessary, is it really going to bring more clients through your door or give you better treatment results?
  • Distributor information - Do a quick search on the NZ companies register and see how long the company has been running for. Try to get a rundown on the distributors involvement in the industry, there are a lot of (fly by nighters) that simply sell machines with no real development or research into the products they are selling. Make sure the distributor has a trained technician employed in case of a break down.  Some distributors may outsource their repairs or have to send it back to the manufacturer which means long periods without a machine.
  • What certificates does the machine have - All machines sold in New Zealand must meet the standards of AS/NZS 4173 2004.  Do not purchase any machine that is not at least CE certified, other beneficial certs include, FDA, ITC and TGA. All machines must be tagged and tested by a registered electrician before they can be used in New Zealand.
  • Training - Make sure the distributor includes full training with the machine purchase.  Ask how long the training takes and what it covers, it should take anywhere from 1-3 days to complete to cover the machine in depth. The distributor should make sure you are fully confident in using the machine and make sure you are following the right protocol to ensure safe use.
  • Costs and Maintenance - The most common cost in machine maintenance is bulb or handpiece replacement.  Ideally if the distributor can replace the bulb when it is due rather than selling you a whole new handpiece this will keep your costs down.  Note that sometimes the whole handpiece may need changing but if you keep up with water changes and filter changes (if the machine has a water filter) the internals of the handpiece should still be in good condition. A very important feature is whether the machine is self-calibrating, this means the machine calibrates itself upon each startup which means it is working at its optimal settings.
  • Shots/clicks - The total number of shots you will get from the life of one bulb largely depends on the quality of the lamp, for example the Eclipse range all use American lamps that are guaranteed for 100,000 shots, the more shots the lamp is rated for the more revenue you will earn before having to replace it you will also get consistent results. If you find a machine that is only rated for around 30,000-50,000 shots this is a lower quality bulb which could mean other components in the machine are of a lesser quality.
  • Cooling system - What type of cooling system does the machine have?  The most common is air and water, which is similar to a car where the water pumps through the machine and handpiece then through a cooling radiator where it is cooled by air.  A good cooling system should be able to get the handpiece head icy cold without it actually icing up, this insures a safe working temp for the client and a longer life of the bulb. The cooling system must also be able to be simply adjusted via the touch screen. The continuous working time should be noted too, a good quality machine should be able to work continuously for at least eight hours while keeping the handpiece at a safe temperature.
  • What skin types can be treated - Ideally an IPL machine that can treat skin types 1-5 on the Fitzpatrick skin scale is important but not all machines are capable of safely doing this and also depends on operator experience.
  • What is included - Included in the purchase of the machine should be everything to safely and correctly operate the machine.  You may also ask does the distributor offer anything to benefit your business such as literature, client forms and maintenance schedules. You don’t want to purchase from a distributor that simply sells you a machine and you never hear from them again so ask the questions before making a decision.
  • Feedback - Ask the distributor for testimonials from their clients that have purchased equipment to see what their experience was like and if they are happy with the equipment.How easy is the machine to use- You want a machine that is easy to use and can ensure you will perform safe and efficient treatments for your clients, this means having a machine that has preset parameters. If the machine has preset parameters it needs to also have a feature that allows you to modify the parameters for different clients when you are skilled enough to do so.
Article written by Josh Kersten, Managing Director of  NZ Beauty Supply.
NZ Beauty Supply has been in operation for almost five years with myself having over seven years’ experience in the laser/IPL beauty industry. 

NZ Beauty Supply first started out with a technical repair division which gave us the opportunity to see and repair a large majority of the machines that have come into New Zealand, some machines have been of a high quality and others a very poor quality.

The knowledge that NZ Beauty Supply has of IPL machine repairs and the development of our Eclipse IPL range has led me to decide to take a moment to try and help others with choosing a good machine, after all it is your business image that will suffer if the right decision isn’t made.  At NZ Beauty Supply we believe that the more business’s that grow and prosper the better.

This is a brief rundown of things that are sometimes over looked when purchasing an IPL machine.

If you have any questions we may be able to help with by all means please email us at admin@nzbeautysupply.co.nz
We are here to help.
Visit us at: www.nzbeautysupply.co.nz
 
NZ Beauty Supply Josh Kersten SpaBeauty NZ Articles


 
 
 
Topics: Laser and IPL
 

2 Comments

Ruth Nicholson - NZ Laser Training says ...
Pretty sure that machines (IPL or Lasers) do not need to meet the AS/NZS 4173:2004 as there is no legal restriction on who can bring these types of machines into NZ.
Any monkey can import directly into the country, call themselves an expert and sell the machines via Youtube, TradeMe or direct. Ekkkkkkk.
Josh Kersten says ...
Hi Ruth, Yes anyone can import them that is totally correct, But in order to use these machines they must be correctly labelled, have the correct key safety features and be tagged and tested as it states in section 6 of the 4173 standard. Also having no one to police this means there are a lot of machines slipping through.

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