The Complete Boots Smooth Skin Gold Home IPL Review
Product Content List
- Smooth Skin Gold Device with 120,000 flashes
- Power supply
- User Manual
- Quick Start User Guide
- Support Programme Guide
- Storage Bag
The newest at-home IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) device on the market, and currently only available in the UK (update Dec 2015: the device can now be shipped internationally here), the Boots Smooth Skin Gold is an ergonomically designed machine to provide you with the easiest and safest IPL hair removal treatment at home.
With its automatic safety settings, different treatment options and sleek design it is one to look out for.
IPL vs Laser Technology
IPL and Laser Technologies have many similarities, the main one being that they have both been approved by the FDA for permanent hair reduction. This means that clinical trials have proven that both technologies are successful in significantly and permanently reducing hair regrowth after use.
Both technologies use pulsed light energy to target the dark matter in the hair follicle (melanin) and thereby damage it. With regular sessions there is a high possibility that the follicles will maintain permanent damage and the hair will not grow back, or at least will grow back much more slowly.
The main difference between IPL and laser is that IPL uses a range of wavelengths and laser is set to one wavelength. This basically means that a laser can be set to target a specific skin and hair colour combination while IPL may not be so targeted in its delivery. Neither treatment will work on blond, grey or red hair.
You get read more on the comparison of both technologies here.
- Fast and powerful: Currently the fastest IPL at-home device on the market, at the fastest level it delivers each light pulse under a second from the next, making it easier to cover larger areas in less time.
- Safe and easy to use: With its “Detect and Set” feature and ergonomic shape, the Boots Smooth Skin Gold device makes set up a breeze as you literally only need to switch it on, choose your treatment mode and go. The shape of the device makes it easy to use on all areas of the body, even those that are hard to reach. No need to pre-treat your skin with any type of gel beforehand.
- "Detect and Set" feature: The “Detect and Set” feature automatically detects your skin tone and locks if it detects a skin tone over IV on the Fitzpatrick scale. It also sets the intensity level based on your skin tone.
- Can be used on the body and face: The shape of the device makes it easy to use on both the body and the face, and the “Detect and Set” feature allows it to determine skin tone, even on your face that has been more exposed to the sun than the rest of your body. The device automatically locks when it detects a skin tone over IV on the Fitzpatrick scale.
- 120,000 Flashes: The device comes with 120,000 flashes which means with an initial 12 weeks of intense, full body sessions and then monthly treatments there on after you should be able to get approximately 6 years of use out of the device. The lamp cannot be replaced, so once all of the flashes have been used up the device will need to be replaced.
- "Glide" and "Stamp" Treatment Modes: The device comes with two treatment modes: “Glide” for larger areas of the body so that you can glide over them rapidly, and “Stamp” for those smaller areas like the face and bikini area, to give maximum precision.
- "Gentle" Mode: If you find the pulses too painful at first, or you have very sensitive skin, you can easily access the “Gentle” button which will automatically reduce the intensity. This button can easily be deactivated once you are ready to increase the intensity.
Who Will it Work For?
The Boots Smooth Skin Gold device will work for anyone with a skin tone between I and IV on the Fitzpatrick scale and with dark hair. Laser and IPL hair removal treatments will not work on blond, grey or red hairs as these hairs are not dark enough.
As the treatment targets dark matter in the hair follicle under the skin, it will only pick up on dark hairs. The perfect laser or IPL candidate has light skin and dark hair, but the treatments can work perfectly well on people with darker skin, as long as it isn’t V or VI on the Fitzpatrick scale.
If your skin is too dark you can still get laser treatment, but only by a professional physician in a professional setting. If you have very tanned skin and/or have spent a lot of time in the sun or in a tanning salon it is advised to check with your doctor or dermatologist before trying an at-home laser or IPL device as there is a higher risk of burning and scarring.
How Does It Work?
Once the device has been charged and switched on, you just need to choose your setting (“Glide” or “Stamp”) depending on the area you will be treating, and your intensity level (“Gentle” if the standard level is too intense for you), and place the device over the area of treatment.
It is important that the light covers the skin completely and firmly and that you don’t look directly at it as it may damage your eyes. The device is protected against “firing in the air” but not against firing when not positioned correctly.
The light energy generated by the pulses targets the melanin in the hair follicle in order to destroy it, which will also kill the hair. Hair can only be effectively destroyed during the anagen (growing) part of its hair cycle, which is why you need to treat areas several times over the space of a month or two to see results.
How Long Does It Take Per Session?
Per the Boots Smooth Skin Gold website:
- Lower legs: 8.75 mins
- Upper legs: 8.75 mins
- Underarms: 0.82 mins
- Bikini Line: 0.88 mins
- Upper Lip: 0.55 mins
You could basically do your entire body in under 2 hours if you wanted to.
How Long For Long Term Results?
Boots recommend a 12 week weekly intensive treatment program followed by monthly touch-ups for ultimate results.
Results can be seen as early as after three sessions, but most likely after 12 weeks. In order for the results to remain constant it is important to maintain monthly “update” treatments, as it is very possible for all hair to start growing back if you stop the treatments.
Hair may also start growing again if you go through hormonal changes (pregnancy or menopause for example), illness or with certain medications. Results are also different for everyone and are on a case by case basis.
How painful is it and are there any possible side effects?
The treatment itself may be slightly painful, most people compare it somewhere from a slight stinging sensation to an elastic band slapping the skin with some heat, and you may see some redness after the treatment that will subside after a few hours. This is all a normal part of the treatment.
These following side effects may occur and if they do it is important to stop all treatment and see a doctor before starting them again. Boots suggest always doing a test patch on a small piece of skin before treating a larger area. Side effects may be: itchiness, prolonged skin redness, intense pain, swelling, skin pigmentation changes, burning, blistering, scarring.
Is It Effective? (Reviews)
The Boots Smooth Skin Gold is a very new product that is currently only available in the UK and there are not a varied amount of reviews to choose from online just yet (14.01.2015).
On both the Smooth Skin and the Boots website results range between 4 and 5 stars (out of 5). The comments range from “exceptional results” to “works very well”, with some people claiming to have permanent results and others clear results of hair reduction.
I couldn’t find many customer reviews of the Gold device outside of the Boots sites, only of previous models (also very popular), so this is an area that will be updated once the device has been on the market a little longer. Those I found were positive.
FDA Approval/Clinical Trials
On the Smooth Skin Gold website Boots claim that their clinical trials resulted in 83% less hair within 12 weeks. I requested a copy of the full trial for this review but at the time of publishing had not heard back.
The device is not yet FDA-approved, but Boots is a highly respected and respectful brand, very well-known on the market, which makes me pretty sure that the device has been correctly tested before release.
Complete Smooth Skin Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use the Device in the Bikini / Genital Area?
Absolutely - the device is safe to use around the pubic area / bikini line, however make sure that you don't use the device on mucus membranes or on the genitals and anus. Such areas contain higher concentration of melanin, are darker and therefore are more susceptible to burns.
Can This Device be Used on African American, Asian, Oriental or Indian skin tones?
The chart above was taken from the Smooth Skin instruction manual and shows the skin colours that are safe for use with the Smooth Skin device.
This isn't mentioned in the instruction manual, however we recommend that nobody above the level of 4 on the Fitzpatrick scale should use this device. See the Fitzpatrick chart below:-
Hair Color (darkest)
White or very pale
Blue, grey, green
Always burns, never tans
Pale white with beige tint
Chestnut or dark blond
Always burns, sometimes tans
Beige to light brown (olive)
Sometimes burns, always tans
Light to moderate brown
Rarely Burns, always tans
Medium to Dark Brown
Rarely burns, tans more than average
Dark brown to black
You have to understand that with all laser hair removal kits, the darker your skin tone, the higher the risk of burning.
If your skin tone is darker is 5 or 6 on the chart above, or you are concerned about having a skin colour that is too dark for home laser hair removal, you should read our article about laser hair removal on dark coloured skin. We also have another article comparing the effectiveness of two types of laser on dark skin.
In short: If you're skin tone is too dark for home laser hair removal kits then your only other options are:-
Can I Shave In-between Treatments?
Yes you can shave. However, certain other forms of hair removal should be avoided such as waxing, epilating or plucking as this removes the root of the hair shaft that absorbs light during the treatment.
Is the Device Safe Around Children?
The SmoothSkin Gold is one of the safest products on the market and has a number of safety features to ensure that the device is used correctly:-
- The device will automatically detect the correct strength setting with its skin tone sensor
- The skin sensor will also prevent the device from flashing if it doesn't detect the correct skin tone.
Even though these safety features exist to prevent any accidents from happening, it's always advisable to keep devices like this out of reach of children.
What are the Long Term Results? Will I need Continuous Treatment?
There isn't a home laser or professional laser in existence that can guarantee permanent hair removal. The only form of hair removal that can give you assurances about permanently removing the hair is electrolysis - but that can be very slow and expensive (especially for large areas).
However, with that said, you can still achieve significant hair reduction with this home laser with minimal treatment time.
For the first month or two, you will need to use the device every few weeks. After this period, you can then fall back into a maintenance mode of once every month. For most people, this is the perfect trade off and allows a significant reduction in hair without spending a lot of time performing the treatment.
Can I use the SmoothSkin Laser on all areas of the Body?
You shouldn't use the device on the following areas:-
- Eyebrows or eyelashes
- Mouth, including the lips
- Labial folds
- Anywhere near the eyes
The basic rule is that the laser shouldn't be used in any orifice (such as the opening of the mouth or ears), on any mucus membrane or on any area of the skin that is darker (for example, most people have darker colour skin on their genitals).
Any other part of the body is safe for use with the SmoothSkin device.
Why is This Device Different from Other Home Laser Machines?
While the manufacturer claims that the device is the "fastest, safest and most powerful home use device available" you have to understand a few things:-
- The technology used in the SmoothSkin device is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). This technology is not unique to the SmoothSkin - there are other home laser devices that use the same technology such as the SensEpil. Click here for a full list (scroll down to "Comparison Matrix of the Home Laser Products").
- There is no evidence to suggest that it is any safer than any other FDA approved device such as the Tria or the Silk'n SensEpil.
The marketing on the manufacturer's web site says the following:-
"The main difference is the way we control the pulses of light. With our Unique ‘Detect and Set’ skin tone measurement system the SmoothSkin Gold sets the energy levels for you and your skin on every flash."
This is actually true - we are not aware of any other home laser hair removal machine that will automatically set the power level. Many other devices have a skin tone sensor to ensure that the device is not used on skin tones that are too dark to be safe, however the power setting is left to the discretion of the user.
This device is mid-range in terms of treatment speed and mid-range in terms of cost. See here for full price comparison of home lasers.
Can The Device Be Used on Men?
Absolutely - the device works on both males and females.
Men typically use the device on the chest, arms, upper back, neck line, around the collar of a shirt and around the genital area (not on the genitals themselves). It is not recommended that men use the device on their beard - the growth is too coarse and dense and can sometimes cause an adverse reaction.
How Fast is the Device on Large Treatment Areas?
The SmoothSkin takes less than 2 seconds per cm2 of treatment area. This means that it will take on average 9 minutes to treat an individual leg.
The SmoothSkin device has the fastest rep rate of all the home laser hair removal devices with just under between 1 and 2 seconds. This means that the time between laser pulses is very short.
Instruction Video of How the Device is Used
Click on the image below to play the official tutorial video from the Boots SmoothSkin Gold team:-
Stamp Mode vs Glide Mode - What Does it Mean?
The device has two different treatment modes:-
- Stamp mode - Move the device across the treatment area and press the button when you want the laser to emit a pulse of light.
- Glide mode - Keep the button pressed at all times and simply glide the laser across the treatment area. The pulses of light will be emitted automatically every 1 - 2 seconds.
Do I Need to Wear Eye Protection when Using the Device?
No. The device will only emit laser pulses when it is pressed up against the surface of the skin - this is one of the safety features of the device that prevents firing into the air.
Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn't try to fire into the air and use the device responsibly. No eye protection is needed, though.
What's the Difference Between IPL and Laser?
Lasers uses a monochromatic beam i.e. light rays of a single wavelength. Wavelengths are measured in nanometres (nm’s), which are equal to one billionth of a metre.
Conversely, IPL (sometimes termed flashlamp) uses polychromatic i.e. full spectrum light and low-range infrared radiation, which is filtered to allow range of wavelengths (between 500 – 1200 nm’s). Click here to read our full article on the differences between IPL and laser.
Which is more effective? The tests have been inconclusive - both appear to be as effective and safe as the other.
Things we Liked
- Very easy to use
- Automatic skin tone detector and safety lock
- “Gentle” setting
- Can be used anywhere on the body
- Sleek design
- No need to purchase replacement cartridges
Things we didn't Like
- Not FDA-approved
- Only available in the UK
- No safety lock to stop the light if the device is not correctly placed on the skin
While the Boots Smooth Skin Gold at-home IPL device is not yet FDA-approved and there are not too many customer reviews out there just yet, it is a brand new, high tech device that promises to give you a real possibility of seeing some permanent results in hair reduction all from the comfort of your own home.
It works extremely fast and contains a specific safety measure to ensure that the right intensity is applied to your skin tone, and locks if you try to use it on a skin tone that is too dark. This is a great device that can be used anywhere on the body, and with monthly treatments, can last up to 6 years.
While it is on the pricier side at £299 (approx $460), you don’t need to buy any replacement cartridges as you would with some of the other machines on the market, and you really get what you pay for: a high-end device that does what it says it does, and well.