SHR technology – the cornerstone of the Soprano revolution


It has been quite a while since a team of enthusiastic researchers at Alma Lasers, including Dr. Ziv Karni (founder) and Dr. Joseph Lepselter developed the breakthrough SHR™ laser hair removal

2006: First patent applications for SHR products and treatments.

2009:  First trademark applications for SHR products and treatments.

How did SHR technology advance hair removal?

SHR works by gradually heating the dermis to a temperature that effectively damages the hair follicles and prevents re-growth, while avoiding injury to the surrounding tissue. Short pulses at high repetition rate are delivered deep into the dermis, achieving high average power and therapeutically effective heat build-up, with virtually no pain.

The laser applicator is employed “In-Motion™” – repeated sweeps across the treatment area, ensuring full coverage and preventing ‘Zebra stripes’ effect. The applicator includes ICE™ cooling preventing superficial burns and enabling highly effective hair removal which is also virtually painless.

SHR technology by Alma Lasers

SHR technology in action


Sounds simple, but when given how laser hair removal worked up to that point, you understand just how revolutionary the SHR concept introduced by Alma lasers was! Traditional laser or IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal meant pulsing the skin with a strong light beam so that the melanin-containing hair follicle would absorb the delivered energy, heat up considerably and be destroyed. But there was a major downside to this approach — it was painful!

In addition, in many cases, especially if the practitioner was inexperienced optimal coverage was not achieved. Also, accidental overlapping of pulses could occur which can be quite painful. The SHR technology eliminated these issues as the process is accumulative and there is less risk for adverse events.

Who benefited most from SHR technology?

When it comes to patient comfort, in other words, pain, Alma’s innovation was a serious game changer. Until SHR came along, laser hair removal was considered to be a treatment that was merely a bit less painful than waxing (though more effective). The reason behind this was that the light delivered to the melanin-rich epidermis also affects the nerves in that area resulting in pain. The unique approach that Alma introduced meant heating the hair follicles to a sufficient temperature to damage them while delivering a minimal amount of thermal energy to the nerve-rich epidermis.

Before this development, laser hair removal (and IPL) was not welcome at all by men, who did not normally concede to painful aesthetic procedures. It was also considered unsafe for dark skinned people because of the high absorption levels in melanin that can result in serious burns. Thus, by SHR becoming globally widespread the market has opened up to all kinds of patients, including even teenagers!

SHR technology Soprano ICE Platinum

Hair removal treatment with Soprano ICE Platinum

A change that came from a modern approach

SHR is a perfect example of an important principle—The principle that the customer is king. That’s why medical device companies are becoming more and more attentive to the end customer. They value understanding the patients’ needs and preferences. As a result, technological innovations shape and form. Medical device and health care experts listen and understand the patient first rather than dictate to the customer what he/she needs.

As with many technological innovations, other companies have worked hard to copy SHR technology. Alas, some of them are even not ashamed to use the SHR trademark to describe their laser products (which is illegal in many markets). So, if you are a planning on starting a laser hair removal clinic, you might feel tempted to try out some of those cheap knock-offs. Obviously starting a new business or expanding always comes with financial insecurity. However, even if you are not a doctor, we encourage you to care about your patients’ safety and satisfaction. Caring about your patients and treating them with proven and authentic technology backed by the highest level of clinical and engineering expertise has never been bad for business.

Soprano laser hair removal treatment at @itiera clinic

What’s next?

SHR is clearly the gold standard for laser hair removal. But what does the future hold in store for both practitioners and patients? As in with the space-age race, once the Soviet and American scientists and engineers laid the foundation to the ground-breaking technology to enable space travel, it was all about who will get there faster and will have fancier footage to boast.

We, at Alma, have never been complacent and continue to push the boundaries of what our lasers and energy-based devices can do for the patient as well as for the physician who operates them. From the earlier stages of the Soprano™ laser to the revolutionary Soprano ICE and the elite Soprano ICE Platinum lasers, we have always made sure our devices were at the forefront of technology. SHR, In-motion technology, superior cooling, combining 3 laser wavelengths – what will come out next? Stay tuned to find out (This article was written well ahead of the new Soprano Titanium launch, g.l.e).

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