Sea and Stone Spa: Free Facial IPL

Sea and Stone Spa is a private club run by Gender Minorities Aotearoa. It provides free facial hair removal to transgender people.

To find out if GMA has an IPL clinic in your area, please see the database here.

Joining Criteria

You must be transgender and be in Aotearoa NZ to join this club. You will need to give your name, email address, and phone number. You do not need proof of ID/legal name. The unit will work best if your testosterone levels are low eg. you are taking testosterone blocking medications. However, you can join regardless.


There is an initial membership fee of $20 (talk to us if you can’t afford the fee). There is no cost per session.

Treatment times

The ideal interval for IPL treatments is 14 days apart, as the hair growth cycle takes 2 weeks.

Hair colour range

It is effective on hair colours from black through to light blond. It does not work on very light blond, white, grey, or red hair colours.

Skin tone range

Our IPL unit is effective on skin tones ranging from very pale white, through to dark brown. It does not work on very dark brown or black skin tones.


Avoid sun tanning for at least 2 weeks before treatment, so that your surface skin tone matches the underlying pigment. On the morning of treatment, wash and shave the area to be treated. Avoid applying toner or aftershave, lotion, or makeup to the area.


Our IPL unit is designed for self-use. A member of our staff will show you how to use the IPL unit, then you can treat your own face. Treating the lower face (facial hair area) usually takes around 15 minutes.

  • Use the device in a well lit room, do not look directly at the flash.
  • Make sure the attachment and light exit window are clean before use.
  • The SmartSkin sensor (press magnifying glass button, then hold the device to your skin) will detect the right setting for you, then press the tick button to select that setting. Using it on a setting not suitable for your skin tone can increase the likelihood of skin reactions and side effects.
  • Apply the device to your skin at a 90 degree angle with slight pressure, then press the large trigger button to release a flash. You should feel a warm sensation.
  • Move on to the next part of skin to be treated.
  • Release the flashes close to each other, mind that the flash area is smaller than the head of the device. Only use the device once per session on each part of your face. Covering an area twice will not increase the effectiveness of the treatment but may increase the chances of irritations. If the treatment becomes painful you should stop.
  • Ensure nothing obstructs the air flow through the ventilation slots on the sides and back of the device.
  • Do not use the device on your lips, or near your eyes or eyebrows, or around implants or piercings.
  • After a treatment, your skin may show slight redness and/or prickle, tingle or feel warm – this reaction is absolutely harmless and disappears quickly
  • The adapter, light exit window, and the filter of the attachments can become very hot after usage, do not touch them after usage until they have cooled.

During the treatment period

  • Repeat the process every two weeks for the initial treatments (4-6 treatments) and then do touch ups every 4 to 8 weeks when you see some of the hair growing back.
  • While you are having IPL treatments, you can shave, but not wax, pluck, or epilate. Pulling the hairs out – such as plucking or waxing – will interfere with the growth cycle, which means the treatment won’t work like it’s supposed to.
  • Protect your skin from sunlight while having treatments, for a few days after treatment, and for 2 weeks before the next treatment. Shade your face if possible, and wear an SPF50+ sunblock whenever your face is going to be exposed to the sun.

Safety precautions

  • Don’t use the device on damaged or irritated skin, if it is red, cut, sunburned, or recently tanned. Do not use on warts, tattoos, or permanent makeup.
  • Consult a doctor before using the device on skin with moles, freckles, large veins, darker pigmented areas, scars, or skin anomalies, as it could result in burned or changed skin which could make it harder to identify skin-related diseases conditions.
  • Do not use a pencil or pen to mark out the areas to be treated.

Do not use the device if you meet any of the following:

  • Very dark skin that never sunburns. If this is the case, using the device could result in developing skin reactions, like hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation, strong redness or burns.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You have active implants, like a pacemaker, neurostimulator, insulin pump etc.
  • If your skin has recently (in the last week) been treated with Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), tropical isotretinoinand azelaic acid.
  • You have taken any form of isotretinoin Accutane or Roaccutane in the last six months. This treatment can make skin more susceptible to tears, wound and irritations.
  • You are taking any photosensitizing agents or medications, check the package insert of your medicine and never use the device if it is stated that it can cause photo-allergic reactions, photo-toxic reactions or if you have to avoid sun when taking the medicine.
  • If you take anticoagulation medications, including heavy use of asprin, in a manner which does not allow for a minimum 1-week washout period prior to each treatment.
  • You have received radiation therapy or chemotherapy within the past three months.
  • If you are on painkillers which reduce the skin’s sensitivity to heat.
  • You have had surgery in the areas to be treated in the last 3 weeks.
  • You have diabetes or other systemic or metabolic conditions.
  • If you have congestive heart condition.
  • If you have a disease related to photosensitivity, such as polymoprphic light eruption (PMLE), solar urticaria, porphyria etc.
  • If you have a history of collagen disorder, including a history of keloid scar formation or a history of poor wound healing.
  • You have epilepsy with flashlight sensitivity.
  • Your skin is sensitive to light and easily develops a rash or an allergic reaction.
  • You have a skin condition such as active skin cancer, or you have any other localised cancer in the areas to be treated.
  • You have a history of vascular disorder, such as the presence of varicose veins or vascular ectasia in the areas to be treated.
  • You have a bleeding disorder.
  • You have a history of immunosuppressive conditions (ask your doctor if IPL is safe for you).
  • You have infections, eczema, burns, inflammation of hair follicles, open lacerations, abrasions, herpes simplex including cold sores, wounds or lesions, or haematomas in the areas to be treated.
  • If the device is damaged.
Taking care of the device (info for staff/volunteers)
  • Charge the device on days it will be used.
  • Check the device for damage before using it.
  • Do not modify or cut off any part of the adapter or the cord, which may render the device hazardous.
  • Never subject the device to heavy shocks, do not shake or drop it.
  • If the device goes from a very cold environment to a very hot environment, do not use it for at least 3 hours. Do not expose it to temperatures below 5 degrees or above 35 degrees Celsius.
  • Store the device in a dust free and dry space.
  • Do not expose the device to direct sunlight or UV light for prolonged periods of time.
  • Clean the device after each use by wiping it with alcohol swaps. This device can not be washed, do not submerge it or use scouring pads or abrasive cleaning agents.