IPL hair removal is currently a buzzword in the skincare world. If you have been wondering what is an IPL solution and how effective it is anyway, you have come at the right spot!
You can find out more, right from how IPL works to how long IPL lasts, below.
What is IPL hair removal?
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology is used in the hair removal procedure. The major difference between an IPL and laser is the type of light used in the process. The light source in IPL is a broadband pulsed light source whereas in laser it is a monochromatic coherent source.
The gentle pulses of light from the IPL device concentrate on the hair follicles and make the hair fall out. Gradually, the area will start growing less hair. Now that you know "what is IPL", let's move to see how IPL works. It will also answer that deep-down secret question of, "does IPL hair removal work?"
How does IPL treatment work?
IPL hair removal is easy to do at home and done using a flashgun-like device that emits a spectrum of light to your skin. This light energy used in the IPL technology focuses on the area that needs to be treated, and the hair pigment melanin absorbs this light, stimulating the hair to fall out. Thus, giving you hair-free, smooth skin.
You will notice that the hair growth after four weeks of IPL treatment will be lesser and thinner. After completing a session of 12 weeks, the hair growth will reduce completely, providing you with silky, smooth skin for a longer time. However, you may have to continue touch-ups as needed.
It is most effective on darker coloured body hair, as the melanin absorbs the light. For lighter tones of hair, it can be difficult as there is limited or no melanin present. You can do IPL to remove hair from full body, but you can also use it to treat separate areas, like arms, legs, or bikini areas.
Keep in mind, you can’t wax or epilate the hair before the treatment. However, you need to shave the area to be treated before using IPL device. It is recommended to a patch test before going ahead with the treatment for sensitive areas.
Who can get IPL treatment?
IPL works best for people with darker hair shades and lighter skin tones. So, if you have darker hair with paler to medium skin tone, you are an ideal candidate for IPL. Before using an IPL device at home, you may choose to talk to your dermatologist to understand the details.
Who shouldn't get IPL treatment at home?
IPL treatment is not suitable for everyone, as the flashes of light can only target hair that has melanin in greater amounts. Very blonde, white, grey, or red hair have very little melanin, so IPL won't be effective on these shades of hair, irrespective of their white or paler skin tones.
IPL should be avoided by pregnant women or those with certain skin or hair conditions. It is also not recommended for people undergoing particular treatments. If you have permanent make-up or tattoos, IPL hair removal can be ineffective in this case too.
You should also not consider IPL if you are sensitive to light, have a resurfacing skin disorder, suntan, or use a retinoid cream or tanning creams.
How Long Will It Take to See the Results?
The typical hair growth cycle is different for individuals and depending on your body area could take up to 18-24 months. For example, areas like underarm, lower leg and bikini area can take the most time. You may have to do multiple IPL treatments at home to get continuously smooth skin, as only the hair in its growing phase is receptive to flashes of light.
Hence, it is best to go ahead with a start-up phase of 4-12 weekly IPL hair removal sessions at home to see optimum results. Depending on the hair removal area, the session could take around 20 minutes to an hour. If you’ve just started, you may feel a pinching sensation like that of a snapping rubber band.
If your hair growth has reduced or stopped, you don’t have to continue with the complete full 12 weekly sessions. You can then move to maintenance treatments.
Things to Remember Before Using IPL at Home
When you're doing IPL hair removal at home, it is best to follow the usage guidelines mentioned in the product booklet. Here are some things you should consider before:
Avoid getting tanned in the sun, in a tanning bed, or with tanning creams before IPL hair removal.
It is recommended to shave and not epilate any visible hair on the surface before using the IPL machine on the skin.
Make sure there are no open wounds, broken skin, or inflamed areas on the skin you’re planning to treat.
Avoid intense exfoliation treatments, such as microdermabrasion, as this increases the risk of inflammation and side effects after your IPL hair removal
Don't wear any perfume, makeup, deodorant, or any skin irritants.
Avoid taking any medication before the session which can make you bleed more.
Don't take any medicine that has a chance of making you sensitive to the sun.
If you're wondering about "how long does IPL hair removal last?", then the answer isn't definite. You will require multiple sessions depending on your hair to reduce the amount of hair growth post the session.
IPL hair removal can be done safely at home. All you need to do is follow the guidelines to achieve best results.