Permanent Hair Removal
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a safe and effective way to permanently remove unwanted hair. IPL uses broad-based light to target melanin in the hair shaft as well as the hair follicle. As soon as the focused broad-spectrum light rays strike the melanin, they are converted into heat energy. This heat energy destroys the hair roots, bulbs and shafts. It also destroys the entire hair follicle and other surrounding cells that are responsible for hair re-growth.
IPL devices have filters which can narrow the band of wavelengths being used, making them capable of targeting specific areas. That makes this device perfect for small, targeted areas like the upper lip, ears, or nose, and ideal for spot treatments and touch ups later on.
Typically IPL treatments are more effective for removing hair on people with lighter skin. For those with darker skin tones, the light may have trouble differentiating between the dark pigment in the skin, and the dark pigment of the hair.
Tips for IPL Hair Removal
While IPL does not really require any significant downtime, there are a few guidelines to follow before, after, and between treatments. Here are some suggestions from the IPL Removal Guide:
Before IPL treatments – be sure to refrain from any hair removal methods for at least two weeks before your appointment, that includes shaving. A certain amount of hair growth is necessary for the IPL technician to easily target the area to be treated. Generally, the more visible the hair, the more successful the session is. In addition, the use of waxing, depilatory creams, etc. tend to leave the skin weakened and prone to breaking. You will need to ensure that the skin on the area to be treated is in optimal condition. It will be a good idea to keep it moisturized daily.
After IPL treatments – your skin will feel as though it got sunburned. For most people, this discomfort only lasts a few hours. You can ease the sensation by using cold compresses on the area and applying aloe vera gel or sunburn creams. While you can shower and wash normally, avoid using harsh soaps that can cause dryness, because skin needs adequate moisture to heal. Use lotion after bathing, but avoid those with very strong fragrances or other added potential irritants. Do not use any product with alpha-hydroxyl acids (AHA) in it. Be sure to avoid rubbing the area; simply pat dry with a soft towel. For underarm treatments, it is recommended that you gently wipe the area with alcohol and avoid the use of any deodorants for the first 24 hours. Some redness and swelling is normal, but any crusting will require the use of an antibiotic cream. For at least three weeks after treatment, no new hair growth will occur, although some stubble may appear. This is simply dead hair being pushed out of dead follicles and should be shed soon. If not, you can try some gentle exfoliation with a loofah to hasten the process.
Between IPL treatments – avoid exposure to sunlight for about 60 days after each treatment to avoid the development of pigmentation in the area. Your skin will be photosensitive. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. While shaving is allowed, you will need to wait for about four to five days. Other hair removal methods such as waxing, tweezing and even bleaching are to be avoided at all costs. After the initial session, it is a good idea to go back for a check-up with your IPL consultant in about one week. This will give you both a chance to assess your reaction to the treatment, discuss any concerns, and set the intervals for the succeeding sessions.
How many treatments will it take?
Because hair undergoes four different stages of growth, it is highly unlikely that an area can be completely treated in one or two sessions. Usually, one session will result in a 30% reduction of total hair growth in a certain area. However, while it is clear that complete hair removal is not possible in just one or two sessions, each case will vary depending on skin type and color of hair.
Finally, you should know that neither laser, nor IPL, is effective at removing hair where there is no pigment. So people with white, grey and red hairs are not good candidates for hair removal using IPL, and may wish to consider electrolysis for permanent hair removal.
- Intense Pulsed Light Treatments – Are They for You? (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Photo Facial – For Clearer, Brighter, More Radiant Skin (healthyskinsolutions.com)