It’s been a while since we introduced IPL to you, so we’ll forgive you if you don’t quite remember just how awesome it is. (You can catch up here!) And we’re super excited to announce that today’s blog is the first of three focusing on the increasingly popular treatment – and the various things it can be used for.
For those of you short on time, here’s a quick recap: The procedure enables pigment cells in the skin to absorb the light energy emitted, before being converted into heat, which then destroys any unwanted pigment. Unsurprisingly, it can be used for a whole host of skin conditions, but today we’re focusing on IPL for hair removal.
How does it work?
By emitting a wavelength into the skin, IPL works like a flash lamp, targeting melanin – the pigment in hair – before being absorbed into it and swiftly destroying it, thanks to the heat energy that it is quickly converted into. It only works, however, on living hair, which makes up around 25% of the hair on your body at any given time. Dead hair can take up to three weeks before being shed by the skin, which is why you usually need a fair number of sessions of IPL to make sure you catch all the hairs while they’re alive. Vitally, it gives effective results no matter where it’s administered on the body – including the face, underarms, legs or bikini line.
IPL has come a long way since it was first introduced in the 90s, with results now more effective – and more permanent – than ever. But the burning question on everyone’s mind is always around how it compares to laser.
IPL hair removal vs laser
The great thing about IPL is that it offers multiple wavelengths, unlike laser treatments which use just one at any given time, meaning it achieves a broad area of skin and, more importantly, unwanted hair. IPL is often a quicker method than laser over large areas, meaning it’s a great choice for you if you’re short on time, but be prepared to have up to 12 courses of treatment for permanent hair reduction. Another benefit is that it’s also a cheaper alternative – as well as causing virtually no downtime. Something to bear in mind, however, is that IPL is only advisable if you have dark hair and fair skin, so you may want to look at laser if this isn’t you.
IPL hair removal at home: Yay or nay?
While at-home IPL devices are everywhere and do offer some results, they are limiting – far more so than if you had it done at a professional salon. They may be beneficial in helping you maintain your new fuzz-free skin, acting to zap away the odd hair here or there, but first and foremost you should always invest in a full course conducted by trained professionals (like us!). If the IPL hair removal system is not operated safely or correctly, you may experience some negative side effects, so not something you want to be taking a gamble on.
Another thing to bear in mind: Don’t be tempted by the cheapest offer out there, as if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. And when you’re considering a permanent solution, meaning you’ll never need to fork out on waxing, razors, epilators and the like ever again, it really is worthwhile to pay for top quality. Prioritise the cost of the results – notthe cost of treatments.
Dos and don’ts before treatment
- Have a patch test beforehand
- Shave both before and in between treatments
- Wax, pluck or thread before and during treatments as IPL will only work with hair in its growth stage, i.e. when it is still attached to the follicle
- Go for IPL while pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have a tan during – or immediately after – treatment as it can target pigment in the skin and cause scarring
IPL hair removal results speak for themselves. So, what are you waiting for?
Featured image: Gloria Mckelvy, Flickr
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