Blog Post

What Are the Benefits Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Hair Removal?

Think shaving and waxing are the hair removal solutions available? Think again. Intense pulsed light (IPL) offers an alternative way to remove unwanted hair. Whether the hair is on your face, legs, neck, check, bikini area, back or underarms, it can remove it. Considering that shaving and waxing are both readily available and well-known solutions, though, you might be wondering what benefits IPL offers.

The Basics of IPL Hair Removal: What You Should Know

As the name suggests, IPL involves the use of intense pulses of light to remove unwanted hair. During the procedure, a device is used to project pulses of broad-spectrum light onto the skin. The light doesn’t damage the skin, nor does it harm any other tissue. Rather, it’s absorbed primarily by hair follicles.

Broad-spectrum light is designed to target melanin. Although some melanin is located in the skin, most of this natural pigment is found in hair follicles. As a result, the intense pulses of broad-spectrum light are largely absorbed by hair follicles. As the hair follicles absorb the light, they become heated to the point of destruction.

It’s important to note that IPL only works on hair follicles during the growth phase. Our bodies constantly regrow new hairs. It’s a cycle that consists of three primary phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. The anagen phase is known as the growth phase. During this phase, nutrient-rich flood nourishes the follicle to stimulate hair growth. After anagen is the catagen phase. During the catagen phase, the follicle separates from the blood supply, thereby restricting the hair of nutrient-rich blood. Finally, the telogen phase is characterized by the hair falling out of the follicle. Without nutrient-rich blood, the hair becomes loose and eventually falls out of the follicle.

The broad-spectrum light used in IPL is only designed to remove hair during the growth phase of the follicle. If a follicle is in the telogen or catagen phase, the hair won’t be affected by the broad-spectrum light. Only follicles in the growth phase will be affected by IPL, which is why it’s important to have multiple sessions of IPL to achieve the best results.

IPL hair removal has been around since the late 1990s, during which the procedure was first described in medical literature. Since then, it’s become an increasingly popular alternative to shaving and waxing. The procedure simply involves the application of light pulses on the skin. The broad-spectrum light will penetrate the skin to heat up, and therefore destroy, the underlying follicles. As the follicles die, they release their respective hairs, resulting in smooth and hairless skin.

Say ‘Goodbye’ to Razors

While shaving is the most popular hair removal method, with over half of all U.S. women using a razor to remove unwanted hair, it’s a time-consuming and downright expensive process. Statistics show the average woman spends nearly 11 minutes shaving. Assuming you shave every other day, that means you’ll spend over two and a half hours shaving each month. Not only is shaving time-consuming; it’s expensive. With disposable razors costing anywhere from $1 to $10 a piece, you may spend hundreds of dollars on razors each year just to shave — and that’s not accounting for the cost of shaving cream, lotion and other shaving products.

With IPL, you can finally say “goodbye” to razors once and for all. You won’t have to waste time shaving your legs or body every other day, nor will you have to waste money on razors or other shaving products. It’s a safe and effective hair removal solution that’s become an increasingly popular alternative to shaving with a razor.

Silky-Smooth Skin

IPL offers silky-smooth skin that’s not possible with other hair removal solutions. Shaving, unfortunately, isn’t particularly effective at creating silky-smooth skin. Only about one-quarter of a typical strand of hair is exposed outside the skin. The remaining three-quarters is buried in the follicle below the skin’s surface. Therefore, shaving leaves most of the hair behind. When you shave, you’ll simply scrape away the top section of the hairs, leaving the remainder behind the follicles where it can quickly regrow.

Of course, IPL doesn’t “scrape away” hair like shaving does. It’s designed to destroy the follicles by heating them with broad-spectrum light. Assuming the follicle is in the growth phase, also known as the anagen phase, the broad-spectrum light will destroy it. This causes the hair in the follicle to fall out. More importantly, the hair won’t be able to regrow because the follicle itself is destroyed.

Long-Lasting Results

You can rest assured knowing that IPL offers long-lasting results. Shaving offers the shortest results of all modern hair removal methods. When you shave, you can expect the hairs to regrow within a few days. Waxing lasts a little longer, with hair regrowing in about three to four weeks. IPL, however, offers the longest results of all three hair removal methods.

As previously mentioned, IPL destroys hair follicles so that they can’t regrow new hairs. Even after a year, you should still have silky smooth skin. Hair can’t regrow in follicles affected by broad-spectrum light, making IPL a highly effective, as well as permanent, solution for the removal of unwanted hair. Once the follicle has been destroyed, it won’t regrow new hair.

No Recovery Time

There’s no downtime needed for IPL hair removal. After having the procedure performed, you can return to your daily activities. With that said, you must avoid sunlight during your treatment schedule so that it doesn’t interfere with the results. But because it’s a noninvasive cosmetic procedure, IPL doesn’t require any downtime; just remember to stay out of the sunlight and follow all other post-procedure instructions specified by your practitioner.

Are There Any Disadvantages to IPL Hair Removal?

IPL doesn’t really have any disadvantages when compared to other common hair removal solutions like shaving and waxing. Nonetheless, there are still a few things you should know about it.

The effectiveness of IPL, for example, is heavily influenced by the type of hair on which it’s performed. It’s more effective when performed on dark hair than light hair. Melanin is responsible for giving hair its color, and dark hair has more melanin than light hair. As a result, dark hair absorbs more of the broad-spectrum light used in IPL than light hair, making it ideal for this hair removal solution. IPL may still work on light hair, but its less effective because of the low melanin content in light hair.

While not necessarily disadvantage, it’s worth noting that multiple sessions of IPL are recommended for the best results. Depending on the area of the body being treated, you may need four to eight sessions. Of course, you won’t have all these IPL sessions performed at once. Rather, they’ll be performed over a period of time.

In Conclusion

IPL is a noninvasive cosmetic procedure that’s highly effective at removing unwanted hair. It involves the use of a light-emitting device to heat up hair follicles until they are destroyed. Some of the notable benefits of IPL include the elimination of shaving and waxing, silky-smooth skin and long-lasting results. If you’re fed up with shaving or waxing, you should consider making the switch to IPL.

Want to learn more about IPL hair removal? Request a free consultation with Radiance Medspa today!