What Is Intense Pulse Light (IPL) Hair Removal?

Millions of women, as well as men, have unwanted hair on their body. If this sounds familiar, you should consider intense pulse light (IPL) hair removal. It offers a safe and effective way to remove unwanted hair. As a result, it's become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional hair removal solutions like shaving and waxing. Before making the commitment to IPL, though, there are a few things you should about this modern hair removal technique.

Overview of IPL Hair Removal

IPL is a noninvasive hair removal procedure that involves the use of broad-spectrum light pules -- typically in the spectral range of 400 to 1,200 nm -- to inhibit the growth cycle of hair follicles. Light within this spectral range permanently damages hair follicles.

It's important to note that IPL is only designed to damage and destroy hair follicles in the growth phase. Therefore, several treatments may be needed to achieve desirable results.

Even if all or most of the hair follicles are destroyed during the first treatment session, new hair follicles may enter the growth phase just months later. And unless these new follicles are targeted with IPL, they'll form new hair. By scheduling several treatment IPL sessions, you can rest assured knowing that the problematic hair won't regrow.

IPL has origins dating back to the late 1990s, during which the procedure was described in medical literature. Since then, it's become one of the most popular solutions for permanent hair removal on the market.

What to Expect During IPL Hair Removal

During a typical IPL hair removal session, a professional aesthetician will use a light-emitting wand to selectively targeted areas of your skin with unwanted or otherwise problematic hair. The wand is designed to create pulses of broad-spectrum light. Each pulse emits light that's absorbed by your skin. At the same, the light pulses create heat. The combination of broad-spectrum light and heat destroys hair follicles during the growth phase, causing the targeted hair to fall out.

Some of the different areas of the body that IPL laser hair removal can target include the following:

  • Lips
  • Chin
  • Cheeks
  • Chest
  • Underarms
  • Bikini
  • Legs
  • Back

Is IPL Hair Removal the Same as Laser?

The terms "IPL" and "laser" are often used interchangeably when referring to light-based hair removal solutions. Although they are both offer permanent hair removal, however, they aren't necessarily the same. Both IPL and laser hair removal use light, as well as heat, to destroy hair follicles. The difference is that laser hair removal uses light in a single wavelength, whereas IPL uses light in a broad-spectrum wavelength. As a result, IPL typically yields better results than its laser counterpart.

Because it uses broad-spectrum light, IPL is a better choice for men and women with dark and thick hair. Single-spectrum light isn't easily absorbed by men and women with dark and thick hair. With its ability to produce light in a broad spectrum, however, IPL is able to absorb deeper into the skin, thereby destroying hair follicles during the growth phase.

Benefits of IPL Hair Removal

IPL laser hair removal offers several benefits. First and foremost, it's a permanent solution for hair removal. When you shave or wax, the targeted hair will regrow. Waxing is a little better than shaving in this regard.

Shaving typically offers smooth skin for about two or three days, whereas waxing offers smooth skin for two to four weeks. Nonetheless, the hair will eventually regrow, at which point you'll have to either shave or wax again. IPL is often preferred over shaving and waxing because it offers permanently smooth skin. The follicles are heated with broad-spectrum light to the point where they are unable to regrow.

Choosing IPL hair removal may even save you money in the long run. To say shaving is expensive would be an understatement. You must purchase new razors as well as shaving cream or gel, all of which can take a toll on your personal budget over time.

According to a survey conducted by American Laser Centers, the average woman spends over $10,000 on shaving-related products during her lifetime. Don't assume that waxing is any cheaper, either. The same survey found that the average woman spends $23,000 on waxing services during her lifetime. With just a few IPL hair removal sessions, you can eliminate the need for shaving and waxing, allowing you to save money.

Of course, it's also worth mentioning that IPL is a highly effective hair removal solution. According to one study, the number of hairs in the targeted areas was reduced by 60% after 12 weeks. By one year, the number of hairs in the targeted areas was reduced by 75%.

This is because IPL is able to disrupt hair follicles deep at their roots. As the targeted hair follicles are exposed to light and heat, they begin to die. The dead hair follicles can't regrow new hair, so IPL is able to deliver permanent results.

How to Get the Best Results With IPL Hair Removal

If you're planning to get IPL hair removal, you should first consult with a professional aesthetician to determine whether you're a suitable candidate. IPL, for example, doesn't work on blonde or gray hair. The good news is that it works for pretty much all other hair colors.

Try to refrain from tanning in the weeks leading up to your IPL hair removal treatment. IPL is more effective at removing hair on dark-skinned individuals than laser, but it still works best on people with fair skin complexions. Therefore, if you get IPL hair removal immediately after returning from a beach vacation, you may not experience the best results.

During your initial consultation, the aesthetician will likely advise you to shave your skin prior to IPL hair removal. Shaving allows the IPL light to penetrate deeper and more easily into the skin, which in turn improves the results of IPL hair removal. Of course, you won't have to shave the treatment. Rather, you only need to shave prior to IPL so that the light can penetrate deeper into your skin.

Some people assume that IPL hair removal is painful, but this isn't the case. As previously mentioned, it only causes mild discomfort. Another common myth is that IPL only offers temporary results. As previously mentioned, though, IPL doesn't just remove hair; it destroys hair follicles so that they are unable to regrow.

In Conclusion

IPL is a noninvasive procedure for the permanent removal of hair. It involves the use of broad-spectrum light to heat and destroy hair follicles during the growth phase. Like laser, it revolves around the use of heat and light. But only IPL uses broad-spectrum light that's able to penetrate deeper into the skin to achieve better results. If you're tired of shaving every few days -- or waxing every few weeks -- perhaps IPL is the answer. It's a noninvasive and effective solution for permanent hair loss.

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