Does IPL Hair Removal Work?
- Author Mark Lamberg
- Published December 11, 2020
- Word count 1,375
What if we told you that you never had to deal with razor cuts, wax burns, ingrown hairs, or unsightly body hair ever again - would you believe us?
For many, silky smooth, hair-free skin is a dream, but in order to achieve such a feat, the use of less than desirable hair removal methods like sticky hot wax strips, dull razors, and smelly depilatory creams are needed. That is until now.
IPL hair removal has become increasingly popular as a safe and effective way to eliminate unwanted hair. But does it actually work?
If you've been searching for a more permanent solution to getting rid of those pesky unwanted hairs on your upper lip or the unsightly forest growing on your back, IPL hair removal is a great option. In this article, we will cover what IPL hair removal is and how it works.
So grab a cup of coffee and get comfy - let's dive in!
IPL Hair Removal vs. Laser Hair Removal: What’s The Difference?
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and laser hair removal treatment both work on the same principle when it comes to permanent hair removal. Light energy is absorbed by the pigment melanin, which is found in high concentration at the root of each hair follicle. The hair absorbs this light energy and heats up, causing damage to the follicle. Follicles are responsible for producing hairs, so when they are damaged, it prevents hair regrowth in the future.
The main difference between IPL hair removal devices and laser hair removal devices is the light source used. IPL works by using broad-spectrum light pulses that scatter onto the skin, whereas laser hair removal utilizes a specific light consisting of one wavelength or color of light, going in one, focused direction onto the skin. To be clear, IPL technology is not a form of laser treatment. It is a form of light therapy.
Due to the way IPL and laser technologies work, treatments vary in terms of:
Treatment time.Since the beam of light used in laser treatment is very concentrated, laser devices have a very small effective treatment window. This means it can take quite a bit of time to zap unwanted hair in large areas like the legs. Thanks to the broader flash of light used in IPL, IPL devices usually have a bigger treatment window, meaning they can cover a much larger area at once, resulting in a much faster overall treatment time in comparison to laser.
Pain rating. Everyone is unique, and experiences pain differently. However, the single, more pointed beam of light used during laser treatment is often reported to be more painful than IPL treatment.
Cost. It's expensive to generate laser light so laser hair removal treatment tends to come with a hefty price tag. IPL hair removal is just as effective and often much more affordable.
Longevity of results.Laser hair removal treatment may cost a little more, but the results are nothing short of amazing. But, as with any kind of light-based hair removal or reduction, you'll always need to continue with touch-up treatments to prevent hair follicles from regenerating and producing new hairs. After multiple treatments, many people will experience hair-free skin for several weeks at a time following an IPL or laser session. IPL becomes a little more convenient here because of its availability for at-home laser hair removal with home laser hair removal devices.
Safety.Laser light is extremely powerful and can even be dangerous, especially when the treatment isn't followed out by an experienced technician that specializes in laser hair removal. IPL treatment is a much safer hair removal system because the light is less concentrated, meaning less negative side effects are likely to occur. That being said, both hair removal methods are generally safe for use anywhere on the body except the eyes, with the most commonly treated areas including the underarms, legs, and bikini area, as well as smaller areas like the facial hairs on the upper lip. It's also important to note that there are different lasers for different skin types; traditional lasers are most safe and most effective for dark hair on lighter skin, while newer lasers like the Nd:YAG are safe for light hair colors and darker skin.
How Effective is IPL Hair Removal Treatment?
As we mentioned, IPL hair removal is a safe way to kick unwanted hair to the curb, but how effective is it really? To understand this, you need to know how hair grows.
Every single hair on your body has three phases of hair growth: anagen (active stage), catagen (short transitional phase between the anagen and telogen phase), and telogen (resting phase preparing to go into the anagen stage). All three of these hair growth phases occur simultaneously. Each hair follicle is independent and essentially has a mind of its own, going through the growth cycle at different times.
At any given time, about 85% - 90% of your hair is in the active anagen phase, 1-2% is in the transitional catagen phase, and 10-14% is in the resting telogen phase.
At the end of the active anagen phase, your hair enters the catagen phase, which usually lasts no more than ten days. This is when hair stops growing and transitions into the telogen phase. The final telogen phase is known as the resting phase when your hair begins to shed and rests for a period of time, ranging from one to two months for upper lip and chin hairs to three to six months for leg and bikini line hairs. Once the hair has shed completely, the anagen phase commences again.
The anagen phase is the best phase for IPL treatment because it is the phase where hair is active and visible above the skin's surface, making it easy to target and eliminate with the IPL light.
As we mentioned, every hair on your body is going through the growth cycle at different times. So, for IPL hair removal to work properly, multiple sessions are required to effectively target hair as they leave the final telogen phase and enter the active anagen phase. Everyone is different, and results tend to vary, but depending on your personal hair growth cycle and hormonal changes, you will begin to see results from IPL just after a few treatments.
What About At-Home IPL Devices?
Getting rid of undesirable hair is easier than ever with the advancements in laser light technology. Back in the day, if your goal was permanent hair reduction, you had to schedule an appointment for an in-office visit at a clinic. Today, at-home IPL hair removal has become increasingly popular as a safe and effective way to combat unwanted hair, once and for all!
When looking for an at-home IPL device that suits your needs best, there are a few things to consider:
The number of flashes. This is the number of times the IPL device can emit a flash. Once the lamp runs out of flashes, a replacement lamp will be needed. Purchase from a company like FITSKINthat offers an IPL device with over 10+ years of flashes to leave your skin silky smooth and hair-free for many years to come.
The level of intensities. This impacts how often you'll need to use the IPL device and whether you can adapt the intensity to suit your more sensitive areas. The FitSkin Laser Hair Removal Handsetoffers five different power settings to suit your skin tone or skin's sensitivity while still producing results at any level.
Corded or cordless. Some IPL devices can be used cordless, for ease of use and transportation, but be sure to check the battery strength to avoid having to stop mid-treatment, which can be frustrating. Large areas like the legs and chest will require more time per session to effectively treat unwanted hair, so look for a device like FITSKIN that comes with a 12V power supply to ensure the battery doesn't die on you during use.
If you are tired of dealing with the ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and wax burns that come from traditional methods of hair removal like waxing, shaving, and tweezing, then it's time to consider a more permanent solution: IPL hair removal. Give it a try - you'll thank us later!
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