Is IPL Hair Removal Right for You?

Is IPL Hair Removal Right for You?

We’ve all been there, vowing to ditch the razor after suffering through another painful nick or bout of razor burn. But, after a little initial research into more long-term hair removal options, arises the question—which hair removal treatment is the best option? For those interested in Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal treatments, read on to discover how IPL works to deliver the smooth skin results you’re craving and whether you’re an ideal candidate.

A Quick History of IPL Hair Removal

IPL hair removal treatments have been the subject of studies dating back to the late 1990s, when these devices were first reported to achieve a 60% improvement rate in hair regrowth over 12 weeks. Further developments in IPL technology hit the wider market in the early 2000s. Since that time, IPL hair removal has grown in popularity among men and women to the point that international hair removal brands are offering IPL-powered devices for at-home use. Of course, these at-home devices are not as powerful as in-clinic devices. 

In 2017, the American Society of Plastic Surgery reported hair removal treatments were among the top five non-invasive treatments requested by consumers. In its 2018 survey, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery noted hair removal treatments accounted for 48% of all cosmetic procedures performed.

What Is IPL Hair Removal and How Does It Work?

The IPL hair removal treatment works by delivering a pulse of energy via broad spectrum light that targets melanin. When energy makes contact with melanin in a hair follicle, it transfers to heat, destroying the follicle’s structure and inhibiting regrowth.

It’s important to note that hair naturally grows in three phases: a resting phase (telogen), a transitional phase (catagen), and a growth phase (anagen). IPL hair removal treatments are only able to effectively target and destroy hair follicles in the anagen phase, which is why you’ll need more than one treatment. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, patients can expect a 10-25% reduction in hair growth per hair removal treatment, with most treatment providers agreeing IPL treatments offer similar results per session.

Are You an Ideal Candidate for IPL Hair Removal?

IPL hair removal treatments are a good choice for anyone looking for a stress-free alternative to shaving, waxing, or depilatory creams, and are willing to make a short-term commitment to a hair removal treatment plan to ensure optimal results. However, there are some factors that may suggest IPL hair removal treatments may not be right for you:

  • Metal or other implants in the treatment area
  • Current diagnosis or history of cancer
  • Pregnant or currently nursing
  • Any diseases that can be stimulated by light (e.g. epilepsy)
  • History of disease that can be stimulated by heat (e.g. herpes)
  • Poorly controlled endocrine disorders (e.g. diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome)
  • Any active condition in the treatment area (e.g. eczema, psoriasis, rash)
  • History of skin disorders, keloids, unusual wound healing, or excessively dry and/or sensitive skin
  • Any surgical procedures within the past three months
  • A tattoo or permanent makeup in the treatment area
  • Dark or excessively tanned skin (Since IPL targets pigment under the skin’s surface, these treatments work best for those with a light to medium skin tone and darker hair.)

For those who aren’t the ideal candidate for IPL laser hair removal, diode laser hair removal may be a better alternative. For instance, diode laser hair removal treatments equipped with cooling technology can better target melanin in the hair in some darker and tanned skin tones. As with any IPL or laser hair removal treatment plan, your aesthetics treatment provider will perform a test patch that will be monitored for 15 minutes to 48 hours, depending on skin tone and hair color, prior to your first full treatment session to assess your skin’s reaction.

Interested in learning more about IPL or diode laser hair removal treatments or looking for a custom hair removal treatment recommendation that would be safest for your skin tone? Contact a certified treatment provider near you today using the search field below.

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