IPL for Hair Removal
What is IPL? IPL is an acronym for Intense Pulsed Light, and it is a newly available treatment for hair removal.
For hair removal, the client gets into a comfortable position on the treatment table, and a skin care technician moves a hand piece that sends intense pulses of light into the hair shafts within the skin. The dose of light is very controlled, with specific wavelengths of light used for the individual client’s own skin and hair color.
After administering the pulse of light, the hand piece is moved along the skin to the next area to be treated. The light emitted from the device travels through the skin tissue, where it is absorbed by melanin, which is the pigment which gives hair its color, and lies within the hair root. As the light is absorbed by the melanin, heat is produced which destroys the hair cells within the hair follicle wall.
IPL is safely used by individuals of all skin tones, and does not affect the pigment of the skin at all. It works on all hair colors, except for grey hair, which has lost all pigment. While IPL does not permanently eliminate hair, it greatly reduces its growth and coarseness. Typically, depending on the area being treated, the client will need IPL treatments for hair removal about one per month for the first three months, then less frequently afterward. With consistent treatments, after a year’s time, IPL may only be needed once or twice yearly to maintain results.
Side effects from IPL treatments for hair removal are generally very minimal. In nearly every instance, clients opting for IPL hair removal have no downtime from work. Serious side effects from IPL are rare, affecting less than 1% of individuals opting for the treatment. Redness around the treatment site is typical, but generally only lasts for an hour or two at most. The treatment is generally painless, in fact, much less so than electrolysis or laser treatments are. No topical anesthetics are required beforehand.
The number of total IPL treatments depends on several factors, including the density of the hair and the contrast in color between the skin and the hair to be removed. As well, there are other factors that influence hair growth such as age, genetics and hormones which may make more or fewer IPL treatments for hair removal necessary.
Typically, six-to-eight IPL treatments achieve the most optimal results, with a 50% reduction in the amount of hair occurring after two or three treatments. Prices start at $40 per treatment of a small area, going all the way up to $400 per treatment for large areas.