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What Is IPL Hair Removal?

laser hair removal

IPL, or intense pulsed light, is a form of phototherapy used in the treatment of many skin disorders such as rosacea, broken capillaries, and sun spots. Most commonly however, IPL is used as an effective tool for removing and reducing unwanted hair from the face and body.

How IPL Hair Removal Works

IPL hair removal machines work by emitting short blasts of high intensity, broad spectrum light that penetrate just below the skin’s surface. This light, and the associated heat that it creates, damages the melanin within the hair follicle so that the growth is disabled and the hair falls out. In some cases, if the hair grows back at all, it is finer and lighter than before. Over the course of several removal IPL sessions, the hair can be greatly reduced, sometimes even completely removed. However, this can be difficult to achieve because the broad spectrum nature of the light does not penetrate as deeply and is not as tightly focused as more popular laser treatments. This means more general results.

Newly developed machines have become much more effective in hair reduction than previous models. Many patients find that their skin has an improved overall appearance after undergoing Intense Pulsed Light treatments. This is because the light also damages the melanin in the skin, which cause brown spots and broken blood vessels to disappear. This promotes the body’s natural healing reactions, which repair and improve the condition of the skin. Skin is often left looking firmer, smoother, and more youthful. Hair removal and photofacial in one treatment!

Because there is some heat involved with IPL hair removal machines, the technician can apply cooling gels to help protect and soothe overheated skin. Often, sessions are given approximately one month apart to prevent excessive damage to the skin. People of Asian descent or of darker color need to take extra precautions as IPL can burn the skin and cause severe hyperpigmentation in these populations. Also, body tattoos cannot be removed with IPL machines but they can be damaged from the procedure, so it is not advised for clients to undergo this treatment if they have tattoos that they wish to keep.

Laser Hair Removal vs. IPL Hair Removal

Compared to laser hair removal, IPL hair removal is less expensive, and can be used to treat many different skin conditions. Day spas have begun carrying IPL services for their clients, and this may be a good way to evaluate results before determining the need for stronger, more expensive laser treatments.

While hair removal by Intense Pulsed Light is generally a very safe procedure, there is always some risk involved. Clients and patients should take great care to examine that both the spa and technician of their choice is accredited, experienced, and insured. A good technician will discuss the needs and concerns of the patient, along with results and risks. Careful consideration will prevent disaster and provide the best results for the client.

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