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There’s already a large range of hair removal methods available from shaving and waxing to epilating. Each have their pros and cons, but the main issue for many is that it’s not permanent. For those who are looking for an alternative solution to unwanted body hair, laser hair removal may be the way forward. If you’re unsure exactly what it is and how it works, we’ve put together the ultimate guide on everything you need to know about IPL.
IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light, which is the technology used for the hair removal. It ‘pulses’ light to travel through the skin to the root of the hair shaft. When the hair absorbs the light, it destroys the follicle which inhibits hair growth. After treating the area several times over a period of time, you should start to see a reduction in hair. It’s important to remember that once treated, the results are permanent and you won’t be able to re-grow it.
If you’re still interested in IPL to permanently reduce hair, you should remember that you must be patient. Unfortunately, having just one treatment will not achieve hairless results due to your hair’s growth cycle. Only 20-40% of your hair is living at any given time, so several treatments are required to target all of the follicles. After all of the treatment, the treated hair should not grow back again, unless you have a dramatic hormone change as this can reactivate your follicles. This could be caused by medication, thyroid issues or certain hormonal imbalances.
IPL works best on dark hair. This is because the light targets the melanin pigment, heating it up and damaging the follicle. If you have black, dark brown or even dark blonde hair, IPL will work for you. However, with the majority of IPL technologies, treating light blonde, red, white or grey hair will not be possible.
As previously mentioned, IPL light targets melanin pigment, which is present in higher concentrations in darker skin tones. Due to this, it’s best to only use the technology on lighter skin tones to reduce hair growth. If used on darker skin, it can cause discomfort, pigmentation issues and even burns. If you have a dark skin tone and want to have to have laser hair removal, skip the at-home IPL machines and go to a professional.
Similar to how you shouldn’t use IPL on dark skin tones, tattoos, freckles and moles have the same risks. As it finds the pigmentation rather than hair, it can burn or damage your skin so work around the specific area or completely avoid it.
IPL treatments shouldn’t be painful. Depending on your pain threshold, you may experience slight discomfort from the heat. If you do find it to be painful, try changing the setting to a lower concentration. To avoid causing pain, try a patch test first 24 hours before treating an area and check for a reaction.
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