IPL Hair Removal: Benefits, Side Effects, and How It Works

When you’ve scrolled via BeautyTok lately, there’s a powerful risk you’ve come throughout an enthusiastic evaluation of an at-home IPL hair elimination gadget. The primary claims: These handheld devices can zap away undesirable hair and it received’t develop again straight away—or perhaps ever. We haven’t vetted each single a kind of movies, however analysis suggests these TikTokers is likely to be onto one thing. 

IPL, or intense pulsed gentle, is a broad wavelength of sunshine. Which means an IPL gadget releases a number of kinds of gentle—pink, yellow, inexperienced, and infrared—that collectively can goal completely different components of the pores and skin, together with melanin (the pigment that provides pores and skin and hair a specific coloration) and hemoglobin (a protein in blood cells that may contribute to pores and skin redness—or lack thereof). 1 Due to that, IPL can impact blood vessels, darkish spots, and hair follicles.2 “IPL hair elimination works by concentrating on the pigment within the hair follicle, heating it, and in the end destroying the follicle,” Aanand Geria, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based mostly in Verona, New Jersey, tells SELF. 3 

You may get IPL hair elimination as an in-office therapy, throughout which a dermatologist, nurse, or licensed laser technician strikes a big handheld gadget alongside the pores and skin. You may also do it your self within the consolation of your personal lavatory utilizing these smaller gadgets that will have popped up in your social media pages. 

You’re free to do no matter you please with your personal physique hair, after all, however in the event you’re in search of clean pores and skin from a hair-removal technique that’s longer-lasting than others you may’ve tried (like waxing or shaving), IPL hair elimination could possibly be for you. Maintain scrolling to be taught extra in regards to the potential advantages and dangers of IPL hair elimination (it isn’t for everybody!), the way it compares to laser hair elimination, and find out how to prep your pores and skin for IPL therapy. 

IPL vs. laser hair elimination | IPL hair elimination outcomes | IPL hair elimination unwanted side effects | IPL therapy prep | The underside line

What’s the distinction between IPL and laser hair elimination? 

Each IPL and laser hair elimination depend on gentle to wreck hair follicles, as SELF beforehand reported. Skilled-grade laser and  IPL gadgets additionally sometimes have built-in cooling programs to lower the chance of burning and relieve ache. The primary distinction is that laser therapy makes use of a selected wavelength of sunshine meant to solely goal melanin, whereas IPL is a broadband of sunshine with a number of wavelengths and endpoint targets (once more, that gentle reaches each melanin and hemoglobin, which is why IPL can even deal with some types of hyperpigmentation like melasma and birthmarks, in addition to spider veins).2 Laser hair elimination additionally tends to be barely dearer: about $300 to $400 per in-office session, in keeping with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. IPL hair elimination could value between $150 (for a facial hair elimination session) and $300 (for physique hair elimination), however the worth is determined by the dimensions of the therapy space. 

IPL could require extra classes, nonetheless—count on to guide 4 to 6 20-minute appointments each three to 6 weeks to finish the IPL therapy cycle. To match, laser hair elimination may solely contain two to 6 classes each 4 to 6 weeks to see outcomes, per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Neither therapy is everlasting everlasting, however the outcomes for each IPL and laser hair elimination can final for months, and each gadgets are FDA-approved for decreasing the quantity of hair regrowth over time.4

The IPL therapy may prevent some discomfort in comparison with laser, although.5 With IPL, your practitioner will sometimes apply a chilly gel to the realm earlier than the therapy to offset the warmth radiating from the IPL gadget. With laser hair elimination, individuals who have delicate pores and skin and are solely concentrating on smaller areas (just like the underarms) may obtain a numbing gel beforehand, however pain-wise, that may not offset the depth of the laser. (On that notice, for the most secure laser therapy, it is best to all the time go to a board-certified dermatologist who’s skilled in working with these gadgets, as really useful by the AAD.)

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What are the potential advantages of IPL hair elimination?

Analysis means that in-office IPL therapies can scale back hair development by as much as 77% in only one month.6 Skilled IPL gadgets are extra highly effective than their at-home counterparts as a result of they emit extra gentle vitality, Dr. Geria says. Nevertheless, IPL hair elimination gadgets designed for residence use can even ship promising outcomes: One 2019 examine discovered that customers had an 80% discount in hair development (particularly on the legs, armpits, and bikini space) greater than a yr after they stopped utilizing an at-home gadget.7 And one other small examine revealed within the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology confirmed that members skilled a 78% discount in hair development in simply 4 weeks of utilizing a house gadget.8

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