The Ins and Outs of Intense Pulse Lighting (IPL)

Woman lifting up left armTweezing, shaving, and waxing to remove unwanted hair can be time-consuming, painful, and only temporary. Intense Pulse Lighting (IPL) hair removal is a permanent and virtually painless way to remove unwanted hair.

Are You a Good Candidate for IPL?

IPL is a form of light therapy used for hair removal and other dermatology-related procedures, such as skin rejuvenation. For hair removal, IPL works by acting on the pigment in the hair. The pigment in the hair follicle absorbs a light from a flash lamp; the light then rapidly turns to heat, which kills the cells that cause hair growth.

Due to the speed and nature of the procedure, IPL works best for hair darker than the skin with large treatment areas. IPL will not work on white hair, since it has no pigment, and most other light colored hair.

IPL vs. Laser Hair Removal

IPL can be less painful compared to laser hair removal depending on the candidate. There's less risk of skin damage with IPL since it uses gentle wavelengths of energy. Traditional lasers use an intense wavelength, with pain feeling like a rubber band snapping; which can cause certain side effects, such as redness.
IPL Advantages

  • Extremely effective in removing unwanted hair permanently.
  • IPL can be performed anywhere on the body.
  • IPL treatments can be customized according to skin type, hair color, and thickness.
  • When facial hair is treated, IPL will also reduce the appearance of age spots, fine wrinkles, and acne.
  • Because IPL therapy is a non-invasive treatment, there is little to no downtime.
  • Therapy sessions can be done in short amounts of time, typically 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Makeup can often be worn after an IPL treatment.

Preparing for an IPL Session

  • It’s important to not wax or tweeze for four weeks prior to an IPL treatment.
  • Shave the area prior to your IPL session. Long hairs absorb the light energy, preventing it from reaching the hair follicle. Trimmed hair allows for maximum transmission of the energy.
  • Leave a small patch of hair for your therapist to assess hair color and thickness in order to achieve best results prior to your first treatment.

IPL Delivers Lasting Results

It may take between 6-12 treatments to remove all hair. Most see a significant reduction in hair density, and new hair growth tends to be finer, after only one or two sessions. You may need to go back every 6-12 months for a touch-up, regularly schedule sessions to get better results. For more information to determine if you’re a good candidate for IPL, book an appointment with Hollywood Dermatology today.

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