Innovations in technology bring us forward from weary days of shaving legs and arms to zapping those unwanted hairs goodbye in a flash.
IPL or Intense Pulse Light is one of the most effective ways to keep your skin hair free with impressive long term results.
What is IPL?
IPL is a new technology which is used to remove or reduce hair, among many other purposes. It uses xenon flash lamps and focusing optics to deliver this high intensity light.
How does it Work?
An applicator head which filters light from a high intensity flash is placed in contact with your skin. The wavelength from the intense light targets the melanin (the chemical that give hair/skin its color) and is absorbed by it. This filtered light which is absorbed and then transferred to the surrounding cells and converts it to heat. The rise in temperature destroys the cells rendering them unable to produce hair.
What are the Differences between IPL and Laser Hair Removal?
The difference between IPL to laser therapies is that it uses multiple wavelengths, while the latter uses a single and refined one. Although it can’t be refined, the intensity of the light emitted In IPL can be altered using filters.
IPL hair removal procedure is relatively cheaper compared to the standard cost of laser therapy. Its wide coverage allows it to treat more areas of skin at one time. So treatments for usual parts such as the arms and the legs would be done in shorter time, with long-term results and at a fraction of the price in laser therapy.
How does the Treatment go about?
The different settings found on the device allow the physician to manipulate it according the specific hair and skin type of the patient. Dark-haired people are easier to treat compared to those with lighter hair, because the former has high melanin concentration resulting to better absorption of the high intensity light. The more light energy that is absorbed, the more heat transformed to act on the surrounding cells of the hair.
Who are perfect candidates for this procedure?
Any skin type can be treated, although those who have darker hair with lighter skin can have good chances of permanent hair removal. This happens because IPL targets the larger concentration of melanin found deep down in the hair roots. And as mentioned before the more melanin, the higher the thermal energy delivered and better destruction for the hair follicle.
But for a person with dark-colored skin, the melanin that are already abundant at the superficial layers absorbs most of the rays, and only a little light energy is left to destroy the roots of the hair follicles. That is why dark-skinned people should receive less light energy, because the high melanin concentration in their skin will generate more heat and would be painful. This case would need more sessions to see full effect.
Does this procedure hurt?
Once the light hits you skin, patients usually describe the sensation as if an elastic band was snapped directly on the area. The pain goes away quickly, and it doesn’t leave any stinging or lingering painful sensations. Although for those with dark-colored skin and with a dense distribution of hair, it might hurt quite a bit. But most patients would describe it to be tolerable.
How will it look like after the procedure?
Right after the procedure, it is only normal to experience redness and swelling on the treated area. It may look like it is sunburnt and eventually form small scabs, but it will subside in a couple of days.
How many sessions are required to get maximum results?
It is advisable to have multiple treatments because the hair goes through different cycles, and it is only on the active phase where the follicle can be permanently destroyed. For a one time session, only a third of these hairs will be targeted, that is why you need to come back for another therapy to catch these hairs on the appropriate stage. Some clinics would advise at least 5 to 10 sessions to see significant change.
Successful Intense Pulse Light therapy is a good method to take care of those unsightly hairs. But it depends upon many factors such as the amount and color of hair you want removed, your skin pigmentation, the expertise of your doctor, and the frequency of your sessions.