During the session a pulsating device is used to selectively target and get rid of unwanted hair, leaving the surrounding skin undamaged
About This Deal
Read our Laser-Hair Removal Guide to learn more about what to expect, how long it lasts, and if it hurts.
- Six Laser Hair Removal Treatments for Small Area
- Six Laser Hair Removal Treatments for Medium Area
- Six Laser Hair Removal Treatments for Large Area
IPL Hair Removal: Polishing Pulses of Light
Similar to laser hair removal, IPL stunts the growth of unwanted hair at its source. Read on to learn more about how pulses of light result in smooth skin.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) devices shower skin with an invisible rainbow of light consisting of hundreds of wavelengths. This light naturally targets a type of pigment known as melanin—the same chemical responsible for skin tanning—within the hair follicles, heating the follicles that are in their active growth phase to discourage future hairs from sprouting. Because the melanin absorbs the focused light, IPL treatments can eliminate hair while having little impact and causing only limited irritation to surrounding skin cells. However, this basic principle also limits the conditions in which IPL treatments can be effective. Those with darker skin and fairer hair, for instance, may require extra sessions, and gray hairs—that is, hairs that lack melanin altogether—are too wise and set in their ways to be affected. Tanning may affect the melanin in the hair as well, so patients are discouraged from sunbathing before their treatment.
From a practical and experiential standpoint, IPL hair-removal treatments are virtually indistinguishable from laser hair removal, which also eliminates hair by targeting melanin within the follicles. The distinction is mostly technical: laser treatments emit focused light at a fixed wavelength, whereas IPL treatments employ pulses in a wide range of wavelengths simultaneously.
What to Expect
Although there are different types of IPL devices, most have the same basic functionality. In a typical treatment, a technician presses a handheld device against a target area, emitting a quick pulse of light that can treat multiple hairs at once in a split second; for most patients, this will feel like someone is pinching the area of skin being treated. Many devices also have a gentle vacuum on the end that sucks hair and skin closer to the laser emission, making it easier to target the follicles.