IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, it is a light-based technology that uses pulses of light to remove unwanted hair. The technology was originally developed and used for cosmetic and medical purposes only, until patient’s began noticing a reduction in the amounts of hair in the treatment area. Soon after experiments began to gauge the efficiency of IPL for hair removal. These experiments ultimately resulted in the first IPL Hair Removal System being approved in the US in 1995. Early models used unfiltered light which caused considerable discomfort and side-effects. Thankfully, the technology has improved significantly and now IPL machines have built-in filters that block harmful light and include cooling features as well.
How Does IPL Work?
IPL uses full-spectrum and low-range infrared light to target the melanin found in hair and skin. Melanin is found in higher concentrations around the base of the hair follicle. Heat is generated by the light being absorbed by the dark pigment in the hair follicle, destroying the papilla – which is what creates hair growth. Typically two weeks post treatment, the hair will be shed, leaving smooth and stubble-free skin. The goal is to permanently disable the hair follicle, preventing future regrowth. Multiple treatments are sometimes necessary to achieve the desired result in certain areas.
Can Anyone Get Intense Pulsed Light Treatment?
Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for this type of hair removal. A good contrast between the targeted pigment and the surrounding skin tone is required to achieve results. People with very dark skin run the risk of absorbing too much light, causing burns in the skin and loss of pigment. Additionally, the hair must be dark for the light treatment to work, thus areas with gray or blonde hair will not absorb enough light to destroy the follicle. If you are in the 1 to 4 range on the Fitzpatrick scale, IPL is considered safe.
Is IPL Permanent?
IPL can permanently reduce or eliminate unwanted hair, but not always. This is where biology and hair cycle growth come into play. The targeted hair must be in a certain phase of growth to be effectively eliminated. In addition, certain areas of the body can regrow hair even after being hair-free for a long period of time. This is particularly true for the underarms, chin, and upper lip due to fluctuating hormones. Patients can expect, on average, a 70% reduction in hair after two treatment sessions and increasing with subsequent treatments.
Does Intense Pulsed Light Treament Hurt?
Most patients find IPL to be slightly uncomfortable, more or less so depending on the area of treatment. The sensation could be described as being similar to getting popped with a rubber band. At Restorations we follow each light pulse with a brief cold compress to alleviate any discomfort. Any pain that is experienced, however, is very brief with only slight residual discomfort continuing for the following few hours after treatment.
The certified aestheticians at Restorations Medical Spa pride themselves on providing only the most advanced technology and techniques. With regular continuing education, we take aesthetic care very seriously. Restorations Medical Spa is the top IPL treatment provider in Bartlesville and surrounding areas. Call our office to set up a free consultation to determine if IPL is the right choice for your beauty goals. Our number is 918-331-2329.