Your Complete Guide to Laser Hair Removal: Benefits, Risks, and Best Practices

Posted by Azadeh Shirazi MD on

What is IPL Hair Removal?

IPL Intense Pulse Light is a non-laser light device that selectively targets melanin in hair follicles, effectively reducing hair growth through brief pulses of broad-spectrum light wavelengths.

Laser vs. IPL: Which is Better?

While both methods target melanin to damage hair follicles, lasers offer concentrated light beams, making them more powerful but potentially more painful. IPL, though less intense, is preferred by some for its lower discomfort levels, particularly for larger treatment areas or individuals with lower pain tolerance.

Are At-Home IPL Devices Safe?

Safety is key when using at-home IPL devices. Ensure FDA clearance, proper cooling mechanisms, and suitability for your skin type. Test spots are essential, especially for darker skin tones, to avoid complications like burns or hyperpigmentation.

Dos and Don'ts for Safety

Follow these guidelines for safe at-home IPL usage:

  • Conduct a test spot before full treatment.
  • Avoid sunlight exposure for at least 7 days post-treatment.
  • Refrain from use on tanned or very dark skin.
  • Do not treat areas with open wounds, tattoos, moles, warts, or birthmarks
Do IPL Lasers Remove Hair Permanently?

While IPL treatments lead to significant hair reduction, they're typically referred to as "Laser Hair Reduction" rather than permanent removal. Multiple professional sessions are often needed for lasting results.

Expected Results and Side Effects

Results usually become noticeable after 3-5 sessions, with temporary side effects like redness, swelling, and follicle inflammation lasting up to a week. Some may also experience an acne-like reaction as the treated follicles expel hair over the following weeks.

Where Can IPL Be Used on the Body?

IPL is versatile and can be used on various body areas. However, curved areas may pose challenges for complete contact with the device, affecting effectiveness.

Which IPL Brand is Recommended?

While personal preference may vary, brands like Forever Bare Hair Removal, utilizing BBL (Broadband Light), are often favored for their perceived efficacy over traditional IPL devices.

Hair Type and Skin Tone Considerations

IPL is less effective on light hair colors such as blonde, white, gray, or red due to the absence of melanin as a target. Additionally, individuals with darker skin tones should exercise caution due to a higher risk of adverse effects like burns or hyperpigmentation.

By adhering to safety protocols and understanding the nuances of IPL treatment, individuals can effectively reduce unwanted hair growth with confidence and minimal risk.

If you’re interested in laser hair removal, contact my practice, La Jolla Laser Derm for more info!

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Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, MD is a Board-Certified Dermatologist.

Specializing in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Shirazi received her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University Of Kentucky College of Medicine. After doing a Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, she completed her residency training in Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in addition to completing her training in dermatology and cosmetic surgery at the University of California San Diego.

She has received multiple research scholarships from iconic institutions including Harvard University and the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and has several peer-reviewed publications to her name.