You have probably heard a lot about how convenient laser hair removal is. But did you know you can treat unwanted hair with other forms of light as well? Intense pulsed light (IPL) uses a completely different light spectrum to treat each hair. To understand why you should choose one treatment over another you have to examine the intricacies of how they cause hairs to fall out.
Why Both are Used as Hair Removal Techniques
Both IPL and laser treatment are considered to be less time-consuming than traditional hair removal methods like shaving. The reason is that they are able to treat hair roots instead of removing only the top (outer) portions of each hair that can be seen. By causing weakness down the entire shaft of each hair to the root the entire hair eventually falls out. Since the new hair has to grow through more skin layers to poke through the surface, the regrowth process takes much longer than it would after shaving a hair off of your body.
How Lasers Weaken and Remove Hairs
Skincare lasers are light and heat-producing machines. They produce specific beams of light on particular frequencies safe for use on your skin. If you have a laser treatment each of your hairs in the targeted area will be affected. Lasers are designed to be able to accurately locate every hair. Once located, the laser light and heat travels down each hair shaft like a tunnel, weakening the entirety of each hair. Deeper tissues penetrated by laser light are places shaving razors cannot go.
Lasers are also able to focus on even the tiniest protruding hairs. So, if you sign up for treatment with laser-machines you can still shave unwanted hairs away a few days prior to treatment if you choose. But in order for lasers to have that level of accuracy you must have the right skin type for the treatment to work. For example, many lasers work better on fair-skinned individuals with dark hair. The darkness of each hair is what helps the lasers find their targets.
How IPL Devices Differ from Lasers
Lasers and IPL devices differ in important ways, which can help you to determine which one will work best for you, if either. For example, IPL devices use “cool” light, meaning that they don’t produce the same amount of heat as lasers. That may be advantageous to you if you are not a laser treatment candidate because of concerns relating to how laser heat may impact your skin. Such concerns may arise if your skin is oily or you suffer from conditions like acne.
The disadvantage of IPL when compared to laser treatment is that IPL is often a weaker form of hair removal. In other words, you may need a lot of IPL treatments compared to the number of laser treatments that may be required. One way to get around that problem is to purchase an at-home IPL device. However, at-home devices are even weaker than clinical IPL devices. So, you will have to have patience when performing self-treatment at home.
The Clinical IPL or Laser Procedure Experience
If you do choose to have clinical IPL or lasers treatments to remove your unwanted hair prepare for the need to schedule multiple appointments several weeks apart. Neither treatment will immediately eradicate the hairs. It takes time for the follicles to be weakened. When you go in for each appointment the clinician will pass the light device over your skin in a pattern determined by your hair removal needs. Your clinician will keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the process. In the case of lasers, which produce a lot of heat, your discomfort may be managed by cool air blasts and numbing lotions.