Light Based Hair Removal, also known as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is often confused with laser hair removal. Both have been around since the 1990s, and the technology is similar, in that they both utilize light as a method of hair removal.
However, the technology for each is different and whereas laser hair removal produces a single wavelength of light, IPL produces a broader spectrum of wavelengths. IPL is also used to treat skin discoloration, such as age spots, and broken capillaries.
It is a long-lasting method of getting rid of unwanted hair, but as new hair grows all the time it may have to be something you do regularly to maintain a hair-free appearance.
Not every skintone and hair color is suitable for IPL. The light reacts to the pigment in the hair – so the darker the hair the more likely the treatment is to work. Fair hair may not respond and people with dark skin may be unsuitable because the pigment in their skin will absorb too much of the light, rather than the hair.
If you are pregnant, breast feeding, on certain medications, are recently tanned or are menstruating you should not have IPL as any of these conditions may make you photosensitive. Your practitioner will be able to advise you, and they will always do a skin test before commencing any treatment to guage any skin reactions.
The light targets the pigments in the hair – so the darker the hair, the higher amount of pigment, and the more effective the treatment will be. The light effectively heats up the hair and follicle, causing it to die.
If your skin test shows no reaction you will be given safety goggles to protect your eyes from the light generated by the IPL machine.
Using a hand piece, the practitioner will touch your skin with flashes of light. Some machines squirt a cooling spray onto your skin at the same time. The treatment may be a little uncomfortable, with a tingling sensation, and you may smell burning as the hair is destroyed by the heat from the light. Afterwards, a soothing gel may be applied to the areas treated.
You can have light based hair removal abroad, but it usually takes a number of sessions to clear an area – and this varies from person to person as to how many are required.
If you travel abroad regularly, or are staying somewhere for several months it may be worth your while.
That depends on where you go. In the Philippines Light Based Hair Removal costs as little as $32 per session.