What Is IPL?
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is the first technology that was used for permanent hair removal and which is currently associated with the term photoepilation, although, being laser hair removal strict should also receive this name. With both technologies the operation is the same: hair removal is done by selective photodermolysis, that is, by applying heat (up to 70º C) to the base of the hair follicle to burn it, thanks to the light being captured by melanin, which is the cellular pigment that gives color to hair and skin.
How Does It Work?
Shots of light are made, like a flash, with a xenon lamp. But, unlike the laser, it has a variable wavelength that allows the configuration of the device to adjust to the characteristics of each person’s hair and skin.
The highest depilatory efficacy is obtained in people with clear skin and dark hair, since the light acts where there is a higher concentration of melanin. Therefore, it does not affect gray hair, which is completely melanin-free, and its effectiveness is very limited in the case of blond and red hair, although in these cases it is superior to that of the laser. However, its depilatory effectiveness does not depend practically on the caliber of the hair, as it happens with laser hair removal.
How Many Sessions Are Needed And When Can The Results Be Appreciated?
Before each session a cold gel is applied on the area of the skin to be treated and then the IPL machine is activated and the shots are made at a distance of 1-5 mm from the skin. Each of them destroys several hairs and weakens others. The first ones are eliminated when the gel is removed and the others fall off by themselves after a few days. However, we must bear in mind that there are many inactive follicles on which pulsed light does not act and which will generate new hairs with the passage of time.
Hence, to obtain a permanent hair removal, an average of five sessions spaced about two months apart from each other on average is needed. The number of sessions that a person will need, however, is subject to the individual characteristics: type of hair and skin, density of the hair, extension of the area to be treated, hormonal status, genetics, etc.
It is also convenient to carry out at least one maintenance session a year later to eliminate the new hair that may have come out.