The old fashioned methods of removing hair such as shaving, tweezing and waxing are time consuming and temporary. Electrolysis and laser treatments are the only effective ways to permanently remove excess hair. However, electrolysis is slow, painful and can result in scarring.
How does IPL remove hair?
With IPL hair removal, the light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the hair and transferred to the follicle under the skin's surface. The light generates heat energy that destroys the hair growth cells within the follicle.
Due to technical advancements over the last 15 years, light based therapies from IPL & laser are now commonly used in long term and permanent hair reduction. At Fraser Clinic Appearance Medicine, the Intense Pulsed Light system is used for hair removal. The number of treatments needed to obtain optimal results varies with hair colour and density, skin type, treatment area and hair growth cycle. Light treatments impair the growth of hair follicles when they are in an active growth cycle. Not all follicles are active at the same time, so depending on the growth cycle, 4 to 6 treatments, at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks, may be required for the optimum effect.
As with other lasers, Intense Pulsed Light is more effective with darker hair. Fair or grey hair lack melanin and therefore provide no target for light absorption.
Why are multiple treatments necessary?
Depending on the number of skin conditions you are treating, and severity of the individual problem, a series of 4 to 6 treatment sessions may be recommended. You can return to work the same day and resume all your regular activities. By dividing the full programme into several treatments, the procedure provides a gradual improvement with very low risk. For hair removal, IPL can only treat the actively growing hair follicles. There are always dormant hair follicles which mature at a later time, making a number of treatments necessary to treat these as they appear.
Are there any side effects?
Significant side effects are infrequent in experienced hands. You may experience some reddening or local swelling, but these subside quite rapidly. Potentially, IPL could cause bruising, or in worse cases blistering which are uncommon, and heal without scarring generally because IPL treatments target mainly the superficial parts of the skin. In darker skin types, increased pigmentation (hyper-pigmentation) can occur but it is generally temporary. Decreased pigmentation (hypo-pigmentation) is very uncommon and may take longer to return to normal.