Intense pulse light (IPL) utilizes light-based technology and is considered as one of the most popular skin and hair removal treatments. IPL was first utilized for hair removal in 1996, when the first FDA approved IPL device was used to treat a cohort of 80 patients in Germany. The study published by Alster et al, reported that 175 patients were treated with the novel home-pulsed system device at multiple sites on the body. As per the study, out of 175 patients treated, 65 patients were treated in the axillae region, 34 patients were treated at the legs region, 56 were treated at the bikini region and 20 patients were treated at the arms region. The patients treated at the axillae region showed 54% hair reduction in 3 months, those treated at legs showed 65% hair reduction at three months, while those at bikini region showed 56% reduction at three months and the patients treated at arms showed 58% reduction at three months. (1)
Over the last 20 years, since its inception, IPL has evolved significantly with vast improvements in the efficacy and increased safety and tolerability for the cosmetic treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions and unwanted hair. IPL has off late found wide applications across treatment of multiple contingencies including photoaging, facial telangiectasias, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, safe and long-lasting hair reduction at different locations.
There are a range of IPL devices available in market today, by multiple manufacturers, for home use. It is difficult to compare and select the best device out of many available options. Some brands might try to attract you by offering lucrative price discounts. However, you should be cautious and select a device, which is highly effective and is safe for use. Let’s discuss some of the efficacy and safety factors to keep in consideration while selecting an IPL device for home use.
Efficacy Considerations for IPL device:
To consider an IPL device, you should keep the following efficacy considerations in mind:
- Number of Flashes: This factor is defined by the count of times, an IPL device can emit a flash. Some of the devices might have a limitation of the number of flashes, however some other can offer unlimited flashes. Ideally, you should consider purchasing a device with minimum 300,000 flashes.
- Wavelength Spectrum: An effective IPL device should have a minimum wavelength spectrum range between 540nm–1,200nm. The efficacy of hair removal treatment reduces as the wavelength goes down.
- Energy Density: Lower quality IPL devices have a lower energy density ranging between 1.5 – 3.9j/cm, which can lead to ineffective treatment outcomes. You should prefer purchasing a device with energy density more than 10j/cm. Higher energy density IPL devices, result in superior and long lasting treatment outcomes.
- Level of Light Intensity: The varying level of intensity in IPL device would give you an option of treatment in more sensitive areas. Some cheaper IPL devices, might have light intensity levels upto 5, while some other superior IPL devices will have light intensity levels till 8.
- Number of Treatment Heads: In order to use the IPL device at smaller areas, you should opt for a device having a treatment head with smaller treatment window.
- Modes of selection: There can be multiple options of modes given in a device. Some of the devices might come with a glide or a stamp mode. Some other devices might consist of a skin rejuvenation or a hair removal mode. Some devices might be completely manual while some other superior devices might provide you an option of an automatic mode, wherein the intensity and safety settings of the devices are adjusted automatically to the optimum levels.
- Comfort of Use: Some of the superior devices may offer some other convenient options such as the cordless use of the device for easy use and transportation. (2, 4, 5)
Safety Considerations for IPL device:
IPL devices have time and again established their safety, through various clinical studies. A recent 2010 clinical study, comparing the safety profiles of multiple available IPL devices, highlighted that most available IPL devices are usually not complex and conform to the highest safety standards. (12)
Hence, IPL devices can be considered as the best at-home hair removal machines, that are extremely safe to use, provided the device is manufactured by a trusted and reliable brand. The most important things you should consider, from safety aspect, while purchasing an IPL device, are that the device is FDA approved and conforms to all the safety standard set by the regulatory agencies. Also, make sure to purchase a device, by a quality-focused manufacturer. Purchasing a low quality cheaper device, can cause discoloration in the skin, blisters, scarring, pain as compared to a superior quality device, which will not have any of these side effects. (10,11)
A New innovative IPL device:
EVENSKYN PULSAR, the leading premium FDA-approved at-home laser & IPL hair removal handset, is gaining popularity because of its superior quality and established safety. The device incorporates a quartz tube that confers advantages in the IPL scattered light, longer product life, pain-free treatment. The device utilizes multiple wavelengths to rejuvenate the skin, thereby covering a larger skin window that helps cover more area in less time.
In addition, the device offers in excess of a half a million flashes, or over 20 years of use. The device also has a range of other functions including 8 levels of light intensity, offering treatments to sensitive areas, and option of an automatic mode, which helps in optimum utilization of light intensity and energy density.
The device is FDA-approved and conforms to the highest standards of safety, and has passed through multiple safety/tolerability clinical trial studies, before launch. (13)
- EvenSkyn updated product manual pdf