Intense pulsed light (IPL) technology is widely used these days by cosmetic and medical practitioners to perform various skin treatments for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes, including hair removal, photorejuvenation as well as to alleviate dermatologic diseases such as acne, and to treat wrinkles and spots. (1,2) Multiple studies have established the effectiveness of IPL technology in unwanted hair removal treatments. A study by Michael H. Gold et al, conducted in 2015 recruited 17 patients and administered six biweekly novel home-pulsed light device based treatments for removal of unwanted facial hair in patients. The results of the study were quite encouraging and showed 83.3 % hair reduction at one-month and 78.1 % hair reduction at 3 months post IPL treatment (3).
The high success rates and low occurrences of adverse effects have led to the widespread and increased use of IPL technology in the Hair removal treatments.
When to consider IPL Treatment
There are multiple Hair removal treatment options available in the market including Laser hair removal, IPL devices and other surgical procedures. However, IPL technology based treatments are more efficient in the following scenarios:
- If you are looking to improve the look of the skin without undergoing a complete surgical procedure.
- If you are looking for a quicker, efficient and cheaper treatment option
- If you are looking for a treatment option, which you can use at home without visiting a clinic or a practitioner
- If you are looking for other procedures, apart from hair removal, including removal of spots, wrinkles, improvement in skin textures, and treating other disorders including Rosacea, hyperpigmentation, melasma etc. (4, 5)
How to prepare for the IPL treatment
You would need to follow certain instructions, and take certain precautions, before undergoing the IPL treatment. Some of Do’s and Don’ts, which you should follow before undergoing IPL procedure include:
- You should moisturize your skin frequently before the procedure as this helps in keeping the skin dry and making it soft. (8)
- Do a pre-treatment of your skin, before the procedure, by removing the hair on the skin surface, either through a razor, or through trimmer. This would ensure effective treatment as the light would be better absorbed by the skin surface (11)
- Take a shower before the treatment, to clean any residual wax or any other waste material from the skin (11)
- Clean dry your skin to remove any moisture or oil from the skin (11)
- Perform a skin test and hair test to see if your skin is apt for the IPL treatment. Refer to the product manual to see the appropriate skin and hair colours, on which the IPL device can be used (11)
- During the treatment, select the right light intensity and follow the prescribed treatment schedule for maximum efficacy and safety (11)
- You should avoid sun exposure for at least 4-6 weeks before the treatment, at the areas where the procedure is to be conducted. (6)
- Do not use any skin irritants for at least 2 weeks, before the procedure, including products containing hydroquinone, retinol (tretinoin), bleaching creams, benzoyl peroxide, Accutane, astringents, or chemical peels. (7)
- Avoid IPL treatment, if you have taken any medication containing anticoagulants, AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), BHA (Beta Hydroxy acids), topical isotretinoin, or azelaic acid in past couple of weeks (11)
- People with a history of fever blisters or hyperpigmentation due to some laser treatments or any other skin treatments should inform the specialist, or use a lightening agent before the procedure (6,7)
- You should avoid a bleach or use of any make up before the IPL treatment, as this can lead to skin inflammation or skin irritation (7)
- You should avoid waxing hair, at least 1 month before the IPL treatment, as this can interfere with the IPL treatment. (7)
Post care treatment instructions/Aftercare & Recovery
After the treatment, you should keep the following pointers in mind, for an effective recovery and prevention of any side effects:
- You may experience some redness and burning sensation at the treatment site, which would go off in some time. In case the sensation continues for a long time, cool off the area using cold compress, soothing gels, cold water, aloe vera etc. (6,7)
- You may avoid direct sun exposure for few days after the procedure to avoid skin spots. You may also avoid hot water baths and strong deodorants, 12 – 24 hours after the procedure, to avoid skin irritation. (6,7)
- You may experience some rare side effects including extended redness on the skin, skin discoloration or epidermal heating. In such case, refer to a dermatologist for treatment (11)
The prevalence of side effects though is widely reduced, if you use a well-recognized FDA approved IPL device. A good example is EVENSKYN PULSAR IPL device, which is one of the newest device to gain FDA approval. The device because of its advanced design and durable quartz tube composition offers a long-term pain free treatment option with minimal side effects.
IPL is an effective and efficient treatment option for hair removal considering its ease of use, clinically established efficacy and tolerability while usage, simplicity of operations, rapid treatment effect at much lower cost. (9,10) Though the treatment is generally safe, there are certain precautions which need to be followed before undergoing an IPL treatment for Hair removal. Following such instructions ensure that there are no side effects observed. Also, following certain usage instructions, before the treatment, ensure that the treatment is highly effective and has long lasting treatment effects on the people.
- EvenSkyn Product Manual