What is an IPL device?
IPL is a broad-spectrum light that’s scattered across the skin to help with permanent hair reduction. It directs light at the melanin (the pigment that gives the skin/hair its colour) in the hair follicle, damaging the root and helping to break the cycle of regrowth. Don’t expect instant results, but with regular use, it can help prevent unwanted hair from reaching the skin surface. Energy, frequency, skin and hair colour are all determining factors in the efficacy of the treatment.
Most of the best IPL hair removal devices are suitable for the body and face. They work by gliding or stamping the device over skin, emitting light as they go. Gliding is convenient for larger surface areas of the body (such as your legs). Stamping (pressing onto the area) is better for smaller areas where you need to be more precise.
IPL devices can be costly, often setting you back at least £200 and sometimes as much as £500, but if you're always making trips to the salon and are after a more permanent solution, then IPL might be a more cost-effective method.
Does IPL hair removal hurt?
The level of discomfort varies from person to person, however, the sensation can feel quite tingly and hot (it’s sometimes likened to being flicked with a hot elastic band). The process is quite quick, though, so the pain doesn’t last long. Most devices have a range of heat settings to make it more comfortable, especially in areas that are more sensitive. It's important to remember that a lower intensity is also less effective, so keeping it at this setting would require you to use IPL hair removal for longer.
Who can use an IPL hair removal device?
IPL devices aren’t suitable for everyone, as they’re only able to identify and target hair pigment that is a contrasting shade to the skin.
Naturally, light blonde, red, white and grey hairs contain little pigment, so IPL typically isn’t effective on people with these hair shades, whatever their skin colour. They also don’t work on dark skin tones. Typically, those with pale to medium skin and dark hair are the best candidates for IPL.
IPL devices typically aren’t suitable for pregnant women, those with certain skin/hair conditions and those undergoing particular treatments. They also don’t work on tattoos or permanent make-up – check the fine print before you buy.
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