Tired of having to pick up a razor every day just to feel good about yourself in public? Do you ever wish you could kick shaving to the curb for good? Well, with today’s advances in medical technology, you can!
At least mostly.
In today’s article, we’re going to be talking about Laser Hair Removal’s sister known as Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL hair removal. We’ll look at both clinical and at-home systems. We’ll be looking at the effectiveness of IPL hair removal, and specifically examining How Long Does IPL Hair Removal Last?
First we’ll give a quick breakdown of what IPL is to get oriented. Let’s dive in!
What Is IPL Hair Removal?
Before we go any further, lets break down IPL hair removal so you have a better appreciation for how this innovative technology works and what it can do for your daily skincare and shaving routine.
First things first- let’s define anagram.
IPL stands for intense pulse light. The process involves using a device held close to your hair follicles. The IPL device emits a super-bright pulse of light that looks like a bright white flash. This light contains multiple high-frequency wavelengths and is incredibly bright.
Whether you’re doing a clinical IPL treatment or an at-home IPL device, you’ll be required to wear a pair of dark sunglasses in order to protect your eyes. Looking directly at the light emitted can have the same effect as staring directly at the sun (not exactly a good idea).
The main difference between IPL hair removal and laser hair removal is the type of light that’s being used. Laser hair removal uses a single wavelength laser light, whereas IPL uses a powerful flash that contains multiple wavelengths.
The end result is the same, though- the hair follicles are damaged or destroyed.
Here’s what happens:
- As the intense light waves flash across the surface of the skin, they are absorbed directly into the hair follicles.
- Once the light rays pass into the follicle, they are absorbed by the melanin- your protective layer that prevents radiation damage.
- As the melanin absorbs the light, it heats up in order to disperse the light’s powerful energy.
- The spike in temperature effectively damages or kills the hair follicle and prevents it from producing hair until your body is able to repair or replace the follicle.
IPL Hair Removal vs. Laser Hair Removal
The biggest difference between IPL Hair Removal and Laser Hair Removal is that LHM is usually done in a clinic, while IPL hair removal is usually done at home.
Of course, there are exceptions to everything. For example, Tria Beauty has an at-home laser hair removal device that is quite powerful and uses traditional LHM technology. And conversely, many salons that do Laser Hair Removal also do IPL hair removal.
While both LHM and IPL are effective means of hair removal, IPL has become more popular since it’s less painful. Laser beams are hotter and can sometimes cause topical irritation that can last for a few days after treatment.
This is usually compared to getting a sunburn after a day at the beach. Of course, it heals in a few days, but you’ll have to be delicate with your skin while you’re healing.
Intense Pulse Light hair removal requires more treatment sessions than laser hair removal, but it’s a lot less painful and won’t leave your skin red and blistered the next day.
How Long Does IPL Hair Removal Last?
The amount of time that IPL Hair Removal Lasts is dependent at least somewhat on whether the removal was done with a home device or by a clinician. The two paths are somewhat distinct, though the end results are similar.
At its core, the technology is the same, but each offers its own perspective pros, and cons. In this section, we’re going to examine some of the key differences, benefits, and drawbacks of both clinical and at-home IPL hair removal.
Clinical IPL Treatment
IPL hair removal was first tested in the mid-1990s. After a few successful trial runs, the FDA approved the use of IPL for hair removal in 1997. However, since the devices were new and had the potential to harm people if misused, IPL could only be used under strict doctor supervision.
At first, IPL was expensive. Only those who could afford a plastic surgeon could afford IPL. It was mostly upscale Beveryly Hills residents, actors, musicians, and other affluent clients. For this reason, IPL never became quite as well known as laser hair removal- the method that dominated most of the 90s and early-2000.
That being said, clinical IPL is just as effective, if not moreso, than laser hair removal.
Clinical IPL machines are significantly more powerful than at-home IPL machines, meaning that they can do more in less time. For example, if you want to treat your entire body, clinical IPL might be a little bit more effective as it won’t be quite as time-consuming.
Once you sign up for hair removal, you’ll typically be scheduled for once-monthly treatment sessions. Depending on how much hair you have and your individual growth cycles, most women will need to schedule around five or six visits. This means that your total treatment time should be around six months, give or take.
Each visit will be around 30 minutes, but if you’re treating multiple body parts, it could take up to an hour. In general, clinical IPL is a bit faster than at-home IPL since the doctors are able to use higher-powered devices.
How Long Does Clinical IPL Hair Removal Last?
After six months of regular treatment, you should see an 80% to 90% reduction in total body hair. These are the hair follicles that have been permanently destroyed and will not produce hair again.
However, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, it’s impossible to treat all 5 million of your hair follicles. There are bound to be some follicles that never got targeted because they had not yet produced any hair.
For the most part, clinical IPL hair removal is a permanent solution. All of the follicles that were targeted shouldn’t produce hair ever again after they fall out. However, around 10% to 20% of your follicles will still continue to produce hair. The hair won’t grow fast, and it will likely be very thin and light.
The best way to get rid of any hair that pop up over time is to just shave them, pluck them, or epilate occasionally.
You could also use an at-home IPL device to remove them so you don’t have to schedule another round of expensive treatment at the clinic.
At-Home IPL Hair Removal
Now that you know the process for clinical IPL, let’s take take a quick look at how the trendy new at-home IPL devices stand up to professional treatment.
The biggest difference between clinical and at-home devices is how powerful the light pulses are. Since clinical IPL is used under doctor supervision, they’re allowed to use devices that are significantly more powerful. This, in turn, means that clinical sessions will go more quickly than home sessions.
But do you really care that much about the session time?
Since the pulses generated by at-home devices aren’t as powerful and the light window isn’t as large. Consequently, you’ll need to spend a bit more time using the device. Most at-home devices have a window that’s about 2-inches wide by .5-inches high.
You’ll need to perform a pass across every square inch of your body where you want hair removed.
However, although at-home devices may take a bit more time, they are equally as effective.
How Long Does At-Home IPL Hair Removal Last?
As long as you stick with your weekly sessions and do them consistently for around six months, your results should be just as effective as clinical IPL treatment. Around 90% of your hair follicles will be permanently destroyed, meaning that they shouldn’t produce hair again.
The advantage of an at-home IPL device is that you’ll still be able to target that pesky remaining 10%! If you were relying on clinical IPL, it wouldn’t make sense to spend thousands of extra dollars just to take care of a few stragglers.
However, since you own your at-home device, you can use it as often as you like without the guilt of having to pay for more treatments.
So, in this way, many consumers claim that at-home IPL hair removal is more effective for long-term results than clinical IPL.
When using an at-home IPL device, it’s crucial that you create a solid, reliable schedule that you can stay on track with. One of the biggest reasons why at-home IPLs aren’t as effective is because people buy them, do a couple of treatments and then forget about it, backtracking all of their progress.
Since at-home IPL isn’t as powerful as clinical IPL you’ll need to perform sessions more frequently. Like we mentioned above, if you’re getting IPL hair removal done in a professional clinic, you’ll need to schedule an appointment once a month. With at-home devices, though, you’ll need to do IPL once a week.
The Benefits of Using an At-Home IPL Device
As you can see, both clinical and at-home IPL devices are effective methods of removing hair and keeping your body smooth and youthful. We tend to recommend at-home IPL over clinical IPL because it’s cheaper, just as effective, and let’s you go at your own pace.
Still not convinced?
Here’s a full list of the benefits of using an at-home IPL hair removal device!
Convenient Home Treatments
One of the biggest reasons why at-home IPL device sales have soared is because of Covid-related lockdowns and closures. Home treatments don’t rely on anyone being open and available, you can just do it yourself.
Due to these life changes, at-home devices have become incredibly popular! Once people saw for themselves that at-home IPL is just as effective as clinical IPL, they pretty much forgot about their expensive clinical treatments.
It’s More Affordable
Which brings us to our next point- at-home IPL is a lot cheaper than clinical IPL.
Depending on how much hair you have, what city you live in, and how prestigious the clinic you’re attending is, you’ll pay anywhere from $100 to $200 for every session you go to. With a minimum of five or six treatments necessary for permanent results, this means you would have to pay $600 to $1,000 or more just to see results!
Most at-home IPL devices are under $200. This means that for the price of one clinical treatment, you can buy your own device for home use and save hundreds of dollars. Just think about what you could do with all that extra cash.
Make Your Own Schedule
Another great reason to choose at-home IPL is that it allows you to create your own schedule.
As we mentioned, in order for IPL hair removal to be successful, you have to stay on top of your game when it comes to scheduling. Unfortunately, if you have to cancel or reschedule a professional appointment, not only will it cost you extra money, but you may not be able to reschedule for weeks, which could completely derail your progress.
With at-home IPL, though, you’ll be able to perform sessions on your one time, whenever it’s convenient for you. This makes them the perfect hair removal solution for people with a busy life, moms, and those who have professional careers.
You work tirelessly to chase you goals, so shouldn’t you be able to make your own schedule when it comes to your beauty routine?
It’s Just As Effective Long-Term
Although at-home IPL devices do require more sessions (weekly as opposed to monthly with clinical treatment), the long-term results are just effective. After six months of consistent treatment, you’ll be up to 90% hair-free where it matters most. In addition to this, you can treat any residual hairs over time as they appear without having to purchase another expensive round of clinical treatment.
Some women are more confident and have no problem baring it all, but a lot more women tend to be self-conscious and reserved when it comes to hair removal on their privates (even if it is in a professional, medical setting). Home treatments avoid that whole awkward situation!
IPL Hair Removal will permanently remove 80-90% of hair, whether you get treatments at a clinic or at home. You’ll still have some stragglers, but an 80-90% reduction is huge.
The main difference between clinical treatments and home treatments is the length of treatment time, not the length of effectivness.
Home IPL treatments take longer to do, but last just as long as professional treatments.