We all know that hair removal can be a chore. Luckily there is a solution with IPL hair removal and it can even be done at home. Our Ottawa cosmetic specialists share some useful information about at-home IPL hair removal and how often you should be using it.
What is IPL Treatment?
One of the most common cosmetic treatments in North America is Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatment for hair removal. These treatments help to remove unwanted hair on your body allowing you to skip conventional hair removal methods and have silky smooth skin all the time.
At Pure Medical Cosmetics in Ottawa, we use IPL treatments to safely and effectively remove unwanted hair. Our cosmetic specialists will perform a full evaluation during your consultation and provide you with a full treatment plan and timeline to help you achieve your hair removal goals.
We also know that this option doesn't work for everyone. Our cosmetic specialists are here to offer some information about IPL treatments, what you should know about doing IPL treatments at home and how often we recommend doing this method of hair removal.
Using IPL at Home
You may find it convenient to perform IPL treatments in the comfort of your own home, not to mention it can be a huge relief to not have to leave the house if you're planning a quiet night in. But if you are going to do at-home IPL treatments, we recommend trying a test patch first to ensure that you don't have a reaction to the device. You will also need to shave before performing the treatment to help the light focus on the follicle and affect the hair root as it is meant to. Here are the steps to take prior to beginning IPL treatment:
Step 1: Exfoliate to reduce the risk of irritation from shaving.
Step 2: Shave the area that is to be treated. As mentioned above, this will help the IPL device affect the target area properly.
Step 3: Cleanse your skin and pat it dry. If there are any lotions or substances on your skin it could affect your results.
Once the area is clean and has been shaved you can continue with the instructions that were included with your device, typically performing 3 passes on each area.
How Often Can You Use IPL at Home?
You may be wondering how often you should be using at-home IPL devices. This ultimately depends on how your body responds to the laser.
Most commonly at-home IPL devices are used once a week. You will be able to monitor your results and decide over time if you should alter the frequency of treatments.
How Long Does It Take To See The Results of IPL?
IPL treatment for hair removal varies due to the hair growth cycle of an individual. This means that full treatment could take anywhere from 18 - 24 months to see the end result. This cycle is taken into consideration due to the hair only being affected by light during the growth stage of the cycle.
Our cosmetic professionals at Pure Medical Cosmetics recommend a total of 6 to 8 professional IPL treatments to experience the desired result with 4 to 6 weeks between each visit to allow your hair to complete a full growth cycle.
Because the treatment targets the root of the hair, we recommend avoiding any other form of hair removal in between IPL treatments. This will ensure that your treatments are as effective as possible.
Are You Using Your IPL Device Too Often?
It can be difficult to convince yourself to slow down when you first begin hair removal treatments. However, it is ideal if you take your time and only do treatments as often as you actually need based on your hair growth cycle.
If you attempt to use the hair removal device too often you may not get the desired results as a full hair cycle should pass before each treatment.
What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages of At-Home IPL Treatments?
As with any cosmetic treatments and services, there will be pros and cons when it comes to IPL hair removal devices. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of at-home IPL treatment.
Advantages of At-Home IPL Hair Removal:
Portable and Great for Touch-ups
If you have an event sprung on you then you may not have time to schedule a professional hair removal appointment which makes the portability of at-home IPL devices a huge plus! These devices offer quick, on-the-go treatments and in a small size that makes them easy to pack with you for out-of-town trips or vacations.
One of the main advantages of at-home IPL hair removal devices is that they can offer the smooth skin that you desire but at a fraction of the cost of professional treatments.
Disadvantages of At-Home IPL Hair Removal:
Lower Intensity Laser
Home IPL hair removal devices have lasers that function at a lower intensity compared to professional-grade systems. So while professional laser hair removal might be more expensive it may also be more effective. The cost of professional laser hair removal also typically includes your consultation with a cosmetic specialist, your evaluation, as well as the treatment and aftercare advice, giving you peace of mind.
Increased Risk of Injury
Hair removal depends on the frequency of the laser to be effective and attempting this at home may cause some people to use incorrect settings resulting in burns or injuries. This can have adverse effects that may need expensive treatment down the road.
IPL hair removal devices should also never be used on tattoos, near the eyes, on pigmented areas, on moles, or inside the genital region. If you begin to feel burning while performing laser hair removal you should stop immediately and consult a doctor.
Not Suited For Everyone
IPL hair removal is not effective on every hair color and skin type, but not everyone knows this which means that some people may not see the desired effect even with full treatment. Because of this, those people may end up seeking treatment from a cosmetic specialist in a professional setting.
The Benefits of Having Professional IPL Treatments
By having your IPL treatments for hair removal done professionally you can relax knowing that you are being taken care of by someone with professional training with the device. They will safely remove your unwanted hair while providing you with the knowledge you need to care for your skin.
Professional IPL treatments make it easier for you since they will be able to easily reach all areas of your body and provide the right amount of treatment to each area.
While at-home IPL treatments may be convenient they may actually be less effective due to the small device and lower intensity. Professional laser hair removal may be more efficient due to the professional-grade laser and the ability to provide the intensity needed for complete hair removal.
Caring For Your Skin After IPL Treatment
Now that your treatment is complete and you are well on your way to silky smooth skin, it's time to think about how to care for your skin while it recovers. Here are some of the ways you can help care for your skin post-treatment to help prevent any extra irritation from occurring:
- Avoid harsh soaps for 24 hours after treatment and do not exfoliate for at least a week.
- Hot water can increase the discomfort, try to use lukewarm or cold water to shower.
- Applying a moisturizer can help to soothe your skin after treatment.
- Do not use any other methods of hair removal for at least 72 hours.
- Avoid direct sunlight exposure for at least 48 hours.
- Always use SPF 30+ sunscreen when going outside, especially after IPL treatment.
- Drink plenty of water and take an essential fatty acid supplement to help with skin health.
- Avoid any strenuous activity or exercise that may cause sweating for at least 24 hours.
These tips will help you avoid unnecessary discomfort and irritation while your skin recovers. Our cosmetic specialists at Pure Medical Cosmetics will provide you with full instructions for care after having professional IPL treatments for hair removal. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your practitioner during your visit.