What is IPL Treatment? How Does it Differ from Laser Hair Removal?

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IPL or Intense Pulsed Light Treatment is a cosmetic procedure that uses light therapy to reduce and remove unwanted hair. It also reduces wrinkles and skin blemishes from sun damage, broken blood vessels, birthmarks, age spots, varicose veins and rosacea from your face, neck, legs, underarms, back and bikini line. Sounds like Laser Treatment? Yes, they work on the same principle but there are a few differences. 

Difference Between IPL and Laser Hair Removal

Quite like laser treatment, IPL uses short pulses of laser light targeted on the desired areas to do the job. The pigment cells absorb the light converting it into heat that destroys the hair follicle. As a result, hair growth and blemishes are reduced considerably. The main difference between the two is the light source used. 

Intense Pulsed Light: IPL uses scattered broad-spectrum visible light that has several wavelengths, quite like a photo flash. It penetrates right down to the dermis, the second layer of your skin without affecting the top layer. IPL can be used on several areas of your body but not on uneven areas so it doesn’t work well on thick, uneven keloid scars. It also works better on darker skin tones as darker skin absorbs light energy and heat better.

Laser Treatment: Laser hair removal treatment uses specific properties of the laser light to blast the pigments in a more controlled way. A single colour of concentrated light is focused on a small area without spreading out. The laser penetrates deeper into the pores to effectively target specific areas at a time. The treatment was earlier more effective on lighter skin tone with darker hair but advanced treatments are suitable for most skin tones.

How to Choose Between IPL and Laser

Choosing between the two really depends on your preference and your skin tone and hair colour. The costs for both differ as well. 

IPL is quicker and cheaper but more sessions are usually required to give similar results. The broader light spectrum allows IPL to effectively treat a wider variety of skin and hair types simply by modifying the settings of the light pulses because different skin tones need different intensities of light. For instance, bikini hair removal has a different laser light requirement than finner arm hair. But both work well on the face. 

Avoid using near the eyes, on eyebrows or the scalp. They are safe to use on the upper lip, chin and jawline. Never look at the light source. It can damage your eyes. Check with your aesthetician to see if you qualify for the treatment before you proceed.

Preparation for the IPL Procedure

The area will be first cleaned. A cool gel will be applied followed by the IPL light pulses from a device. Your eyes will be covered by dark glasses for protection. You may feel a slight sting or pinch depending on your sensitivity and area of your body treated. Each session usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes. 

About three to six treatments are required, spaced out over a month to let your skin heal. Any redness, mild bruising, blistering or change in skin colour fades in a couple of days. Avoid using hot water until your skin heals completely. However, as the top layer of the skin is unaffected, side effects are fewer and recovery is quick. IPL works best on dark hair and dark skin. Results are not the same for light skin and light hair. Check with your specialist to see which treatment works best for you. 

Enriched Med Spa

We customize your treatments based on your aesthetic needs and beauty goals. Our professionals use it to treat a variety of skin types and conditions. In just one session you can see a big difference. Call us for consultation on your IPL treatment.

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