Guide To Laser and IPL Hair Removal Over the past few weeks we have written a series of articles looking at methods of hair removal and associated pros and cons for each method investigated. This week we are looking at laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal. Laser and IPL (Intense Pulse Light) hair removal Laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal techniques are both based on the same principle, however IPL is increasingly more popular due to it’s reputation as being faster and less expensive than laser methods. Some say that IPL is less painful and damaging to the skin though this is debated by manufacturers and practitioners. IPL techniques can also be used to treat thread veins, acne and certain types of sun damage and birth marks. The science bit Both laser and IPL hair removal work by using light to damage the hair follicle. Melanin (dark pigment) is targeted and broken down and the result is that the hair will eventually fall out. Several sessions are required to achieve permanent hair removal. Pros IPL and laser hair removal is very affective for those with dark hair and fair skin. This is because it is easier for the device to target the dark pigment in the hair. An average of 6-8 sessions (spaced 8-12 weeks apart) will achieve 70-80 percent reduction in hair growth. You do not need to grow hair (as with electrolysis) in order for this method to be effective, in most cases you will be asked to shave prior to treatment. If you have the money and patience for this technique and the right combination of skin and hair colour you could enjoy permanent hairlessness in the area treated! Cons If you have red, white or grey hair laser and IPL won’t work for you as there is no dark pigment to target. Blondes may also find it far less affective than brunettes. Some lasers damage dark skin due to the dark pigment, which attracts the light – IPL is less likely to cause damage than laser but will take far longer to give good results on darker skin – the darker the skin is the less effective the treatment. Some patients can suffer an allergic reaction to hair removal gel or numbing cream. Reports of pain experienced during this treatment range from that of an elastic band being flicked against the skin to a moderate burn. You must see a reputable professional for this treatment and therefore it is more expensive than methods such as shaving. Results are not guaranteed. The best way to reassure yourself about side effects is to have a small patch test done prior to treatment and reputable practitioners should always carry out this type of test. Always consult a professional when considering any treatment of this kind.