Intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser hair removal is a dermatological technique that can be used to remove hair from any area of the body, including the face, with minimal risk of side effects such as blistering and scarring.
IPL treatment is available at our Harley Street clinic in London to treat the removal of unwanted hair. The treatments we use for hair removal are very effective and results can be seen immediately.
How does intense pulsed light hair removal work?
Intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser hair removal works by destroying the hair follicles using heat. Light energy is applied to the skin and absorbed by the hair pigment melanin. This causes the pigment to heat up, which kills both the hair shaft and the follicle from which new hair would grow to replace it.
What kind of hair can be removed?
It is possible to remove any type of pigmented hair using IPL or laser but the darker the hair, the more of the target pigment melanin is present, so dark hair responds far better than lighter hair.
Grey or white hair has no pigment and so cannot be removed using IPL or laser
Preparing for IPL or laser treatment
To increase the effectiveness of the laser treatments, you should shave or trim the hair on the day of each session. However, you should not pluck, wax or bleach the hair, as this will not leave enough pigmented hair for the IPL or laser to work on.
You are advised not to have treatment if your skin is tanned, or if you have used ‘fake tan’ within six weeks prior to your treatment.
The IPL / laser process
Before your treatment starts, a thin layer of gel may be applied to the skin to aid the transmission of the light pulses. This also soothes and cools the skin. A cooling machine may also be used during the treatment to reduce any discomfort.
Laser hair removal does not hurt, but you may feel a moderate level of discomfort or stinging as the hair follicles are heated and destroyed.
How long does treatment take?
The laser hair removal sessions will vary in length depending on the size and location of the area that is being treated. You may not see the effects immediately, and your hair may appear to be regrowing after the treatment as the epidermis is gradually replaced over one to three weeks pushing the dead hairs out. However, these hairs will usually be loose and can be plucked out easily if required.
Since treatment only effects hair in the growth phase and only 10-70% of hair is in this phase at any one time, several sessions will be needed to complete your treatment. Treatments are recommended every four to six weeks, with a course of at least eight to ten sessions usually required.. Nonetheless, you may see significant results from the very first session.
Are there any side effects with IPL/laser?
Side effects to laser hair removal are rare. Your skin may initially redden and you may feel a slight burning sensation, but this will pass quickly within a few hours or a day or two at most.
In very rare cases, the treated skin may appear darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation), or you may get mild blistering, however the risk of scarring is low.