IPL stands for intense pulsed light, and it is a form of e-light therapy, used for various dermatological procedures including hair removal.

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How IPL Hair Removal Works?

IPL uses a source of broad-spectrum, visible light. This light is specially controlled to remove shorter wavelengths and devised to target specific structures. In hair removal, it is designed to target the melanin pigment in the hairs, while in other uses such as the treatment of spider vein it targets the hemoglobin in the blood. The light energy is absorbed, transferring as heat energy which warms the hair, causing damage to the follicle.

IPL Vs Laser Hair Removal, What Is The Difference?

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IPL and laser hair removal are both long-term procedures for reducing hair growth. They work in similar ways, and can both be very effective. In addition to preventing hairs from re-growing, both treatment methods can significantly reduce the growth speed of remaining hairs, as well as hair thickness.

Laser and IPL hair removal both work on the same principle. That is that light energy is absorbed by areas of high pigment such as hairs, which are therefore heated up. The heat damages the follicle, slowing hair growth and even preventing it completely. The main difference between IPL and laser hair removal devices is the light source used. IPL uses broad-spectrum visible light whereas laser hair removal utilizes the properties of a laser.

It is important to understand however how areas of skin which have higher pigment, such as freckles and moles, as well as darker skin generally, will also absorb more light energy and heat as a result. This may affect which hair removal method is best for you.

Skin Tone

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Doctors use something called the Fitzpatrick Scale when evaluating skin tone. It is a scale that takes into consideration your genetic disposition and how your skin reacts to sunlight exposure. The scale ranges from Type I to Type IV. Type I skin contains very little melanin and is therefore very fair and burns easily, while Type IV skin contains much more melanin and is therefore much darker in color and does not burn.

Practitioners use the Fitzpatrick Scale to determine not only whether laser and IPL hair removal is right for you but also how effective it is likely to be and the settings to use.

Skin that has a lower score on the Fitzpatrick scale which has dark hairs will be most responsive to laser and IPL hair removal. Type V skin will have far less noticeable results as the skin will absorb more of the light energy. Type IV skin is not suited to laser or IPL hair therapy as it could result in burns from absorbing so much of the light.