What's wrong with IPL 2019

IPL hair removal: this is how the light method works

Get rid of annoying hair permanently: This is what the IPL hair removal method promises. We explain how IPL works, what it costs and what the risks are.

The IPL method is light-based hair removal, IPL stands for "Intense Pulsed Light" - that is, intense, pulsating light. Similar to laser hair removal, one directs short, strong flashes of light via the color pigments in the hair into the root. There they are converted into heat. A kind of pistol is used for this, which ensures that no more hairs grow in the desired areas. The concentrated heat energy desolates the roots.

This is how IPL hair removal works

  • Before use, the desired areas are shaved so that the hairs do not burn or char from the heat that is generated.
  • Bit by bit, the flash lamp is moved across the skin.
  • The energy of the light is transmitted through the hair to the roots, where it becomes warmth. As a result, the root is deserted and is no longer able to form a new hair.
  • The first results are available after a few days.

However, it takes a few sessions until all unwanted hairs are finally removed. Successes show up after about four applications. In particularly stubborn cases, up to eight sessions can be required. A break of four to eight weeks between the individual treatments ensures that all hair is actually removed.

The advantages of the method

It is almost painless

Scared rabbits can breathe a sigh of relief: unlike waxing or epilation, this type of skin smoothening hardly any pain. You may feel a slight tingling, tingling or burning sensation when the light pulses hit the skin.

It is suitable for all parts of the body

Legs, armpits, arms: Basically, with hair removal using IPL technology, you can get smooth skin on all hairy areas of the body. A special attachment is only required for the treatment of the face. In the sensitive bikini area, you should adjust the light intensity, otherwise the area of ​​the skin may be irritated.

It ensures almost permanent hair removal

Since the roots of the hair are destroyed by the technology, new hairs can no longer form - or at least they no longer grow back over a long period of time.

In the case of weaker devices, especially those for domestic use, the energy is often insufficient to bury the roots forever. A new treatment may be necessary after a few years.

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Disadvantages of the method

It is not suitable for all hair types

If the hairs do not stand out sufficiently from the skin in color, hair removal has hardly any effect. In the worst case, it can even damage the skin, as the light energy is not concentrated on the pigments in the hair, but also spreads to the similarly tinted skin surface.

The greater the contrast between skin and hair color, the better the light energy is implemented. The best results are seen with light skin and dark hair. It is not as effective in people with very light, red, or gray hair and in people with dark skin. So first check which skin type you are and which category your hair belongs to before you decide on the treatment.

It should not be used on tattooed skin

Extreme caution is required with tattooed areas of skin: IPL hair removal should not be used here! As with very heavily pigmented skin, the color absorbs the light from the IPL devices so strongly that severe burns can occur. In addition, the tattoo would be destroyed.

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The cost is high

IPL treatment is not cheap. The price for depilation depends on the size of the desired part of the body. The removal of a mustache on the upper lip is accordingly cheaper than treating the entire legs. The costs vary between 50 and 300 euros per session.

Successes are only visible after weeks

The roots can only be destroyed during the growth phase of the hairs. Since not all hair is in this phase at the same time, not all hair roots can be destroyed at once per session.
Although the body hairs decrease after each session, it takes a few months before it is completely removed. If you want to be prepared for the next summer, it is best to start IPL hair removal in autumn.

Laser treatment is an alternative to IPL. (c) Colourbox

IPL or laser?

Almost permanent hair removal is possible in the long term with both laser and IPL. With the laser method, however, the work is even more targeted: The devices can be adjusted exactly to the skin and hair condition of the patient. Thus, they are more effective than IPL, but may only be used by specially trained doctors.

IPL devices, on the other hand, have no usage restrictions and can be operated by anyone. There are even devices on the market for home use. Since the settings are not as precise as with the laser, the success of the treatment can suffer. In addition, improper home use increases the risk of damage to the skin.

A big plus point of IPL, however, is that the devices and the treatment are cheaper: Since larger areas of skin are exposed at the same time than with the laser, a session is much shorter and therefore relatively cheaper.

IPL devices for the home

There are quite a few IPL devices available for home use. However, they are much weaker than the devices that dermatologists and cosmetologists use. The simple reason for this is that the lower light output is intended to prevent burns. However, that's why they are not that effective. The hair grows back after a while. Regular meetings are necessary to achieve the desired success. In addition, they are not a bargain, the prices range from 400 to 1,000 euros.

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IPL hair removal is best done by a specialist

If you want to be on the safe side, let the specialist do it. At the dermatologist you will receive detailed advice as to whether your skin is suitable for the method. If there are unexpected side effects after the treatment, you have a direct point of contact. The German Dermatological Society advises IPL hair removal to be carried out only by dermatologically trained doctors.

If you still choose a cosmetic studio, find out about its IPL qualification in advance. Since in principle anyone can buy the devices and offer IPL hair removal, there are also a number of black sheep who do not deserve your trust.

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What else should you watch out for?

Generally, the IPL hair removal quite well tolerated and does not require any major follow-up treatment. Small reddening of the skin or crusts will disappear on their own after a short time. If you opt for smooth legs in the summer months, you should do not lie in the sun for too long - certainly not without adequate sun protection. Because UV rays could additionally damage the skin regions, which are already stressed by the treatment.

In addition, there is a risk that already damaged or diseased areas of the skin can be affected during treatment with IPL. A Skin cancer development could be favored, as the rays additionally activate malignant cells. In order to rule out a health risk, you should ask a dermatologist for advice in advance.

In the event of improper use burns may result, for example if the dose of radiation was set too high. Pigment shifts also occur occasionally. Most of the time, this discoloration of the skin disappears on its own, but in rare cases it remains permanent.