If you’ve grown bored of the on-going maintenance of keeping fuzz-free, then you may want to step off the treadmill with permanent hair reduction like laser or IPL. But identifying fact from fiction can feel like an impossibility, so without further ado, here’s our no-nonsense guide to IPL and laser hair removal and what you need to know before you take the permanent plunge!
HOW IT WORKS
IPL and laser actually work in a pretty similar way – a beam of light heats up your hair’s melanin (pigment), just enough to damage the hair bulb without burning the skin, causing permanent hair reduction. As our hair grows in a cycle, this reduction is only possible during the hair’s active growth phase, meaning that regardless of method, you’ll need repeat treatments to achieve permanent results.
Just as some people tan in the sun while others burn, so your individual skin and hair type influences your hair removal results.
Understanding the effects on different skin and hair types may seem complex, but if you think about how a black shirt absorbs sunlight on a summer’s day, heating you up, while a white shirt reflects light, keeping you cool, this can help you to understand how laser and IPL work. Simply put, darker skin and hair tones contain more melanin than fair, so they tend to be most receptive to light-based hair removal. By contrast, white hair contains no melanin at all, making light-based removal impossible. Many of us lie somewhere between the two extremes, meaning that combined treatments can also be an option.
IPL OR LASER?
The main difference between the two treatments is the frequency of light produced. Laser is a constant single beam that delivers more power per burst. This is great for nixing stubborn or lighter-coloured hair, but may be more painful during treatment.
On the other hand, IPL (intense pulse light) produces lower power per burst, working over a longer period of time to gradually heat the hair. This should result in less pain; in fact, new generation IPL machines are virtually painless, without the trademark “snapping” sensation of days gone by. IPL may also improve skin tone, so this is something that you may also want to factor in before you begin.
Your therapist’s technique, the machine’s settings and the time left between treatments will all have an effect on how your hair-busting pans out, so good communication and a thorough consultation, including a patch test is an absolute must. Our friendly, professional and knowledgeable therapists at Strip will help you to identify the most appropriate method for you – we’re always happy to answer your questions, so for a no-obligation chat, pop in to see us!