Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is a popular cosmetic procedure for getting rid of unwanted hair on the body. It uses a broad spectrum of visible light wavelengths to target specific structures.

When used in hair removal, this light targets the melanin pigment. The hair's melanin absorbs this light energy causing thermal injury to the growing hair follicles. This would then make the hair in that region to fall off.

Even though IPL uses light energy, it shouldn't be confused with laser hair removal. This SuperSmooth guide covers in detail the IPL vs. Laser hair removal differences you might want to check.

Is IPL Hair Removal Safe?
IPL is generally considered safe, but then it has a fair share of side effects, meaning that there are a couple of precautions you'll need to take if you've opted for it. Importantly, you should also know outright that this procedure isn't ideal for everyone.

Depending on your medical history or the type of your skin, your dermatologist may advise against going for IPL hair removal. Here are some of the common side effects you should be aware of before signing the consent form for IPL hair removal.
Skin Redness and Tenderness
You're likely to experience this after an IPL treatment. The redness and tenderness may also come with slight swelling though you can always take care of this by using a medically approved antiseptic gel to cool and soothe the treated area.
Pigment Changes
You may also get pigment changes in the treated areas. These pigments may be lighter or darker patches on the skin. In most cases, they fade in a few weeks.

IPL Hair Removal Risks
To begin with, IPL is majorly effective for light-skinned persons with darker hair. If your skin has a darker tone, there is a risk of the light energy used here getting absorbed by the melanin in your skin.

The results? You may get blisters, burns, and even permanent scars in worst-case scenarios. To avoid such incidences, it is ideal that you only work with a certified dermatologist who will analyze your skin tone's response to UV light and then advise if IPL may be appropriate or not recommendable for you.

However, if you want to do it at home, take care only to go a well-known device from reputed suppliers. Ideally, the device should also come with a functioning built-in skin tone sensor, which will help you identify if you're an ideal candidate for this procedure or no.

Don't forget about your hair as well. Like we mentioned earlier, IPL is majorly recommendable if you're light-skinned but with darker hair. Therefore if you have red, light blond, grey, or white hair, you may not be the right candidate for this procedure.

IPL may also not be recommendable for you if;
You're pregnant or breastfeeding. It is believed that IPL may affect the unborn baby or infant if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Therefore, to safeguard your infant's health, it would be better if you avoid this procedure until you've stopped breastfeeding.
You have skin conditions. Various skin conditions may rule you out as an ideal candidate for IPL hair removal. Psoriasis is one of these skin conditions. Doctors also advise against IPL for people who are prone to sunburns. This procedure may also not be ideal for you if you're receiving treatments for a chronic skin disorder.
Tattoos. If you have tattoos, IPL hair removal treatment is not recommendable for you. The light energy may react with tattoo color pigments to cause unwanted side effects.
Sunburnt or tanned skin. Usually, it is recommendable that you avoid sun exposure for some days, preferably 7 to 14 days before an IPL. Having an IPL procedure if you have sunburnt skin may expose you to adverse conditions that could be hard to treat. It is also not ideal for you to have tanned skin as it may leave you with severe burns and permanent scars. Ideally, you should only have the treatment once your tan has faded fully.

What is the best alternative for IPL then?
The best alternative for IPL hair removal is laser hair removal. For one, it guarantees you a permanent hair removal or long-lasting solution against unwanted hair on your body.

On the contrary, IPL does not permanently remove unwanted hair. Instead, it permanently reduces hair growth in the treated area.

Laser hair removal also comes with lesser risks when compared to IPL hair removal. For instance, laser hair removal targets individual hair follicles, thus greatly minimizing the risks of destroying other tissues around the hair follicle, which is hard to achieve with IPL hair removal, because it is hard to control.

Finally, laser hair removal comes with various technologies that make it easy to remove unwanted hair even for people with all kinds of skin tones. It would still work for you even if you are a light-skinned person with light blond or red hair, something that's hard to achieve with IPL hair removal.

Want to See Laser Hair Removal in Action?
We have a dedicated team of certified aestheticians who can help you with laser hair removal with the least hassle. Contact us today to see if you're an ideal candidate for laser hair removal and get a free quote.