Intensive light pulse (IPL) technology has developed and evolved in a significant way since its medical introduction more than 20 years ago. These devices can not only be utilized safely in a clinical setting, but they can be used effectively and safely at home to rid its users of unwanted hair, as well as small and undesirable vascular and pigmented lesions, such as acne and rosacea. Additionally, IPL machines can minimize superficial wrinkles and fine lines, as well as improving over-sized pores through collagen stimulation.
How Do IPL Machines Work?
As is the case with all light-based treatments, IPL works by emitting a wavelength into the skin, which targets pigment, which affects skin and hair pigments. IPL is best suited for those with fair skin. The way it works is similar to when dark clothing absorbs sun’s heat on a hot day. The light is absorbed by dark hair pigments, which quickly converts into heat, which in turn, obliterates the thriving cells that grow the unwanted hair.
IPL (Intense pulsed light) devices offer an alternative to laser technology, which have only a single, specified wavelength that is emitted from a single diode, which depends on the area and the condition(s) you’re targeting. IPL has multiple wavelengths, which all range between 500-1,200 nanometers that scatter within the skin. Different machines employ various cooling systems, which can include contact cooling, a cryogenic spray, or forced refrigerated air, which serves to protect the skin’s surface that is put in contact with the hand-held portion of the
Hair color and density are vital factors that gauge how effective hair removal will be when using IPL for this purpose. Coarser, darker hair better absorbs the energy generated by the IPL machine and tends to respond more effectively than finer, lighter hair types. Laser treatment is a better option for lighter, finer hair types, overall. IPL allows for larger surfaces to be treated, such as the legs, chest, back, and other large bodily areas that would present difficulties with a smaller, more localized device.
Results can differ from person to person due to many factors, which will determine the results you will experience. Hair density, the shape of your hair follicles, and hair color at the roots and tips are just some of the factors that will determine how quickly an IPL machine can deliver the desired results to its user. Some users may see results after their first session, but some may not see results until their 3rd, 4th, or even their 5th session.
IPL machines for home use tend to range in price from just under $200 to just under $400. Replacement bulbs and accessories necessary to operate these machines for the average user tend to be between $20-$90. IPL’s biggest advantage is that it’s a cheaper alternative to laser therapy and can be done at home. It is also a money-saving alternative to frequent laser treatments, as you can use it as a means of maintenance between clinical treatments at home, so the machine pays for itself!
Most dissatisfaction among users who utilize IPL machines at home are the life-span of their machine’s lamps and cartridges, depending on the device, which can be quite high, so be sure to do your research before you invest in an IPL machine!
IPL can be slightly less comfortable than laser treatments, though, and may cause temporary redness, swelling, and dry, itchy skin, blisters, and light scabbing, however, these conditions will quickly fade. It’s very important not to pick any scabs that develop, as this can cause permanent scarring. Very rarely, IPL can result in white skin patches, which typically fade over time. Temporary bruising can occur in a small population of users, but this bruising also fades with time.
Topical anesthetic creams can help dull any discomfort during treatment and subsequent to treatment. IPL is a versatile, safe, and effective treatment of pigmented lesions, and skin issues related to sun damage, acne, and rosacea, as well as hair removal. To remedy tight, itchy, lightly blistered skin, after-treatment creams are available that can assist with speeding healing in any of the affected the areas, which have been subjected to discomfort. Be sure to use a cream with high-quality ingredients that are appropriately formulated for your skin type.