Published: Feb 03, 2022
Is IPL Treatment Permanent: Does it Really Work?
Is IPL treatment permanent and does it really work? This is a question that many people who have used other methods of hair removal ask.
Perhaps this is because most depilatory treatments are sold as generators for permanent results. However, the truth is, that not every treatment is permanent.
For this reason and because people want to save time and money finding permanent results, some continue their search for a treatment that offers them exactly what they are looking for.
For permanent hair removal, there are two technologies that achieve this: intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser.
This is a treatment that has been in vogue recently, thanks to its effectiveness and the number of users satisfied with the end results.
But how do we know if IPL is treatment permanent?
Let’s start by understanding what it is, how it works, who it works for and what its IPL benefits are. Well even consider the negative aspects of IPL. Today, we will answer all of these common questions.
The Truth: Is IPL Treatment Permanent?
To answer the question whether is IPL treatment permanent or not, we must first establish what the word permanent actually means and implies in this context. Many hold the belief that something permanent lasts forever. The truth is that, at this point in time, hair removal is something that can only last a while.
We’ll take a look at how permanent works with respect to IPL treatments.
Permanent Hair Removal or Permanent Hair Reduction?
Having established that permanent does not mean forever, we understand that we are no longer talking about permanent hair removal, but rather about a permanent reduction of hair in the treated area.
According to the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), to speak of "permanent hair reduction" refers to "the long-term stable reduction in the number of hairs that regrow after a treatment regimen, which may include several sessions."
This means that, in order for optimal and permanent results to be achieved through IPL treatments, it is necessary to complete a series of sessions. The amount will be determined according to the area of the body being treated, the condition (color and thickness) of the hair present in that area and growth stage of the hair.
The Process of IPL Treatment
As treatment sessions go by, you will notice that hair growth slows down. It will take longer for hair to grow back and it will be thinner and sparser. Later, when we explain how IPL works, you will understand why this happens.
In reality, when we talk about permanent hair reduction using IPL treatments, we refer specifically a period of time that, once the initial sessions are completed, can last for up to six (6) months or even a year. After which it will only be necessary to perform top-up sessions so that the skin remains effectively hairless.
Hair growth stages
Although the stages of hair growth do vary from one person to another, it is important to know what each stage looks like. This way, at some point throughout the hair removal process, it will be possible to attack hair follicles at the best time for optimal IPL treatment results.
The stages of hair growth are as follows:
- Anagen: during this stage, hair growth is fully active and new hair is produced.
- Catagen: this is considered a transitional stage, because it is characterized by being the time during which the hair separates from the follicle and the blood supply.
- Telogen: it is the last stage of hair growth. It occurs the moment the follicle is inactive; the old hair falls out and a new stage of hair growth begins.
Since hair only actively grows during the anagen stage, this is when IPL treatment is most effective. However, knowing precisely when the hairs of a particular area of the body are in this stage is almost impossible.
That’s why it is necessary to perform a certain number (at least six, depending on the area of the body treated) of IPL treatment sessions to achieve the best results. It is likely that in at least one of these sessions, it will be possible to attack the follicle during the anagen growth stage, therefore achieving a more permanent result. You will probably find that a large amount of hair (80-90%) does not grow back and the hairs that do grow back will be much thinner.
That's a sizable difference, isn't it? That proves that IPL treatments can be 80% to 90% permanent.
The Fundamentals of IPL Treatment
IPL or Intense Pulsed Light is a technology utilized in the treatment of skin conditions, aiding photorejuvenation and improving the condition of the skin, and the permanent reduction of hair on various parts of the body. The technology emits light rays that penetrate through to the second layer of skin (the dermis) and stimulate the creation of collagen.
These light rays work with a full spectrum of infrared radiation that does not cause any pain. As the rays are low-range, they do not burn the first layer of the skin, but instead go directly to the dermis and attack the dark pigments identified around the hair follicles.
This is because the light’s energy is absorbed by melanin (dark pigments) and transformed into heat that burns the base of the hair follicle, causing its next stage of growth to slow down. Then when hair grows back, it is thinner and weaker.
For this procedure to be most successful, there must be a contrast between the color of the hair and the skin. This is so the light can identify the darker pigments and target them directly, avoiding minor burns to the skin. Unfortunately, this means that pale skinned people with fair colored hair and darker skinned people with black hair, are not the best candidates for this treatment.
There have been many with this type of technology, so machines are increasingly becoming more specialized in treating certain phototypes (skin tones) that were previously excluded.
IPL is Different from Laser
Although both are light technologies that are used for the same purpose (photorejuvenation and hair removal), they do not achieve the desired results in the same way.
In principle, the light emitted by the laser is much more specific than that of IPL. Lasers use a unique wavelength, pulse duration and light color. However, IPL uses a broad spectrum, managing to cover more skin with a single pulse.
Establishing whether one technology is more or less convenient than the other is determined by various factors. In short, reaching a fair conclusion is quite complicated.
As previously mentioned, both are used for the same purposes and both have evolved over time, in terms of the comfort felt while receiving the treatment, as well as in the side effects it may cause and the durability of results.
Therefore, depending on the needs and situation of each individual, choosing between one or the other will be a completely personal decision. Those who are qualified to advise which treatment will work best for you according to your hair and skin type are dermatologists.
Is IPL Treatment Worthwhile?
If you are looking for a permanent treatment that helps you considerably reduce your hair growth in any area of the body, IPL is the most effective choice.
Although there are many other treatments that will provide you with similar results, they do not compare to IPL in terms of cost, effectiveness, safety and risk of side effects.
In fact, if you prefer not to go to a specialized aesthetic clinic to receive a permanent hair reduction treatment, you can easily do it with an IPL device created for at home use. This technology has the advantage that it can be used without having a in-depth knowledge or experience.
What Does that Mean?
It means there is the possibility of owning hair removal machines with IPL technology that are specially designed for domestic use.
These devices have features that help you identify your skin tone and hair type automatically, with the intention of regulating the power of the wavelength that will be emitted through each pulse. In addition, they come with comprehensive instructions regarding how to use, maintain and clean the device.
Just like when you go to an aesthetic clinic, domestic IPL epilators also cause hair removal to be permanent, hair to weaken and review sessions to be spaced over time.
Without hesitation, IPL is treatment permanent that improves hair reduction with every treatment. It is by far the most more effective hair reduction treatment. If you haven't tried it, it's about time you did.