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IPL Hair Removal: What To Expect Before And After

IPL is an amazing way to get rid of unwanted body hair. It is easy to use, affordable, and basically painless. We could go on and on about the benefits but you can read all about those here.

Instead, we want to help you figure out how to make the most out of all of your IPL sessions. That means you need to know how to prep before to make sure your hair comes off seamlessly and what you can expect post-IPL. 

Want to learn more? Keep reading for everything you need to know about what to expect before and after your IPL hair removal sessions. 

What Is IPL Hair Removal?

If you’ve spent a lot of time perusing our site, you may be familiar with all the ins and outs of IPL. If not, or you just need a refresher, let’s get into it. Here is your IPL crash course. 

IPL is short for intense pulsed light. IPL is an FDA-approved type of laser hair removal and skin treatment that is used to treat all sorts of different skin conditions from wrinkles to unwanted hair growth. This type of hair reduction procedure is often used to prevent regrowth in areas like the underarms, bikini line, upper lip and other facial hair hotspots,, and hard-to-reach areas like the back.

When it comes to hair removal for any hair type or hair colour, our personal favorite use for IPL, the technically applies gentle pulses of broad-spectrum light to your hair follicles and voilà – hair is gone!

Okay, it might not be that simple, but we don’t want to bore you with all the sciencey stuff. All you need to know is that IPL is a gentle, easy, safe way to get rid of hair at the root. Why does that matter? Well, it means the hair will take longer to grow back. And who doesn’t like the sound of that?!

You can go to a professional to have an IPL treatment or you can do it yourself at home with an IPL hair removal device. Whichever you choose, here is everything you need to expect before and after your IPL treatment. 

What To Expect Before IPL Hair Removal

Whether it’s your first time doing IPL or you’re already an expert, here is how you can prepare for your next hair removal treatment session.

Read The Manual 

It may seem obvious, but the best way to make the most out of your IPL session is to follow the directions. We know that flipping through a manual isn’t the most exciting thing, but hey rushing through the steps is a recipe for disaster. 

Or, at least, a recipe for your device not living up to its fullest potential. So, give it a chance and follow the directions diligently. The manual will tell you how to direct the light source properly to promote permanent hair removal.

Avoid The Sun

A tan and IPL go together like oil and water – AKA they don’t! 

IPL promotes permanent hair reduction by seeking out the pigment in your hair follicles without altering your skin tone. So, if there is not enough contrast between your skin and your hair, your IPL machine may have a little trouble. This essentially means that if you spend too much time in the sun and increase the amount of melanin in your skin, your IPL device may not work as well. 

However, if you have dark skin, you don’t have to worry about home IPL hair removal being less effective for you — the light pulses can differentiate between darker skin and dark hair.

Beyond affecting devices effectiveness on large areas and smaller areas, the sun can sensitize your skin, like majorly. Using an IPL device on sensitive skin will likely be very painful. Let’s avoid that by prioritizing a pre-IPL and post-IPL skin care routine.

You should avoid the sun in any areas you are going to be treating with IPL for at least two weeks before the treatment. If you must be in the sun, lather on lots of SPF to keep that skin safe. 

Shave Any Long Hairs

Before you start the treatment, or between treatments, shave any long hairs in the areas you will be treating. If you can run your hands over your skin and don’t feel any hair, you don’t need to worry about shaving. However, even areas that seem hair-free may have some growth.

But, if you have long hairs in areas like your armpits, using an epilator, waxing, or shaving before will help make the laser treatment more effective. An IPL handset may burn long hairs – ouch! Plus, the hair removal system won’t be as effective at targeting the root of the hair follicle if the hair is too long.

Make Sure Skin Is Clean and Dry

If you have lotion, sunscreen, or makeup on your skin, now is the time to wipe it off. You want to make sure your skin is completely free of external substances so that the IPL device can remove hair as best as it can. 

What To Expect After IPL Hair Removal

The IPL hair removal process usually is pretty quick, but the process doesn’t just stop when the treatment itself does. You want to make sure you are treating your skin right after the treatment to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here’s what you need to know about using a hair removal machine for the first time.

Does IPL Hair Removal Cause Redness or Swelling?

Or light bruising, or itching, or peeling. While home laser hair removal with an IPL is non-invasive, it still is a treatment and it kind of is shocking your body. Therefore your body might have some serious reactions. These side effects are usually minor and temporary, but it is important to note it can happen. 

You Should Ice The Treated Area

A cold compress will help minimize swelling. So, whether you see your skin swelling post-IPL or not it’s great idea to get ahead of the curve and cool things down. Your body will thank you!

After an IPL sesh, grab an ice pack or a cool, damp washcloth. Apply to the treated area for about ten minutes at a time. You can do this multiple times a day, especially on the day of your treatment. 

Avoid The Sun

Just as you should avoid the sun before IPL, you should avoid the sun after too. Your skin is extra-sensitive after an IPL treatment, which means it’s even more vulnerable to possible damage. 

Sun damage can be scary, and serious, especially if you have a sensitive skin type. The last thing you want after feeling happy about your hair removal is to go in the sun just to have to deal with those scary side effects. Save yourself the trouble – and the possible burns, scarring, and hyperpigmentation – and cover up where you can.

Get Ready To Remove That Hair

Now you know what to expect before home use of IPL technology and after, you’re one step closer to smooth, soft, hairless skin. Keep this guide bookmarked for your next session. 

Sources:
Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment: Uses and what to expect - MedicalNewsToday

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL Treatment) - WebMD

Frequently Asked Questions: IPL Side Effects and More in Maryland (MD) - by Will Surgical Arts