Common IPL FAQs
What is IPL?
IPL is intense pulse light. It is characterised as a beam of light which targets the melanin in the shaft of the hair. The beam of light converts energy to heat and disables the hair follicular cells that are responsible for hair growth. Intense pulsed light (known by patients as IPL laser but can be confused for a laser) systems release precisely controlled strong pulses of filtered light that are absorbed by melanin, the pigment in hair. This heats up the hair and destroys the cells responsible for hair growth, to achieve long term hair reduction. There are a lot of machines marketed as “IPL” machines on the market but the majority of these do not utilise the trademark technology of IPL and work on other theories and therefore do not have the same consistent results.
How is an IPL Photo Rejuvenation Treatment carried out?
You will be asked to put on goggles (stick on laser eye shields may be used for facial rejuvenation treatments) to protect your eyes. A layer of chilled gel is applied to the area to guide the light into the skin. The area will also be cooled to increase comfort during treatment. The light guide is placed on the skin and a short pulse of light is released, targeting many follicles simultaneously. The applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area of skin and the process is repeated until the entire area is treated. The chilled gel is removed and the area moisturised.
What happens during a hair removal treatment?
It begins by trimming away the hair above the skin, usually by shaving (on your first hair removal treatment we may ask that you shave approx 3 days prior so we may see the area but not have a thick growth of hair to remove). Then, a cool gel is spread over the treatment area. The IPL handpiece is then applied to the skin and pulses of light are released from the handpiece and begin to disable unwanted hair. When the gel is removed, much of the treated hair is wiped off with it. The remaining hair in treated area falls out over the next two weeks and for up to 30 days.
After treatments, what precautions should I take?
After treatment, prevent sun exposure by applying sun block – SPF 50 or above. Skin Plus Beauty / Natural Beauty Spot recommends a reflective SPF. In the first few days after treatment, don’t scrub or rinse the treated areas with abrasive skin cleaners; don’t use Vitamin A or glycolic acid products on the area for approx 48 hours. The Therapist will also advise you of any additional precautions and you will be given a post IPL care sheet.
Can IPL damage or burn the skin?
Solari as used by Skin Plus Beauty / Natural Beauty Spot being more advanced than other systems, has a separate cooling system around the treatment head and also has an in built cooling system. This provides effective and safe treatment. Treatment being performed correctly will not burn or damage the skin.
What body areas can be treated?
Almost any area of the body can be treated and the most common areas we treat are the legs, back, back of the neck, upper lip, chin, underarms, stomach, bikini line, face, chest, etc.
I have polycystic ovaries, can you treat my facial hair?
Hirsutism (excessive hair growth on the face and body) is an unwanted effect of Polycystic ovaries. Yes, IPL can treat facial hair that is caused by this condition. Please advise your Therapist if you have polycystic ovaries before treatment. Find out more on treatment and results during consultation.
Tell me more about cooling?
The IPL system comes with built in cooling in the IPL handpiece which can be adjusted to suit the patients comfort. Unlike older laser machines which require the patient to hold a separate cooling hose, Lutonics Solari has a state of the art cooling system which reduces the heat felt by the customer.
How many treatments will I need?
The amount of treatments required will vary from person and also the treatment area. For most people an average of 8 to 10 sessions are required to permanently reduce hair in the bikini or under arm area and we find that clients are amazed at the results one photo rejuvenation treatment can do. Various factors that come into play with the number of treatments such as the colour of your hair and skin, as well as factors such as hormone levels, hair follicle size and hair cycles.
What does the treatment feel like?
While you may feel a slight tingling or pinch (similar to the snap of a rubber hand) from the IPL hand piece, most people tolerate the procedure very well. Some areas of the body are more sensitive than others, you may choose to have a topical anaesthetic applied to increase comfort during the procedure. Patients with thicker and darker hair may feel the tingling sensation more.
How long do the treatments take?
We can treat some areas within 15 minutes. Others, such as the back or legs, may require 30-60 minutes. Our experience IPL Paramedical Therapist can advise you of the approx required time for treatment.
How do I know if it’s right for me?
We want you to be completely confident with the treatment. We are more than happy to have you come to the clinic and have a look at our system as we take you through the process of IPL.
The ideal candidate for IPL hair removal has light skin and dark hair. This does not mean that only people with very light skin and dark hair will have good results. We are able to treat people with at least some melanin in the hair. During the consultation the IPL Therapist will determine your skin type based on the Fitzpatrick skin type scale and develop a plan specific to your skin type and hair colour.
A patch test can be done at our clinic, please contact us for more information.
What will I see after the hair removal treatment?
Depending on the individual, hair follicles are damage by heat but the hairs remain in the follicles. The hairs will fall out after 1 -3 weeks. During this period, the hairs will seem to “grow” as they are pushed out by the new epidermis. After treatment the hairs are loose in the follicle and can sometimes be easily pulled out with tweezers or by simply exfoliating.
Most people experience some mild redness and tenderness in the treated area shortly after treatment. This does not interfere with normal activities and usually subsides within a day. In some cases, the redness may last longer but will still be mild and temporary. In most cases, the redness of the skin will subside within 24 – 48 hours post treatment.
Am I suitable for treatment?
The ideal patient is fair skinned with dark hair but there is much evidence to show that through carefully researched settings, results can be achieve for different hair and skin types. The darker the hair, the more easily it is treated, as darker hair contains more melanin and will heat up more easily. Fairer hair contains less melanin and is harder to treat. For grey or white hair, it may not be as effective in treatment because grey/white hair has no melanin.
Do I have to let the hair grow out prior to the treatment?
No, the area should be shaven clean and this would achieve the best hair removal and hair reduction results from the IPL. Prior to having IPL hair treatments you must avoid waxing, tweezing and depilatories. During the course of treatments you will be able to shave the area site, so you can remain virtually hair free.
Do you have a consultation and patch test?
Yes, we offer patients a consultation where our Paramedical Therapists will go through treatment options and results. A patch test can be done as well if the Therapist thinks it is warranted, ie if the skin is a Fitzpatrick 3 or above the Therapist will usually patch test to the area.
Prior to any treatment we will provide a full consultation. The consultation identifies your expectations and provides a complete explanation of the treatment.
A medical history is taken to confirm suitability for treatment and if you wish to proceed a written informed consent is obtained.
I have been waxing for a while now should I consider alternate hair removal treatments?
Traditional hair removal techniques –such as shaving, plucking, waxing and depilatory creams –provide only temporary relief. Until now, the only recognised way to remove hair permanently has been by electrolysis –which can be tedious, time consuming and uncomfortable. Intense light hair removal safely removes unwanted body hair without damaging the delicate pores and structures of the skin. Facial and bikini areas are usually completed in less than ten minutes –legs, backs, and larger areas can take longer.