What is IPL?
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a technology where light waves target colour pigments to address a number of skin concerns including hair removal, skin rejuvenation, pigmentation and rosacea. The goals of the treatment will determine how the light waves our filtered to ensure targeted results.
How does Pain Free Hair Removal work?
IPL targets the colour pigment (melanin) in hair; heating it to damage the hair follicle and prevent regrowth. Whereas laser and traditional IPL hair removal use a single pulse of high energy to achieve results (often painfully and at a small area at a time), pain free IPL uses in-motion technology at a lower intensity, with often a broader coverage, to gently heat the hair follicle melanin and damage the follicle to prevent regrowth. Some pain-free hair removal treatments have little to no sensational at all; other than the feel of the refrigerated head coolly gliding over the skin surface. Other clients may feel a small tingle.
As with all IPL and laser hair removal, pain free hair removal is only effective when the hair is in its anagene, or growth phase and the hair follicle is anchored. If the hair is in either it’s dormant or regression phases, it can not be effectively target. This is why carefully timed, repeated sessions are required. Hair growth will become sparser with each session, although sometimes results will only become visibly noticeable after 3 sessions.
Dark hairs on fair skin have the best and quickest results, however it is still effective on fair hair – more treatments are generally required however. Extra care must be taken when treating hairs on darker skin.
What can I expect at my first consultation?
Your initial IPL consultation is complimentary and takes approximately 30 minutes.
At the start of your appointment we will ask you to complete a consultation form which we will then go through with you. The form covers your medical background, skin type and suntanning preferences; all of this information allows us to screen you for any potential contraindications – conditions which disqualify you from being an appropriate candidate for IPL – as well as enabling us to develop a treatment plan for you. At this time we will also explain the procedure, what you can expect and approximately how many sessions you will require for lasting results.
If you qualify for the treatment and are happy to proceed, we will conduct a small patch test. This will help gauge your body’s response to the treatment and identify any negative reactions before a treatment is conducted on a larger area.
When and how much hair will fall out?
This varies on the individual person but generally occurs 2 weeks AFTER your hair removal session. Approximately 10% of the total body or face hair will fall out after each hair removal session.
Can I shave or wax between hair reduction sessions?
For best results, you can shave your body hair prior to the treatment (or our therapist can do this for you for an additional cost). You DO NOT need to shave facial hair prior to the treatment. DO NOT wax, tweeze, bleach or pluck hairs between hair removal treatments as this will limit your results.
How often do I need treatments?
Depending on the area to be treated, we recommend clients have 6-12 treatments, every 4-6 weeks to achieve lasting results. This time period between treatments allows us to target the hair at the right time during the natural re-growth cycle. For the face, we recommend every 4 weeks, and for hormonal hair every 2 weeks. Towards the end of the process, the interval between hair reduction treatments may be extended to 6-8 weeks as the re-growth cycle slows down. After this, you will generally need maintenance treatments approximately 3 times a year.
Is it okay to be exposed to sun and tanning before a treatment?
You can NOT be treated if you have had UV exposure from the sun or sun beds within the past 2 weeks. Therefore prior to your treatments, you must protect your skin with clothing, hats and sunscreen to prevent extra activity of the melanin cells in your skin.
You can NOT fake tan for 2-4 weeks prior to your treatment. Fake tans stain the outer skin cells, and this colour will intensify the IPL heat at the surface of the skin disqualifying you from treatment.
Can dark skin be treated?
Light produced by IPL and laser is absorbed by the colour pigments, melanin, which is present in our hair and skin. Caution is required when treating people with dark skin, Asian skin and some other skin which can tan very easily. Hyper-pigmentation or blanching of the skin is likely to occur if there is too much melanin present in the skin. It is possible to treat medium to medium/dark skin on a low intensity. If you fall within this category, the initial consultation will qualify whether the treatment will be appropriate for you. If you are eligible, treatments will only be administered at low levels of intensity and therefore more treatments are likely to be needed to achieve results.
Do I need to avoid any skin treatments or creams?
Yes, bleach or depilatory creams shouldn’t be used for at least one week before IPL treatments. AHA creams, Glycolic or Salicylic Peels should also be avoided one week prior to IPL treatments.
Can I wear makeup?
If you are receiving treatment on your face, all makeup and sunscreen will be removed by the therapist prior to the treatment so you may prefer not to wear any to your appointment. Your therapist can apply mineral foundation to your face after treatment if you would like.
How will I look after the treatment?
In most cases there is no visible reaction and you can expect to return to work and resume normal activities immediately after your appointment. However, as IPL creates heat in the target tissues, redness and swelling of the skin is normal. The swelling can appear like goose bumps around the hair follicle mouth. This will generally settle within half an hour. It is possible for the skin to appear slightly red for a couple of hours and up to 24 hours afterwards. If a reaction is visible after 48 hours post treatment, you MUST contact your IPL therapist for further advice.
Tightening of the skin can sometimes be felt for one to two days afterwards. In extreme cases, blistering can occur, which will heal within a few days. Cooling, healing gel or ice-packs should be applied frequently to alleviate discomfort. Treat this situation as you would sun burn, inform your IPL therapist and seek medical advice. Please note, that in darker skinned people, these responses may be delayed for up to 24 hours.
Scabbing is possible after blistering. It is extremely important NOT to pick scabs off the skin, as they are protecting the underlying skin while it heals itself. If your IPL therapist can not be contacted, a Doctor, pharmacist or naturopath should be able to provide you with appropriate advice.
Blanching or hyper-pigmentation will only occur if strict guidelines regarding settings for the different skin types and colours have not been adhered to; OR if the client has not disclosed all contra-indications, medications, or the full extent of their sun or UV exposure one month prior to the treatment. Usually blanching or hyper-pigmented scars will heal and fade over weeks or months, but in extreme cases, especially on darker skin, they could be permanent,
For those people concerned about wearing makeup immediately after treatment; providing there is no adverse reaction (which is rare), we can apply a mineral foundation to your face after your sun block.
What after care protocols do I need to follow after a treatment?
If you have other questions, or would like further information on the above topics, please contact our Omorfia team.