We’re all tired of the hair removal cycle. The endless rounds of shaving, plucking, waxing, or using harsh depilatory creams is expensive, time-consuming, and often uncomfortable. You may have heard about IPL lasers and wondered if they’re all they’re cracked up to be. IPL is just as successful as you’ve heard, and at Life Stiles in Alberta, CAN, we want you to see it for yourself.
What Makes IPL Hair Removal So Successful?
To understand why IPL works as well as it does, we need to understand the process of hair growth and how lasers stop it permanently.
Our hair is always in one of four growth cycles. It spends the most time in the growth cycle, which is when the follicles under the skin are actively producing the cells that make up our hair. There are three other cycles, and our individual hairs can spend about four or five months in these cycles every few years.
How IPL Stop Hair Growth
IPL lasers work on a scientific principle known as photothermolysis. You probably recognize the first part of that word, photo, which means “light.” The term thermo means “heat.” The end of the word, lysis, comes from the Greek word for destruction. Photothermolysis is the destruction of hair using heat that comes from light.
IPL works by sending a beam of light energy down the shaft of the hair. The melanin in the hair absorbs the specific wavelength the laser produces, and this creates heat in the follicle. That heat destroys the follicle’s ability to regenerate cells and produce hair.
Dealing with Skin Color
Our hair has melanin, but our skin has it, too. Melanin is what gives our skin and hair their color. Older technologies could only work for people with the perfect combination of light skin and dark hair. The contrast was enough that the hair could be targeted and the skin spared. Unfortunately, these technologies left the rest of us out in the cold. Anyone with darker skin, or any lighter-skinned people with light hair, couldn’t use lasers to remove their hair.
At Life Stiles, we don’t use outdated technology. Instead, we use the Lumenis® IPL: the most effective laser removal technology out there. Lumenis® works equally well on black, brown, and red hair and on a variety of skin tones. It can accommodate different colors of hair and skin because it’s able to change light wavelengths quickly and uses varying durations of light pulses to change up how far it penetrates and how quickly it works.
Why IPL Is Permanent
IPL is also so successful because it’s a permanent solution to ridding yourself of unwanted hair. Consider the options you have for getting rid of hair:
Shaving can only address the hair that appears above the skin. It eats up your time and must be repeated frequently. Even worse, getting your hair shaved down so the skin feels completely smooth can take multiple, irritating passes. Even after we’ve shaved as closely as we possibly can, we can still sometimes see the ends of hairs under the skin and struggle to cover them up.
These also remove the hair that appears above the skin. They work by breaking down the chemical structure of the hair until it turns into a jelly-like substance that can be wiped away. Needless to say, the chemicals used to do this are harsh and damaging to the skin.
Plucking removes the entire shaft of hair and not just the bit that appears above the skin. That’s great because it means the follicle takes a lot longer to regenerate enough hair that you can see it again. Unfortunately, plucking takes a tremendous time investment: and it hurts.
Waxing is like plucking gone wild. Instead of targeting one hair at a time, waxing can reach many hairs and remove them all at once. Yet waxing also has to be repeated frequently, and it can be very painful. Worst of all, once you add up the cost of visiting a salon or buying home waxing kits regularly, it turns out that waxing could actually be the most expensive removal process of all.
The IPL Difference
IPL works differently than all these methods, and it’s so successful because it’s the only removal method that doesn’t target the hair. Instead, it targets the root of the problem: hair follicles. When you simply remove the hair, it always comes back. When you actually destroy the follicle, you remove the source of the problem and don’t have to worry about unwanted hair again.
At Life Stiles, we know how important it is that you be comfortable with your treatments and your caregivers. We offer you a complimentary consultation so you can get a customized recommendation about how IPL treatments can help you with your unwanted hair. During your consultation, you’ll be able to talk to an expert and get your questions answered.
Choosing a Treatment
IPL lasers can target unwanted hair on almost any area of the body. We offer both single treatments and packages of three treatments. The number of treatments you need will depend on a few things:
What do you want out of your IPL treatment? Some people want completely smooth skin, while others prefer to just make hair less dense so they only need to shave occasionally and don’t risk razor burn. Your end goal will determine how many treatments you need.
Your Hair and Skin Color
Because the laser works by targeting the melanin in the hair while avoiding melanin in the skin, it works fastest on skin that’s very light with hair that’s very dark. It takes a little more time to effectively remove hair if you have lighter hair or darker skin.
Your Hair Growth Cycle
It’s difficult to predict precisely where in the growth cycle your hair will be when you come in for a treatment. At most, you can expect any single treatment to effectively destroy 80% of the hair follicles in the treatment area. Some of us get lucky, and most of our hair is in the growth phase at the time of treatment. Others of us aren’t so lucky, and it will take a few more treatments to get rid of all unwanted hair.
Deciding on Treatment Areas
Where do you want to have hair removed? We regularly target unwanted hair in these areas:
- Bikini area
We have packages to address several of these areas at once, and if you want to remove hair in another area, talk to us about it at your complimentary consultation.
Preparing for Treatment
There is very little for you to do to prepare for a laser treatment. The main thing is to enhance the contrast between your skin and hair color. All that means is you should avoid sun exposure or tanning for a few weeks before each treatment.
Since the laser uses the hair shaft to find and target the follicle, it’s also important that there be some hair in the treatment area. You shouldn’t wax or pluck the area before treatment. You can shave, however. It’s also important to know that depilatory creams can seriously damage our skin. Because of this, you can’t have an IPL treatment until at least six weeks after using a depilatory cream.
Just as there’s not much preparation involved, there’s not much you need to do after a treatment. You won’t have to take time off of work, hire a babysitter, or spend the day in bed. At most, your skin might feel like you’ve spent a little too much time in the sun. Give it some soothing moisturizers and protect it with sunscreen any time you go outside.
Calculating the Cost
It does cost money to have IPL treatment, but these costs should be balanced against the cost of a lifetime of hair removal by other methods. For women, removing hair over a lifetime costs more than $10,000, and the average woman will spend 58 days removing hair she doesn’t want.
For men, hair removal takes 45 days out of their lives and costs almost as much as it does for women. Whoever you are and whatever you need shaved, there’s a good chance that laser hair removal will save money over a lifetime. The benefits aren’t limited to money, either. You also avoid the stress of wondering if you’ve gotten every hair and the embarrassment of seeing stubble even after a close shave.
FAQ About Hair Removal
Will It Hurt?
The Lumenis® IPL is nothing like older technologies or at-home IPL devices. It doesn’t pinch or hurt.
Is There Anything That Would Prevent Me From Getting Treatment?
At Life Stiles, your comfort is our primary concern. There are just a few things that could prevent you from getting treatment, and it’s important that you mention these during your consultation so we can protect you and help you find the best possible treatment for your needs.
In some cases, we can offer a better treatment for your situation. In others, we just need to take some precautions to provide you with the best possible experience. Let us know if any of the following are true of you:
- You have a skin disease
- There is an active herpes outbreak in the treatment area
- You are prone to keloid scarring
- You have epilepsy
- PCOS is the reason for your unwanted hair
- You are taking hormone or thyroid medications
- You are taking any photo-sensitizing medications
How Long Does a Session Take?
The length of each session will depend on the size of the area you want to be treated, but in general, you can expect a session to last between 15 and 90 minutes. Many people are able to get through a session and return to work over a lunch hour.
When Will I See Results?
The first two weeks after your treatment can be confusing if you don’t understand what’s happening. After the follicle is destroyed, there’s still the last hair shaft to deal with. That hair will shed over the course of two weeks, and in some cases, this looks much like normal hair growth. Don’t be afraid, however. The hair is just shedding, and once that last hair is gone the follicle won’t be able to grow a new one in its place.
Learn More About Your Options
If you’re interested in the IPL laser, contact us at Life Stiles in Alberta, CAN today and schedule your complimentary consultation. We can help you understand the best options for your unwanted hair and explain in detail why IPL is so successful. Stop the cycle of constant hair removal and get rid of your hair for good.