IPL Hair Removal Session

If you decide to have IPL hair removal treatment, and think you are suitable for it, the first step is to find an IPL practitioner at a clinic who you trust. IPL is quite widely available, so it should not be too difficult to find somewhere that offers it; you can ask if it is available at your usual clinic or ones in your area, do a quick internet search to find where it is available near you, or ask the advice of your GP. Once you have found one you feel comfortable with, you can book a consultation appointment with them, to go over what is involved in the procedure and to check you are suitable for the treatment. If this goes well, and you still feel comfortable with this practitioner, you can then book your first hair removal appointment.

What Happens at an IPL Hair Removal Consultation?

Before your first IPL session, you will have a short consultation with your IPL practitioner to discuss what you want from the procedure and check that you are suitable for the treatment. At this consultation you can talk the procedure over with the practitioner, and go over exactly what you want treated and what your expectations are. Your practitioner will then see if you are a suitable candidate for the treatment, by looking at your skin and hair colour, checking your medical history to make sure there is no reason for you to avoid IPL, and will do a test patch to see how your skin and hair react. Bear in mind that practitioners may charge for a patch test.

You will also be given some information to read on the procedure, and if all goes well you will be asked to sign a consent form and your first IPL session can be booked. Other measures may also be discussed, such as preparation, recovery, and the inclusion of anaesthetic creams if a sensitive area is being treated. Remember that if, after this consultation, you think you would rather be treated by a different practitioner at a different clinic or salon, it is never too late to change your mind. If, however, it is found that you are not suitable for the treatment, advice and information can instead be given on alternative hair removal methods to consider.

Preparing for IPL Hair Removal

Before attending your first session, following your consultation, there are a few precautions you can take to ensure the best results. It is best not to tan or use tanning products for at least a month before your session, as this increases the likelihood of your skin overheating. Your practitioner may also ask that the area you want treated is shaved or has very short hairs – longer hairs can heat up and be painful. However, it is also important that you do not undergo any other hair removal treatments at least four weeks before your session. Remember to also follow any advice your practitioner gives you regarding preparation for a session.

What Happens in an IPL Hair Removal Treatment Session?

If you are suitable for IPL, there were no problems with your test patch, and you still want to go ahead with the procedure, your first treatment session can be booked. The first stage of the session will go through safety procedures. Any cooling gels being used will be prepared, and if you are being treated in a sensitive area, an anaesthetic cream may be applied. Both you and the practitioner will be given safety glasses to wear, to protect your eyes from the light. This is a common safety precaution of most light or laser based treatments. Since the skin can get rather warm during the treatment, a cooling gel is sometimes applied; some machines also have a chilled tip on the wand. With some machines, a cooling agent will be sprayed. The procedure can then begin. Your practitioner will apply the hand-held wand of the IPL machine, from which the light is delivered, to the surface of your skin. Bursts of light will travel from the wand to your skin. The light travels through your skin until it reaches a hair, in which it can target the pigment or melanin. The hair and its follicle (root) heat up and are destroyed. This happens extremely quickly, and you feel a stinging or tingling sensation, the intensity of which will of course vary from person to person, and can vary according to your skin tone. It is usually described as uncomfortable rather than painful. Depending on the size of the area being treated, one IPL hair removal session can take anything from ten minutes to an hour. After the session is over, you should be able to go about your day as normal.

What to do After an IPL Hair Removal Session

If all goes well, IPL hair removal should need very little recovery and you should be able to return to work as usual straight away. You may be given an antiseptic cream to apply, as the skin can be quite tender afterwards. It is also advised that you keep out of the sun for at least twenty four hours, and for a few days afterwards it is best to apply a high factor sunblock to the treated area if you do. Your practitioner may also advise other measures of post-treatment, such as applying certain creams. Soothing lotions, aloe vera, and sunblock are often recommended. It is normal for your skin to go a little red and sore, or to swell a little, but this should subside after a day or two, and can be soothed with the use of a cold compress or ice pack. The feeling is often compared with that of mild sunburn. Slight pigment changes are also fairly common, and should fade, although this can take a few months. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as blistering, intense swelling, infection, or if it is very painful, be sure to contact your practitioner immediately.

« When is IPL Hair Removal Most Effective? How Many IPL Sessions Will I Need? »