IPL stands for intense pulsed light, and it is a form of light therapy, used for various dermatological procedures including hair removal.
So what’s the difference between IPL and laser hair removal technology? Unlike laser treatments, which have just one specific wavelength emitted from the diode depending on what you’re targeting, IPL has multiple wavelengths (all between 500 and 1,200 nanometres) that scatter within the skin.
As with all light based treatments, IPL works by emitting a wavelength into the skin, which in the case of hair removal targets pigment. It works in the same way black clothing absorbs heat on a hot day, versus white clothing which reflects it. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. It quickly turns to heat which then kills the growing cells that make the hair. Hair has to be living for it to work however, in that, we mean it has to be attached to the bulb of growing cells – when you pull out a hair and it has that little jelly bulb around it, it’s one of the 20 to 40 per cent of living hair on your body. If you pull it out and it doesn’t, it’s a dead hair which can stay on your skin for up to three weeks. That’s why you need to have up to12 treatments of IPL hair removal to catch all hairs in their living cycle.