What is IPL?
IPL is a light treatment for a variety of treatments including:
Permanent hair reduction
Thread vein (spider vein) removal
What does “IPL” stand for?
IPL stands for “Intense Pulsed Light” because it uses an intense (bright) short pulse of light to treat various conditions.
Simply, how does IPL work?
A flash of light is used to heat the target condition, causing it to break down, and be absorbed by the body. The trick is to make sure that the surrounding healthy skin does not heat up too much and burn. This is achieved by setting the total amount of heat energy, the number of pulses in a single shot, the time delay between shots, and the amount of heat delivered as radio frequency energy.
How effective is IPL?
The effectiveness of IPL treatments is great, but varies from person to person, and treatment to treatment. Many people have fantastic results.
Hair Reduction: For example, it is called “permanent hair reduction” because hairs are permanently reduced.
IPL is most effective when the hair is in the ‘growth cycle’ meaning that the follicle is growing hair. The light travels down the length of the hair and damages the follicle so it can’t ever grow a new hair.
The body has many follicles and they produce hairs at different times, so they cannot all be treated at once. This is why you need a course of treatment to catch all of the follicles in the growth stage.
At some point in the future dormant follicles can start producing hair; in which case you may want to have a maintenance treatment.
Thread vein removal: IPL will target the blood within the thread vein and eventually cauterising the thread vein. The body will naturally drain the blood away leaving a clearer complexion.
Even though an area has been treated, other thread veins can still develop in the future.
Taking care with sun exposure, protecting your skin from the elements and being careful with not over-blowing your nose can help. It is said that a good Vitamin C supplement with help with strengthening blood vessels and therefore help prevent capillaries breaking so easily.
Rosacea reduction: Rosacea is caused by a number of factors including stress. This treatment will help to reduce an episode of rosacea. It can not cure rosacea, but with good skin care and the right lifestyle it can be controlled.
Pigmentation reduction: This can be an amazing treatment to reduce pigmentation, also known as age spots.
Once the face has been treated to maintain your flawless skin you need to avoid sun exposure as it can bring back the pigment. Taking extra care with sun exposure and practising “safe sun” will delay any return.
Acne treatment: IPL therapy will kill the p-acne bacteria, stopping painful and unsightly acne in its tracks.
Skin rejuvenation: Our skin is always aging, it is one of the joys of knowing we are fortunate to still be alive. IPL skin rejuvenation can help to turn back the clock.
Is IPL safe?
IPL is considered a safe treatment if performed by a trained practitioner.
IPL, like any treatment, can never be 100% safe, despite what others may tell you. IPL treatment has a small risk of burning (similar to sunburn) and allergic reaction, that could result in excessive pigmentation, loss of pigmentation, blistering, or in rare cases, scarring.
The IPL risks are minimised by carrying out a patch test with the settings starting at low, safe levels and increasing gradually until the target point is met without undue trauma to the skin. Side effects can still happen after the event which is why the patch test is small, in a less obvious place if possible, and then we wait anything from 24 hours to 14 days.
What does it feel like?
Some people liken an IPL shot to a small elastic band flicking onto the skin, followed by a warm sensation. People have described it as more comfortable than waxing. Our IPL machine comes with a cryogenic handset, which number the skin, most clients don’t feel anything.
One reason for doing a patch test is to ensure the settings are comfortable for you. But the sensation will vary from person to person, and for some women may depend on the time of the month.
How many and how often will I need treatments?
These figures are only averages, and differ from person to person:
Permanent hair reduction: On average, requires 6-8 treatments that are 4-6 weeks. Everyone is different such that some people have great results after say, two treatments, whilst hormones can have more effect on facial areas and can take around 10 sessions or more.
Pigmentation, veins and acne treatments: On average 3-6 treatments that are 1-3 weeks apart. Again, results vary with some having great results after one or two sessions and others requiring more.
Figures depend on skin tone type, medical backgrounds, and individual factors. After the course of treatments have completed, most conditions may also require maintenance treatments from perhaps 6-12 months apart to every few years.
What is a consultation and patch test?
A consultation is a question and answer session where we ascertain whether you are suitable for treatment. If you are suitable, a patch test is where we carry out a test treatment on a small patch of the treatment area to see how you respond. If both are successful, then we can go ahead with a full treatment.
What may prevent me having IPL treatments?
Factors that may prevent you from having IPL treatment include:
Active sun exposure which means no sun tanning, sunny holidays or sun beds in the month before treatment, nor in the month after a treatment. No spray/artificial tan about 10 days before a treatment. Increased pigment in the treatment area can lead to burning; whilst sun exposure soon after treatment can lead to abnormal pigment changes as you will be more photosensitive.
Medications that make you photosensitive will require delaying IPL treatment until the medication has been completed and sufficient time elapsed to clear your body.
Conditions that may prevent treatment include: heart disorders, a pacemaker, blood clots, cancer (and subsequent treatment), and epilepsy. Treatments or issues, that may delay treatment, include: pregnancy, allergies, fresh botox and other injectables, scarring or tattoos in the treatment area, and certain allergies.
Skin types that tolerate the sun the worst, are the best candidates for IPL!
IPL hair reduction and acne treatment may not be possible on the darkest skin tones. IPL pigmentation and vascular (thread vein and rosacea) treatments may not be possible on darker skin tones.
Other factors that may prevent or delay treatment include unrealistic expectations. We are open and honest about what can or can not be achieved in your time frame. We can not guarantee results and can only share our knowledge of the more common results.
Is IPL scientifically proven?
Yes. Scientific research shows that IPL is safe and effective. This is not the same as saying that IPL is risk-free and 100% effective all of the time.
Do I have to sign a contract?
No. While some salons may make you sign a contract committing yourself to a certain number of treatments, we don’t. If you wish to stop after the treatments you have paid for, you can.