IPL – laser hair removal, pigment/redness reduction
What is IPL and how does it work?
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a cosmetic treatment that harnesses light to absorb melanin (hair and skin’s dark pigment) and haemoglobin (the red colour in blood vessels). The light converts to heat, damaging the targeted cells and leaving the skin’s surface undisturbed. IPL is a non-invasive treatment for removal of unwanted hair and skin conditions.
What can IPL treat?
- Diffuse redness, rosacea and red scarring
- Unwanted dark facial and body hair
- Flat, benign pigmented lesions (freckles, sunspots and general pigmentation)
- Facial vascular lesions (spider veins, red spots and broken capillaries)
- Uneven skin colouring
- Poikiloderma (redness, pigmentation and a spotty look to the neck and/or décolletage)
Why have an IPL treatment at Academy Face and Body?
- The treatments are performed by qualified Dermal Therapists. A Dermal Therapist has a nationally recognised qualification in advanced skin treatments and holds an IPL/ Laser Safety Officer certificate.
- We are a Certified Palomar and Lumenis M22 Provider
- We provide you with a comprehensive consultation so you can make an informed decision
- We perform necessary skin test patches – free!
- Our Dermal Therapists are also supervised and work under the guidance of doctors
- Your treatment outcome is important to us
IPL may be an unsuitable treatment for you for the following reasons:
- Dermatitis or infection in the area to be treated
- Roaccutane use in the last 6 months
- Light sensitising medication
- History of keloid scarring or abnormal wound healing
- Light-triggered seizures
- Melasma (we recommend a course of Laser Toning Peels and lightening cream)
- Darker skin types
IPL treatments do unfortunately bring some potential complications. At Academy Face and Body we perform test spots within the 3 days prior to full treatment. These trial patches allow an accurate evaluation of how your skin responds to IPL, significantly reducing the potential complications. Potential complications include:
- Prolonged redness and swelling lasting up to 4 days may occur
- Blistering rarely occurs and will usually settle within 2 hours with application of ice. If you do get a blister, it is important that you don’t pick it as it may leave a scar
- Whiter patches on the skin can occur. This can last 2 weeks up to 1 year though also has the potential to be permanent. You are more at risk of this occurring if you have a darker skin type
- Darker patches of pigment on the skin may occur a couple of weeks after treatment. This can last from 2 weeks up to 1 year. However there is a special cream we can use to reduce the pigment. You are more at risk of this occurring if you have a darker skin type. (this is not the immediate darkening of pigment we expect when treating pigmentation)
How will my skin react after the IPL treatment?
- Most patients experience a mild sensation sunburn-like in nature that lasts 2 to 5 hours and is often accompanied by mild to moderate redness.
- After IPL for hair removal the skin may appear spotty, this inflammation is caused by the heat absorbed in the hair follicle and can last 2 to 24 hours.
- After treatment of vascular lesions they will either disappear immediately or appear grey or purplish in colour. Diffuse redness immediately appears a lot redder then gradually lightens within 2-3 weeks.
- After treatment of pigmented lesions the lesion will go darker, sometimes almost black, then will fall off within 7 to 28 days (depending on the area of the body) or gradually fade.
Pre Treatment Recommendations
- Avoid exposure to the sun for 4 weeks prior to your IPL treatment.
- Use a broadspectrum SPF 30+ or 50+ daily.
- If having IPL for hair removal, do not wax, tweeze or pluck the hair for 4 weeks prior to your treatment.
- You may continue to shave or use depilatory creams.
- Do not use fake tan 2 weeks prior to your treatment.
- If you have a history of herpes close to the area being treated, it is recommended that you take antiviral medication available from any chemist before the treatment.
- The treatment site will need to be shaved before your laser hair removal session.
- Please protect you skin from the sun!
- A sunburn-like sensation is normal for 2-5 hours after an IPL procedure. Cold compresses or ice can be applied to ease any discomfort.
- Avoid very hot water in showers or baths for 2 days as your skin may be more temperature sensitive than normal.
- Do not exfoliate for 1 week post-treatment
- Do use the aftercare skin products advised by your therapist or doctor as your skin may be more sensitive.
- Do not pick blisters or skin crusting as this may lead to scarring
- If you have any questions or concerns, please call the practice
Is your skin suitable for IPL treatment?
As a general rule, the lighter the skin, the more suitable for IPL treatment. The table below classifies skin according to melanin content and the skin’s reaction to the sun to determine how suitable your skin it for IPL.
|Skin Type||Classification||Colour||Indication for IPL|
|I||Always burns easily and never tans||Fair||Best skin for IPL treatment|
|II||Burns easily and tans minimally||Fair||Good skin for IPL treatment|
|III||Sometimes burns and tans gradually||Fair to medium||Good skin for IPL treatment|
|IV||Burns minimally and always tans||Medium||Acceptable skin for IPL treatment|
|V+||Rarely burns, naturally dark skin||Dark+||Not suitable for IPL treatment|
IPL to remove vascular lesions or diffuse redness achieves the best results when the vessels are progressively destroyed without damaging the surrounding skin. The way to achieve such a result is with 3-4 treatments performed at weekly intervals with the best result seen after the last treatment.
IPL for photo-rejuvenation stimulates the production of collagen, resulting in firmer, smoother and clearer skin following a course of treatment.
IPL to treat benign pigmented lesions require between 1 and 3 treatments performed once all darkened cells have shed – between 7-28 days. At each treatment visible improvements are made with an end result of 70-90% pigmentation reduction to be expected. To prolong the results patients should follow the recommended skin care routine strictly, including daily sun protection.
|Region||Time between sessions|
|Face||2 – 4 weeks|
|Neck &/or Décolletage||4 – 5 weeks|
|Body||4 – 5 weeks|
Expected Hair Reduction
IPL hair removal treats hair at anagen; 1 of the 3 growth phases. During anagen the hair is growing and actively divides cells in the hair follicle.
Because hair is in different stages at any given time, laser hair removal must be performed in stages with a certain time span between treatments to receive the best results.
No IPL system is capable of achieving 100% hair removal. You can expect a 70-80% reduction in hair and the remaining hairs to be lighter and finer. The following is to be used as a guide only:
|Hair Colour||Skin Colour||Estimated number of IPL sessions|
|Dark – Medium coarse hair||I, II, III||6 – 8 sessions|
|Dark – Medium fine hair||I, II, III||6 – 8 sessions|
|Dark – Medium coarse hair||IV||8 – 10 sessions|
|Dark – Medium fine hair||IV||8 – 10 sessions|
|Light / Grey/ Red hair||Any skin colour||IPL is not effective|
Time span between treatments
The duration of hair in the anagen phase is unique to each individual and will differ depending on the region of the body. The length of time hair spends in anagen is the determining factor on the ideal time between IPL sessions.
|Region||Time between sessions|
|Face||4 – 6 weeks|
|Body||8 – 12 weeks|
After laser hair removal
- For 2-4 weeks after a treatment the hair will appear to grow slowly. This is not new growth but is the treated hair being pushed out of the follicle and will fall out. Hair that doesn’t fall out at this stage was either too fine, too light, too deep or untreated.
- Following hair falling out you can expect a hair-free period for 3-6 weeks.
- The percentage of new growth (of hair from follicles not in anagen at the time of treatment) will decrease with each session.
- Between IPL treatments, new growth can be shaved but not waxed or tweezed.
Home Care Products to use for the following 3 – 5 days
Avoiding the use of exfoliating products for 3-5 days after treatment and applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily is important. We recommend the following regime:
- Mild soap or liquid body cleanser
- After sun cream/gel or un fragranced moisturiser
- SPF 30+ or 50+ UVA UVB
Hair Reduction (yellow hand piece)
|Area||Time Minutes||Cost per session|
|Lower leg (knee to ankle)||60||350|
|Upper leg (knee to bikini)||60||400|
|Bikini line (side only)||15||100|
|G string bikini||30||150|
|Brazilian (or all off)||30||200|
|Lower arms (including hands)||30||280|
|Eyebrow (centre only)||15||50|
|Chin (including under the jaw)||15||100|
|Men’s full back, chest & stomach||90||1000|
|Men’s back or chest & stomach||45||600|
|Men’s half back||30||400|
|Men’s front or rear neck||15||250|
|Men’s full beard||30||450|
IPL Photo-rejuvenation (green hand piece)
|Area||Time Minutes||Cost per session|
|Face & Neck||45||600|
|Neck & Décolletage||30||500|
|Full face, neck & décolleté||60||700|
|Test Patch (within 3 days of treatment)||15||complimentary|
Buy 3 sessions of the same area and get the fourth free.
If I am interested, what now?
Your first step is an initial consultation with Dr Oates. You do not need a GPs referral for this consultation. Or you can have a complimentary consultation with one of our Dermal Therapists or Nurses.
You may wish to speak with one of our qualified Dermal Therapists or Nurse prior to seeing Dr Oates. During this free consultation, a Dermal Therapist/Nurse can discuss both surgical and non-surgical options to treat your cosmetic concern(s).