What is it? Does it hurt? How long does it take? I have all of your IPL questions answered for you below…
If you follow me on Snapchat (@missmonbon if you don’t!), you would probably be aware that I have been putting myself through IPL permanent hair removal with SABR Skin for the last few months, to remove the hair on my legs, underarms and bikini. Permanent hair removal had long been on my to-do list, but until now, I had just never got around to doing it. Now that prices have dropped and it is becoming more of a common practice, I have finally started my journey to smooth, hair-free skin! So far, I have had a lot of people asking about the process, so I thought I would break it all down right here…
WHAT IS IPL?
IPL stands for ‘intense pulsed light’. It is a technology that can be used for many different cosmetic treatments including photo-rejuvenation, acne treatment and permanent hair removal. IPL, in a nutshell, is a pulse of high intensity light that is filtered (to remove certain wavelengths of light and harmful UV rays) to target specific cells in hair and skin, heating them to a point where they are destroyed and reabsorbed by the body. Remember when you used to use a magnifying glass to focus sun light on a piece of paper and burn it? Well, IPL is basically a far more sophisticated, less harmful version of this.
HOW LONG DOES IPL TAKE?
The sessions themselves are over in a jiffy. Your underarms can be done in around 5 minutes, and legs take about 30. When I go in to SABR Skin get my legs, underarms and bikini done, I am in and out in around 30-45 minutes, so you can quite literally zap away all of your unwanted hair in your lunch hour. However, the entire process of the permanent hair removal obviously takes a little longer than your one 30 minute session.
Everyone is different when it comes to IPL, so it is hard to say how long it will take until you are completely hair free. Most people will need 4-6 sessions to be completely hair free, but sometimes – depending on how dark your hair is against your skin, and what stage of growth your hair is in when you go in for your appointment – you may only need a handful of sessions, or you may need more. If you use the SABR Skin body scrub before your sessions, you increase the light’s ability to reach the hair follicle, therefore increasing the effectiveness of each session, and reducing the final number of sessions that you will require.
DOES IT HURT?
I have a mixed response to this question…
The first session I went in for, the therapist had the machine on one of the lower levels, and it honestly just felt like something a little bit hot touched me momentarily, with zero lingering pain. The following sessions that I went in for, the therapists had the machine up as high as it would go, and I won’t lie to you, that hurt. There are some spots that just feel like a flick from an elastic band, but there are definitely spots that make you flinch and grit your teeth every time that light goes off. I guess the best thing is that the intensity of the pulse is adjustable, so if you can’t grit your teeth and bear it, you can ask to have the intensity lowered to something you can bear. Keep in mind that the more intense the light, the quicker the results!
WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT YOUR HAIR IN BETWEEN SESSIONS?
2-3 days before your first session, you are expected to shave the treatment areas so that there is 2-3mm regrowth to zap. As you go through your treatment, you are allowed to continue shaving (the laser works best on 2-3mm hair) to keep what remains at bay, however you are not allowed to wax the hair to remove it. As the treatment is based on destroying the hair follicle, playing around with it with waxing is not advised. So if you were a waxer, you best go out and get yourself a razor before you start on your IPL journey!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Obviously, this varies from salon to salon, and from area to area. AS a rough guide, underarms are $110.00 a session at SABR, and your lower legs around $360.00 a session (remembering you may need somewhere between 4-6 sessions). While getting your Brazilian lasered isn’t as cheap as a Brazilian wax, the permanency of the procedure makes it a far cheaper exercise in the long run.
I am not quite through my length of IPL yet, so I still have a bit of hair here and there. After having been to see the team at SABR Skin four times now, I have noticed quite a difference in the amount of hair that I have remaining, and how often I feel that I need to shave (about once a week now as opposed to every second or third day). Once I have completed the full length of my treatment, the result should be permanent – so I can throw away my razor for good! In saying that, there is the possibility that I will need to go in for some touch up sessions as hair grows in weird and wonderful ways, and some of my dormant follicles may actually start growing again.