When considering IPL, it is important to be cautious and to consider whether it is the right option for hair removal for you.  Factors to consider include price and your personal budget, time investment or the number of sessions required, your individual pain threshold, existing skin conditions, and availability of qualified technicians in your area.

As a starting point, there are a number of conditions and bodily locations that IPL is not recommended for.

It is not recommended for:

  • Pregnant women
  • People with grey, red or blonde hair, as it is often less effective with these lighter hair colors
  • People with the skin condition vitiligo, and/or especially sensitive skin, as it can cause aggravation, discomfort or rashes
  • Skin close to the eye area.

In addition to this, there are other considerations that should be taken into account:

  • Multiple sessions are needed to establish and maintain the results. As the treatment can be expensive (depending on your provider, and relative to your budget), this may affect your ability to continue with the process through to completion. This is something to consider before undertaking any hair removal option.
  • Although relatively expensive, IPL treatments are typically more affordable in comparison to laser hair removal.
  • Throughout the process of IPL treatment, you are required to continue shaving the area to ensure that there is a hair root always available for IPL application. It is not recommended that you wax, pluck, or epilate the area, as this will make effective treatment impossible. This may be inconvenient, as you must continually shave between sessions.
  • While it cannot remove tattoos, it should not be used over tattoos that you currently have and would like to keep. 
  • People with darker skin can develop hyperpigmentation as a result of IPL, so it is recommended that you talk with your technician or dermatologist prior to treatment if this applies to you.
  • Treatment can be mildly uncomfortable, or, if your technician is not as trained or knowledgeable, decidedly painful. Your ability to withstand discomfort is therefore relevant.
  • People with darker skin should be more cautious of where they choose to have a treatment done, as the melanin in darker skin competes with that in the hair, potentially reducing the effectiveness and limiting results. This means darker-skinned clients should consider researching technicians to find someone well trained, who will know how to correctly select settings to achieve the desired result. 

As with any dermatological process or hair removal treatment, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of each option, as well as the individual providers and treatment centers. Doing so will help to ensure that your final selection of venue and technician leads to effective, permanent results.

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