IPL Hair Removal (at home) - Does It Actually Work?
You don't have to be a professional to do IPL hair removal, and you may not have known this, but people often refer to Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology as "at-home laser hair removal" (laser and IPL are not the same).
A surprising fact is that many individuals decide to use professional laser hair removal services without thinking it through.
You may save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by utilizing an at-home "IPL laser hair removal handset" before, during, and after laser hair removal procedures.
Here's one of our most recent customers submitted before and after results using the KetchBeauty V4.1 IPL handset:
Let's walk through everything you need to know about IPL hair removal and how you can permanently reduce unwanted facial and body hair at home while saving a fortune.
What is IPL Hair Removal? Is IPL & Laser Hair Removal The Same?
IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light. IPL hair removal is a process that uses a broad-spectrum light source that pulsates and delivers heat to the hair follicle.
IPL devices emit a range of wavelengths (or colors) rather than just one wavelength, like laser hair removal.
IPL machines treat multiple aesthetic concerns such as sunspots, broken capillaries, and rosacea.
Still, IPL for hair removal has become increasingly popular because of its effectiveness and affordability.
How Does IPL Work? - For Facial and Body Hair Removal
IPL technology works by emitting pulses of broad-spectrum light that target the pigment in your hair shaft and follicle.
The heat from the light energy is absorbed by the pigment found in dark hair follicles and damages the hair root (bulb), which prevents future hair growth.
IPL hair removal devices are commonly referred to as "at-home laser hair removal" because they use light energy to remove and suppress hair growth.
However, IPL is different from laser hair removal, which uses a single wavelength of light to target the melanin in the hair shaft.
How Does It Feel To Use IPL? Does IPL Hurt?
IPL hair removal can be painful, though most people report feeling no pain or only mild discomfort during the treatment.
This is dependent on your skin structure and pain tolerance levels; therefore, it varies from person to person.
Many people have compared it to being stung with a fingernail, while others say it's like being stung with a rubber band.
IPL is less unpleasant than laser hair removal. However, the level of discomfort you experience will vary depending on your body type.
IPL can also be adjusted to a lower intensity to alleviate discomfort. On the other hand, lowering the intensity levels will impact the effectiveness of the results.
As a result, it's essentially a trade-off between what your pain threshold can handle and what you want to do in a given time limit.
Is IPL Hair Removal Permanent?
IPL treatments are not considered permanent, but they are long-lasting. Like laser hair removal, hair can still grow back eventually, but it's difficult to say how long it will take.
It's best to think of IPL hair removal as semi-permanent (or at least long-term permanent hair reduction)
Most people will see a significant reduction in hair regrowth after 3-5 sessions, but you will likely need maintenance treatments every so often to keep the results.
Electrolysis is the way if you're looking for a 100% guaranteed permanent hair removal solution.
Electrolysis (which is unpleasant, intrusive, and costly) is the only type of hair removal classed as permanent hair removal. Even professional laser treatments are only considered permanent hair reduction.
How Much Does IPL Hair Removal Cost?
The cost of IPL treatments can vary depending on the area you are treating and the clinic you visit.
IPL for hair removal usually costs more than sunspots or rosacea treatments.
Professional IPL hair removal treatments cost between $200-$500 per session, but you can purchase your own IPL device for between $150-$600.
Here at KetchBeauty, we have two different IPL handsets, costing $150 and $280.
These devices cost less than the average professional laser and IPL hair removal.
On top of that, our IPLs come equipped with 10+ years of usage, a 90-day money-back guarantee, and a 1-year warranty.
What Are The Benefits of Using An IPL Device For Hair Removal?
IPL is safe for all skin types
IPL is a long-lasting treatment
IPL is less expensive than laser hair removal
IPL is suitable for almost any part of the body
IPL treatments are relatively, if not entirely painless.
IPL removes the need for various hair removal methods, such as shaving, waxing, lotions, and so on, saving you approximately $3,000 per year in total costs.
You may do IPL treatments in the comfort of your own home (privacy).
IPL hair removal devices are fast and easy to use
There is almost zero downtime after treatment
IPL treatments compound overtime time and keep hair growth suppressed.
Are IPL Hair Removal Devices Safe?
IPL treatments have been used for over 20 years to treat a variety of aesthetic concerns, and there is a wealth of research to support its safety and efficacy.
IPL treatments are non-invasive and cause minimal discomfort.
Most people report feeling a mild, brief warmth during the treatment but no pain.
IPL treatments have very few side effects and are considered one of the safest light therapy cosmetic procedures currently available.
The most common side effect is temporary redness and swelling around the hair follicle, which usually disappears within a few hours.
In addition, here at KetchBeauty, our IPLs have a built-in skin sensor that prevents the device from operating in the open. The skin sensor function ensures that users cannot physically flash the light in their eyes.
Who Can And Can't Receive IPL Treatments?
IPL treatments are not suitable for everyone. IPL is only effective on people with dark facial or body hair and light skin tones.
People with blonde, red, or grey hair will not experience any benefits with IPL hair removal unless they can color each hair follicle black because there is no pigment in the hair shaft for the IPL device to target.
Moreover, the device can not distinguish between the pigment in the hair follicle and the pigment in the skin.
IPL is also not recommended for people with very dark skin tones
Using an IPL on skin type VI can lead to burns, blistering, and in worst cases, permanent pigmentation changes. If you have darker skin like myself and still want to use an IPL, always start at the lower level.
You should avoid IPL hair removal device treatments if:
You have tattoos on the target area
You have very dark skin
You have red, white, blonde, or white facial hair and body hair.
You are pregnant
You are breastfeeding
You are taking Accutane
You have a history of skin cancer
You have a history of seizures
You are using blood thinners
You have an open wound or sore on the treatment area
What Are The Side Effects of Using A IPL Hair Removal Device?
The most common side effects of IPL hair removal are a mild sunburn sensation and temporary redness and swelling. These side effects usually resolve within a few hours or days if they occur.
It's also important to note that these side effects can be prevented by not going into the sun or taking a hot shower immediately before or after IPL treatments.
More severe side effects are rare but can include blistering, scarring, and changes in skin pigmentation. These side effects are more likely to occur if you have a very dark skin tone or if the IPL device is not used correctly.
You may consult with your dermatologist, esthetician or directly reach out to us at Contact@ketchbeauty.com.
If you're interested in IPL hair removal but have concerns about whether it's suitable for you, don't hesitate to contact us.
Should You Shave Before IPL?
It would be best to shave before undergoing laser hair removal or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy.
Waxing, epilation, or plucking are not recommended since IPL hair removal requires the hair to be intact with the hair follicle to be effective.
Because the light emitted from the handset can only reach the hair follicle with the help of the hair in place, removing the entire hair follicle will render the treatment unsuccessful!
Before you get your IPL treatment, here are some shaving recommendations to keep in mind.
These shaving guidelines apply to legs, arms, underarms, facial hair, and pubic hair.
- Exfoliate the skin. If ingrown hairs are a problem for you, consider exfoliating your skin during or after a warm shower.
Dirt and dead skin cells can clog your hair follicles, trapping your hair beneath the skin.
Use a light exfoliation free of harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubs to avoid irritation.
- Shave wet, not dry, as this may irritate your skin and result in razor burns!
Shave only while your skin is moisturized or moist.
Shaving after a shower is ideal since your skin is clear of excess oil and dead skin cells that might clog your razor blade.
A warm shower will soften the hair and skin, allowing for a more comfortable shaving session.
A smooth shave with lubricants and cream can reduce the frequency of repeatedly shaving the same area, reducing the risk of razor burn or irritation on the skin.
Gentle shaving creams or gels are recommended.
How to Use Your IPL Handset For Hair Removal
IPL hair removal can be used on almost any body part (for external use only).
It is critical to do a patch test before using IPL in a new location. Its purpose is to determine whether or not you are hypersensitive (allergic) to the light produced by the device, especially if you have sensitive skin.
To Use an IPL Hair Removal Device:
Take a photo of the target areas before treatment
Plug your device into a power source
Select your intensity level
Place the window/flash port of the IPL on the target area
Click the flash button
Move to the next area
You should feel a warm sensation as the light is absorbed into the hair follicles. After treatment, apply a cooling gel or lotion to soothe the skin if needed.
IPL treatments are typically spaced 4-6 weeks apart in a professional, but this can vary depending on the area being treated and your individual hair growth.
Given that at-home IPL hair removal devices are less concentrated than laser or professional IPL hair removal treatments, you should use your device once a week (for the first 12 weeks) to get the best and most rapid results possible.
IPL Device Treatment Modes.
Most IPL device comes with two treatment modes.
The manual mode is just that; you manually click the button for each flash, while the automatic flash mode allows for an almost hands-free treatment.
Each IPL device is different, so it won't do you any good to leave instructions on accessing these functions here.
However, if you are using or planning to use either of our IPL handsets, then you can find more information on how to use the devices here: KetchBeauty IPL user manual
Where Can IPL Devices Be Used?
Neck and beard
Pubic hair removal (see the guide: Can I use IPL on my pubic area)
What Can I Do With My IPL Handset?
Unwanted hair removal
Ingrown hair treatment and prevention
Body hair removal
Facial hair removal
Bikini hair removal
Brazilian hair removal
Permanent hair reduction
What to Expect After IPL Hair Removal?
After IPL hair removal, the treated area may be red and swollen, which is normal and should resolve within a few hours or days.
You may also see some darkening of the treated hair follicle (the "IPL rebound effect"), which is normal and will disappear.
Your hair shafts will begin to shed from its following over the weeks to follow.
Related article: How to Speed up Shedding After Laser Hair Removal.
How Long to See Results From IPL Hair Removal Treatment?
It's essential to keep in mind that IPL treatments are not permanent, and you will need to continue treatment until your desired outcome is reached.
You may need anywhere from 3-8 treatments to see results depending on the area being treated, your hair-growth cycle, and your skin tone.
Usually, by week 12, you'll notice the most significant difference in the remaining hair, and you can compare where you are then vs. your before photo.
What If IPL Does Not Work For You?
Before purchasing an IPL, ensure that the brand you choose offers a money-back guarantee just in case you don't get results.
You can be an ideal candidate to benefit from IPL technology and still have no response to the light therapy.
This is why here at KetchBeauty, we offer a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty at no extra cost.
The last thing we want is people buying our products and not getting the result they are after.
Here are some results from "at home laser hair removal before and after" from multiple users who has tried hair removal using the KetchBeauty IPL.
How Long Do IPL Hair Removal Results Last?
The results of IPL hair removal are not permanent. However, you can expect a significant reduction in hair growth that can last for months or even years.
To maintain your results, you will need to continue treatment as needed. Results can vary from person to person but is typically every 4-6 weeks for the face and every 6-8 weeks for other areas.
In conclusion: Is IPL Hair Removal Worth It?
IPL therapy is a safe and effective way to reduce hair growth. It's suitable for full body use on almost any part of the body (for external use only) and typically requires 3-8 treatments for noticeable results.
Although results are not permanent, they can last for months or years with regular treatment.
IPL is a fantastic choice for people seeking a safe and long-lasting alternative to hair removal procedures such as shaving, waxing, and tweezing.
It is also a good option for those who have previously undergone laser hair removal and do not want to pay for touch-up treatments.
On the other hand, at home IPL hair removal is an excellent pre-laser hair removal therapy because it will lower your general hair density, allowing fewer laser hair removal sessions than you would otherwise need.
If you have any questions about IPL or want to know if it's the proper treatment, please consult with a qualified dermatologist or esthetician or reach out to us at Contact@ketchbeauty.com
You can also find a list of FAQs about laser and IPL hair removal below.