IPL Hair Reduction – 3 reasons why Winter is the best time to start
Not that having an ample covering of fuzz is anything to be ashamed of; I personally love running my fingers through my husband’s hair... his back is so soft (eek!). But if the never-ending quest for a hair-free body has got you going ‘bananas’ (see what I did there… wink) then IPL Hair Reduction is your express pass to summer-ready, beach-loving, fuss-free smoothness… and winter is the best time to start.
IPL is the acronym for Intense Pulsed Light. In terms of hair removal, it’s not the new kid on the block anymore… in fact, IPL Hair Reduction has been successfully used to remove unwanted hair since the mid ’90s. The technology is complicated, but the physical process is far more straightforward than you might think. Basically, flashes of light are used to selectively target unwanted hair by creating heat within the hair follicle. This heat neuters the follicle making it inactive and unable to grow any new hairs. That’s it; in a nutshell… or banana skin… whichever way you swing.
Results are permanent, although it will take a series of treatments to get there and you may not get 100% clearance. This is because individual factors like skin colour, hair colour, hair thickness and hormonal influences play a part in how far you will get with results. But, I think most would agree that permanent reduction of any amount is a win. And, with IPL prices now the same as, if not less than what you would pay for your monthly waxing sesh… why wouldn’t you move to a more permanent solution?
Now... as fantastic as it is, IPL is no monkey business. There are a few rules that must be followed for ultimate success, and as I mentioned earlier, Winter is the perfect time to start.
1: You must avoid sun exposure to the treatment area.
The whole magic of IPL Hair reduction is that it’s able to specifically target and destroy hair follicles without affecting the surrounding skin. The process relies on the black or dark pigment (colour) in the hair itself to absorb the light and convert it into heat so that it only destroys the hair follicle it sits in, without having enough time to heat much of the skin and tissue surrounding the hair. The problem is that the skin itself also has pigment that can absorb the light from the IPL, so it’s important that this pigment is not stimulated by sun exposure prior to or during your course of IPL treatments.
The darker your skin is; whether you are naturally a darker skin type or you are temporarily darker due to sun exposure or even fake tans, the more difficult it is to get safe but effective results. So starting your IPL during the winter months means that not only will your skin colour most likely be at its palest, but you’ll also be covering up with long sleeves, pants or trackie dacks, blocking any sun exposure to the treatment and eliminating the possibility of colour changes to the skin between treatments.
2: You can not wax or pluck between treatments.
Since IPL relies on the hair sitting in the hair follicle to absorb the light, waxing and tweezing prior to and in-between, your IPL treatments is a big no-no. If the hair follicle is empty, the IPL process will have absolutely no effect. In other words… you need to be as hairy as possible before each visit. You can shave if you wish but if you haven’t touched a razor since that first awkward attempt in your teens then having your IPL sessions during the winter months means you can secretly let it all grow.
3: You need at least 4 - 6 sessions.
Results are progressive. Your hair grows in cycles… the Anagen, Catagen and Telogen/Exogen stages… which roughly translates to the growing, regression, resting and shedding stages. At any one given time, you will have groups of hairs in each of these stages, growing, dying and shedding with some period of resting in between.
IPL best targets hairs in the Anagen (growing) phase. That’s because the hair bulb is still attached to the blood vessels that make it grow. When the light from the IPL is absorbed by the hair… it will heat up all the way down to the bulb and the blood vessels; coagulating the follicle (basically cooking it like a boiled egg) and rendering it inactive… good-bye hair!
The hairs in the Catagen (regression) stage are already on their way out… they have begun to shrink and have detached themselves from the blood vessels in preparation for shedding. Although you can get some results from IPL treatment at this stage of hair growth, it is not ideal because the heat will not reach all the way down to the base and coagulate the blood vessels. This means potentially another hair could grow or you may get finer hair growing back.
The last stage is a complete non-event. No amount of IPL will treat a follicle in the Telogen (resting & shedding) stage. Plus some follicles can lay dormant for months before suddenly deciding to sprout again.
So what all this means is that each time you have IPL you are only successfully treating around 30% of all your hair follicles that have actively growing hairs. What you actually see as your treatments progress is a reduction of hair quantity and hair thickness with each visit until there is minimal or no hair left. This typically takes a minimum of 4-6 treatments which fits perfectly over our winter season when spaced at 4-week intervals although you may need a few extra sessions to clean up any stragglers that were taking a rest during the winter months.
How do you start with IPL?
Your first step to starting IPL Hair Reduction treatments is to visit one of our Brazilian Beauty clinics for an IPL Assessment & Patch testing. The assessment will take you through a series of questions that will help to identify any possible concerns or contraindications for your treatment. If you get the green light on paper, then you will be taken through for a patch test to further confirm your suitability and to identify and select the best treatment settings for your procedure.
To book online, jump on the Brazilian Beauty website or contact your nearest clinic directly.