Wednesday, 7 August 2013

My IPL hair removal experience

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I wanted to start a series sharing my experiences of various beauty treatments I've had, because there have been many.

After writing about my results using the No!No! device I asked if you would like to know about my experience of IPL. I've had IPL therapy on my underarms for about 4 years. This may sound like a lot but really it's only because some years I only had one appointment  — down to laziness on my part.
How it works
IPL, or intense pulsed light, works on the same principles as lasers in that light energy is absorbed into particular target cells with colour (chromophores) in the skin. This basically means the greater the contrast of colour between your skin and hair the better the treatment will work. The light energy is converted to heat energy, which causes damage to the specific target area. The difference between a IPL and lasers is that IPL delivers many wavelengths in each pulse of light instead of just one.

Generally IPL covers a larger surface area, so the treatment time is that much quicker, it usually takes about 10 minutes each session (for both underarms).

The treatment
The treatment hurts, I've heard it described as a rubber band type pain, but I think it's worse than that, and I say this as someone with a reasonably high pain threshold. The shock of the light pulse isn't what hurts but more the burning sensation after.

I have been burnt once or twice but luckily the burn was not too severe and didn't scar. Since then I've made a point of asking my therapist to apply ice to the area directly after the treatment and leaving it there for as long as I can bare. This provides immediate relief and I don't experience any sore feeling after the treatment, which would happen without.

All that said, I have been pleased with the treatment, my hair grows slowly and is much weaker and lighter than it once was. If I wanted to I could go out without even shaving the remaining hair and I doubt anyone would notice….not that I do that, but it’s an option.

The price
I paid £60 per treatment initially (ouch right?) and after 5 sessions this was reduced to £30, I know the price varies hugely between salons so it is just a case of doing some research and maybe even a little haggling too. I’ve had less than 10 sessions in total and with a few more I know I would be underarm hair free!

My best bit of advice is to find a therapist you trust and that displays their training certificate. Also make sure they are willing to listen to what you want and be aware of how you react to the treatment, I think it is always a positive when a therapist makes notes of the machine settings used with each treatment so that this can be adjusted to give you the best results.

I would love to continue with IPL on my legs and bikini line but cost is the only thing stopping me. If you have had IPL or laser, let me know of your experience. Or if you could get any one area of hair removal or free what area would you choose?
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