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How to Use IPL at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you're wondering how to use IPL at home, you've come to the right place. IPL hair removal is a popular method for removing unwanted hair from your body. It provides a longer-lasting result than shaving or waxing. According to the most recent Plastic Surgery Statistics Report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons [ASPS], it was one of the top five most popular minimally invasive procedures in 2020. 

Even though IPL treatments are usually done at med spas, there are now a lot of IPL devices that can be used at home. This gives people who like to do things on their own another option.

So, yeah… Home is the new spa! Discover how to use IPL at home so you can achieve your skin goals without leaving the comfort of your own home. But before we start, it's important to understand the basics of IPL hair removal.

What is IPL hair removal and how does it work?

IPL stands for “intense pulsed light,” which is the type of scattered light emitted by these handheld tools. The technology is similar to, but not the same as, laser hair removal. IPL devices are technically not lasers because lasers emit only a single wavelength of light, whereas IPL emits multiple wavelengths.

In addition to reducing hair production, IPL can be used to treat brown spots, broken capillaries, and redness. Different filters are used to limit the light coming from the device so that the treatment can be tailored to your needs.

Related Article: 5 Best IPL Hair Removal at Home to Give Quick Results 2023

What's the difference between at-home IPL and in-salon laser hair removal devices?

How to Use IPL at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide 1

At-home IPL devices use the same technology as professionals but at lower energies. In-salon IPL devices are obviously going to be much more powerful and used by trained professionals, whereas at-home IPL devices are going to be much weaker in terms of the amount of energy that they're able to deliver, so the results won't be as good. But a small study on at-home IPL devices that was published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology showed that the hair was 78% reduced after one month and 72% reduced after three months. The participants used an at-home device every two weeks for six weeks.

What are the benefits of using IPL at home?

You can use at-home IPL devices on any part of your body where hair grows, whether it's to treat your facial hair or to give yourself a full Brazilian. Using an IPL at home can also save you money compared to in-salon treatments. 

At-home IPL devices typically cost between $150 and several hundred dollars, whereas a single session of professional IPL costs around $412. Most people require six to twelve IPL treatments to achieve optimal results.

Then there's the issue of convenience. If you normally shave, switching to an IPL at home will save you time. Koizuma recommends using its nanolaser once a week for four to twelve weeks, then once every one to two months for maintenance. Taking control of the situation also eliminates any awkwardness you may feel about having a stranger treat your bikini area while you try to make small talk.


How to use IPL at home

How to Use IPL at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide (2)

To do an at-home IPL treatment, you will need:

  • An IPL device that is specifically designed for at-home use. Be sure to read the instructions that come with your device carefully before use.
  • Clean, dry skin with no oils on it.
  • An area of your house that can be darkened, such as a bathroom with the lights turned off.

Here is a step-by-step guide for how to use IPL at home:

Step 1: Using your preferred hair removal method, remove all visible hair from the area you want to treat. Make certain that no hair remains above the skin's surface. This will help the light from the IPL device better target the hair follicles. After that, pat your skin dry.

Step 2: Plug in your IPL device and select the appropriate setting for your skin type and hair color. If you are unsure of what settings to use, consult the instructions that came with your device. 

Step 3: To begin treating an area, hold the device against your skin and press the button to release a pulse of light. Move the device slowly and steadily over the whole treatment area until you have covered it all. Make sure the nozzle makes full contact with the skin to make sure the product works right.

Step 4: Repeat this process for each area you wish to treat. 

Step 5: Once you have finished treating all desired areas, unplug your IPL device and apply a soothing lotion or cream to your skin if needed.

Step 6: It is important to clean the nozzle after each use.

Step 7: Treat once a week for 4 to 12 weeks during the first phase of your treatment. Then, adapt to your requirements (i.e., every 1-2 months).


FAQs related to at-home IPL treatments

What should we know before using an IPL at home?

In order for IPL to work, our hair must be in the 'growth' phase and attached to the follicle. Before using an at-home IPL machine, you should shave all visible hair in the area you want to treat. This is done so that the hair is not exposed but remains within the follicle.

Is IPL treatment effective for everyone?

Unfortunately, IPL isn't suitable for everyone because every skin type is different, and as a result, results can vary. 

People with fair skin and dark hair typically achieve the best results. Because dark hair contains more melanin than fair hair, it is easier to treat. Unfortunately, because gray or white hair lacks melanin, it cannot be treated with IPL.

Why am I still growing hair after IPL?

The hair will appear to grow (albeit slowly) for 2–4 weeks before falling out; this is the treated hair pushing out of the follicle, not new growth. Any hair that does not fall out was either too fine, too light, too deeply rooted, or was not properly treated.

Is IPL effective if you haven't shaved?

Shaving your legs before an IPL hair removal treatment allows the light beam to focus on the hair root. You'll need to shave less and less as your IPL treatments progress. Because the hair follicles will be empty, you will notice fewer ingrown hairs and less 'shadow' stubble.

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