Methods such as IPL hair removal, laser and electroepilation promise permanent hair removal. It is true? We tell you what will keep your skin soft for longer.
We don’t like passing the blade! It takes time, and before we know it, hair grows back the next day. Even with traditional wax, hair comes out again in a week … and it hurts!
It is not surprising that many women look for a permanent hair removal method . Laser, IPL hair removal and electroepilation can be the final solution to our problem. These methods fight unwanted hair by eliminating growth cells at the root with an external stimulus. But … what is the best method to keep your legs and bikini line hairless ? Are there methods that really ensure hair-free skin forever?
We show you the most common hair removal methods, including the chances of success and the risks.
1. Laser: light energy against annoying hairs
Unwanted hair growth has long been successfully fought with lasers. The method is based on a physical trick: the pulse of light from the laser sent to the skin reaches the root of the hair through the hair.
Here the energy is converted into heat and this heat is what destroys the hair-producing cells. The crucial point here is that the laser energy is absorbed by the intensity of the hair color , melanin.
The darker the hair and its root, the better because the laser needs contrasts. Therefore, dark hair on fair skin is ideal for laser treatment.
This is how laser hair removal works
Centimeter by centimeter, the laser is guided over the shaved skin and emits precisely dosed pulses of light. The intensity of the energy and the duration of the pulse are previously adjusted to the type of hair and skin of the patient.
During the treatment, the hair “burns” at the root and you notice a slight spasm. After treatment, small “bumps” can be seen where the hair roots meet. This sounds very unpleasant, but it is an indication that the treatment was successful.
2. Permanent hair removal with IPL: hair removal by intense pulsed light
The IPL procedure has been listed in recent years as an alternative method to laser hair removal. Fewer risks, more effectiveness, that’s how they normally define this method. This belief that it is a more harmless variant is created by the standardization of home use of IPL devices, available on the market for a long time.
But not everyone seems to be able to do a hair removal at home using IPL. Among the general opinions, we see some users who complain that the hair has not disappeared despite its regular use. Also, permanent hair removal with ILP devices is not 100% painless.© Philips
Basically, IPL and laser initially have a very similar effect: light energy is sent to the roots of the hair where it is converted into heat.
The difference: IPL devices emit a large spectrum of wavelengths. This corresponds to a xenon lamp, as we know it from cars.
The problem: The large radiation spectrum means that not only the roots of the hair, but also the blood vessels of the skin or tattoos , for example, can be exposed to the high energy of light. However, in principle, nothing should be exposed to light that is not the goal of treatment.
Lasers and IPL: who are they suitable for?
A fundamental problem of hair removal by light, no matter if it is with laser or IPL, the light impulses only affect the active hair roots; resting hair roots (which, after all, account for 60-70 percent) are not completely eliminated. Several treatments are needed at six to ten week intervals to capture all hairs in their active state.
Also, only a very small area of skin is reached by the laser pulse. This makes the treatment expensive and time consuming. As a general rule, laser treatment on the face will take six to eight treatments, the body eight to ten, and the lower legs eight to twelve.
Laser or IPL hair removal is therefore a lengthy process that must be well planned. Especially since UV light should be avoided for four weeks before and after treatment.
Who are these hair removal methods not suitable for?
Light blonde, gray or white hair is not suitable for laser hair removal, especially if you decide to do it by IPL. The broad spectrum of radiation of the devices prevents light from accurately differentiating melanin from skin and hair and preventing it from attacking skin pigments.
What are the risks of laser hair removal?
With a laser treatment such as IPL, burns cannot be ruled out . They are produced when the energy of the rays has been dosed too high. By cooling the skin during treatment and good after-care, side effects can disappear, thus preventing the appearance of scars.
How long does hairless skin last?
Anyone who spends a lot of money on an IPL or laser treatment wants a long-lasting result. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that no more hair will appear after the sessions. It usually takes you several years to get the full treatment, and after six or eight years, some hairs grow back.
These lagging hairs are hair roots that were previously dormant and now come back. Therefore, it is more correct to talk about hair reduction rather than permanent hair removal. It is not about promising the patient permanently hairless skin, but about reducing hair growth as much as possible.© iStock
Laser or IPL: which is better?
With IPL, the same results can be achieved as with laser if used correctly. However, the problem is that IPL devices are much more difficult to adapt to the skin and hair type of the patient, which reduces the chances of successful treatment and, at the same time, increases the risk of pigmentation disorders.
However, the biggest risk of IPL hair removal lies in the loophole. The person doing the treatment must be a doctor and this is not always the case. Theoretically, anyone could buy a device, pose as a hair removal specialist, and open a beauty salon without having the proper training. Thus, the risk of treatment is high.
Home Use IPL Devices: Practical or Ineffective?
IPL devices for home use have long been available to anyone who wants to do hair removal at home. But if you are doing the treatment in a center and you interrupt it for using the home appliance, you may not get the result you want.
The reason is because the laser power is limited. To avoid burns, the appliances do not have as much energy as the professionals and, as a result, the heat is not enough to finish the hair root. Hair is destroyed above the growth cells, falls out, and grows back later.
3. Electroepilation: electric hair removal
Although lasers and IPL have taken electroepilation into the background, it is still a more than proven method of permanent hair removal.
Here’s how the procedure works: a fine probe is inserted into the hair root and a precisely metered electric shock destroys it, such that the hair can be removed with tweezers. As each hair is treated individually, this procedure is time consuming and is only suitable for very small areas of the skin.
Is the effect of electroepilation reliable?
The chances of success are good, as long as the hair root is completely destroyed. However, this cannot be 100% guaranteed. The problem: If the pulse of the current was not enough to destroy it, it can irritate the hair root. The consequence: hair grows back stronger than before.© iStock
What are the disadvantages of electroepilation treatment?
The biggest disadvantage of electroepilation is that it is very painful and the amount of hair removed depends on the type of current used. In addition, scars may remain, so it is totally discouraged for a facial treatment.
There are almost painless variants in which the hair is only grasped with special tweezers that carry current. Scars are impossible with this method, but hair can grow back to bristle from irritation to the hair root. The biggest disadvantage of this hair removal method is that it is time consuming, as each hair root has to be treated individually.
4. Hair removal with an epilator machine: is permanent hair removal possible?
A well-known method of removing hair is with the traditional electric razor. Unlike IPL or laser treatment, hair is not completely and permanently removed. However, by waxing regularly, the hairs grow back more slowly and sparsely. Modern epilators are particularly thorough and remove hair including the root. This can keep your legs smooth for up to four weeks.