IPL Hair Removal in Singapore: Suitability, Side Effects, Misconceptions

Hair removal

In this day and age, the concept of hair removal no longer boils down to shaving only. Thanks to technological advances, we can now use techniques that leave us with smooth skin for more than just a day. But even sugaring, epilating and waxing have descended the list of the most popular depilating methods to make room for the ones that offer permanent results. This post will focus on IPL hair removal in Singapore and its highs and lows. We will take you through the basics, clear a few misconceptions, and answer the most burning questions. Take a look.

What Is IPL Hair Removal?

IPL Removal device

IPL is a hair reduction and skin rejuvenation method used by medical and cosmetic practitioners in Singapore. The full name reads intense pulsed light and, contrary to popular belief, the treatment is not a laser, although there are some similarities. The technology relies on a handheld flashgun which employs high concentrations of non-coherent light, roughly similar to 400 to 1,200nm.

The objective is to damage unwanted hair at its root in a relatively pain-free way and thus ensure smooth skin control. Most devices come with a cooling gel that soothes the affected area, making it all more comfortable for patients.

Apart from hair removal, IPL also comes in handy against sun damage, pigmentation and thread veins. It may help to reduce eczema outbursts as well. Overall, it acts as a minimally invasive facial treatment that has both therapeutic and aesthetic purposes.

IPL vs Lasers

laser hair removal

The difference between lasers and IPL is that the former manipulation operates a single wavelength to heat the cells, hence it can treat one condition at a time. Whereas the latter is pure broad-spectrum light which not only allows the use of interchangeable filters but also addresses more skin concerns at once. One of the downsides is that the light is dispersed in different directions and can damage surrounding tissues in the process.

In comparison, with laser hair removal treatments, only small controlled zaps go into the skin. They single out the skin pigments in the hair follicle, leaving the rest of the tissue alone.

Areas Where IPL Works

Here are the body parts that can benefit from IPL:

  • Legs
  • Armpits
  • Bikini area
  • Face

Number of Treatments You Need

When it comes to reducing hair growth, IPL will be most effective if you do 8 to 10 appointments overall. It is important to let some time in between to make sure there is new hair that can be destroyed. The frequency of application varies between two and eight weeks. The dermatologist will tell you how often you should have these sessions during your treatment.

If you want to use intense pulse light for other skin problems, the timeframes vary as well. When it comes to acne, you can schedule your sessions fortnightly or even weekly. For skin rejuvenation, you had better space the hair removal services four weeks apart. You will generally need 4-6 manipulations to get things going.

Side Effects

After the procedure, your skin will likely turn pink and there is nothing wrong with that. You may feel like you have gotten a sunburn - the treated area will swell and start peeling but that won’t last more than a few days. As a whole, if you get any reactions, they will be minor and easy to handle.

Suitable Candidates

The procedure works best for people with fair skin whose hairs are dark. The reason for this is self-explanatory but let’s clarify for the sake of staying informed. The light emitted from the device will be generally attracted by any dark spots on the body. If your hairs are bright, the gadget will miss them.

Misconceptions About Intense Pulse Light

Below, we leave you with a few fallacies surrounding IPL services.

#1 Completion of a package leads to permanent hair removal

IPL does deliver long-term results if you stick to it till the end. But don’t get the assumption that your body hair will be gone over the next few weeks. Or that you will never have to deal with it ever again. Yes, you can achieve a 90% reduction when you finish your treatment plan, which will probably require at least 10 sessions. However, this will not remove the hair once and for all. Instead, you will begin to notice that the remaining strand growth is slower, lighter and finer, therefore much easier to maintain.

#2 Darker skin is not suitable for the treatment

Truth is, it is possible to adjust the device so that it releases longer wavelengths and smaller amount of energy. This helps to prevent burns all the while targeting the right areas. However, less power generally means you need to undergo more sessions for an effective result than you would have to if you had a lighter skin tone.

That being said, you also should be aware that you will be more vulnerable to hyperpigmentation following the procedure. To make sure the treatment will produce the coveted outcome, consider doing a test spot first before you focus on larger areas.

#3 You can stop your treatment halfway through

Many people are tempted to call off their remaining appointments once they notice no hair growth in the targeted area. This usually happens on the 5/6th session when there're few more to go. Frankly said, when you check the cost of permanent hair removal online, you can understand why they would do that. Yet, that is no way to go. Think about antibiotics. Do you stop taking them on the third day just because you feel better? No. You continue your course of treatment as prompted by your doctor, regardless. Guess what - the same logic applies to IPL hair removal. That is, if you want it to work, you have to trust that it takes a certain amount of time to get it right.

Frequently Asked Questions

young woman with question marks.

And now, let’s answer some of the burning questions regarding IPL.

How long does one round last?

About 30 minutes.

Is there something I should consider before undergoing the treatment?

Yes, actually. It is not recommended to drink alcohol before the manipulation, as this will increase the pain factor and compromise healing at that. Another thing to keep in mind, specifically for women, is that doing IPL while on your period is a no-no. Your skin will be more sensitive as a result of which the procedure will feel painful. Last but not least, you should know that antibiotics can make you more responsive to light. Ensure you have none in your system when going to that hair removal clinic.

Is it painful?

More often than not, it causes slight discomfort. Due to the cooling technology, you should not experience any pain, but do keep in mind that these things vary widely from person to person. Some patients have reported that the procedure did not go that well for them, while others claim they went completely pain-free throughout the whole process.

Why is IPL hair removal better than waxing?

For one, intense pulsed light hair removal is permanent. With just five sessions, you will wave goodbye to 70% of your fur. Increase that number to 10 and it might be just enough to get everything. On the other hand, waxing needs repeated visits to your cosmetician. The same hair will keep on growing back over and over again. What is more, IPL does not cause ingrown hair.

Can I undergo IPL without shaving?

It is recommended to shave some of the hair beforehand, but don’t remove all of it. You will need to have a good deal of strands left to attract the light from the machine. Otherwise, it may not be effective. It is also important to hydrate your skin well 48 hours prior to having the procedure, as this will ward off irritation.

Is it possible for men to get rid of facial hair with the help of IPL?

man undergoing facial hair removal procedure

This is a serious step to take and you should give it a solid consideration before you walk into a hair removal salon. Men who cannot grow any facial hair are occasionally perceived as adolescents. We assume most adults don’t really want to evoke that image in women.

Remember IPL is nothing like shaving, which only cuts the hair on the surface and keeps the core intact. Light technology generally works to destroy the follicle so that there is nothing left to grow. You need to be sure you understand the consequences of this act before you buy a package.

All things considered, intense pulsed light might be able to work on your face but there are some better alternatives.

What should I do after the session?

Stay out of the sun, get a soothing cream onto the treated area, and avoid heat for 24 hours. That involves saunas, hot showers, and just about anything you can think of. Just follow your technician’s advice and you will be fine.

Do at-home IPL kits work the same?

It's true that the market now offers IPL devices for home use. However, because they are designed to be used by non-professionals, there are strict rules regarding their safety. As a result, they are much less powerful than the machines a clinic has. You can imagine that the effects will not be merely as fascinating as those you'd get from your medical visits. It doesn't hurt to try if you want. But just remember that this might not be your best spent money.

Ubiqi is a content site started by a group of professionals who work closely with the medical scene to help make factual, health information in Singapore easily accessible through the online space. All content published on Ubiqi is written either by doctors themselves or by professionals very close to the medical scene.