Cosmetic Surgery Tips

IPL Laser for Hair Color

If you’re looking for the most convenient and effective way to get hair color, IPL laser is your best bet. Ipl laser uses a laser to target pigment in the hair follicle and remove it, so it can be replaced with new pigment. This process is called “photothermolysis.” The result is a subtle change in your natural hair color, which can be maintained over time if you continue to visit the salon for touch-ups.

The procedure itself takes about 45 minutes, and there is no need for any special preparation before or after treatment. It is painless and does not even require anesthesia during your session. You will only feel a little heat from the laser as it works its magic on your scalp. After treatment, your scalp will be slightly pink for a few hours until it returns to its normal coloration. This level of sensitivity should not interfere with everyday activities or work commitments but may cause some discomfort if you have sensitive skin or have recently shaved off your hair (as this would increase sensitivity).

Laser hair removal has gained a lot of popularity in the past decade. It’s true, laser hair removal can be significantly better than other forms of hair removal because it targets melanin and removes the root cause of unwanted hair. This means you can have a long term solution for your unwanted hair. Read on to learn more on at home ipl for blonde hair/best ipl for red hair.

Grey Hair, White & Blonde Hair Colors and IPL Hair Removal

New Laser for White Hair

Are IPL Devices Effective on Grey Hair, White & Blonde Hair?

Ageing, that inevitable part of life that results in the oft-dreaded grey hair. But whether you own your grey hair, or dye it –it won’t matter when it comes to some methods of hair removal. Whether you are removing hair from your back, legs, under arms, face, or head, a hair removal option exists that will rid you of any and all unwanted hair.

For those rocking grey, white, or pale blonde hair you’ve likely come across in your research on hair removal methods that IPL and laser hair removal works best on fair skin with dark hair. While in the past you may have had dark hair on fair skin, as your body ages you’re noticing that your laser treatments may not be as effective as they have been in the past.

Luckily, as you’ve been ageing so has at at home hair removal technology and now some IPL devices can remove grey hair as easily as they once removed dark hair, with some caveats.

In this post you’ll come to understand different ways to remove grey hairs, why IPL and laser hair removal previously didn’t have a good record for removing lighter hairs, and what has changed with some products to enable IPL devices to work on some grey hair the way it does on dark hair, and when it won’t work.

Methods for Removing White/Grey Hair

For most methods of hair removal, the hair color and skin tone are irrelevant to the method chosen. Whether you are shaving, waxing, or using depilatory creams there are products available to remove all kinds of hair for all kinds of people.

For laser hair removal and IPL hair removal technology, they have traditionally worked best, and had fewer risks for people with light skin tones and dark hair color. Even if someone did try those two methods on their grey, white, or blonde hair, they would have found the results less than satisfactory. The reason laser hair removal and IPL hair removal do not work well as a hair removal system for lighter hair is because of the way the technology works.

How Laser and IPL Hair Removal Technology Works

Laser and IPL hair removal technologies are quite similar in the science they use for hair removal. Both technologies use light energy which damages the sacs within the skin that produce hairs. Both slow hair growth significantly over time, but never completely or permanently remove hair. This isn’t because they don’t work, but because of the way our hair grows in cycles – learn more about this in our hair removal resource center.

The key difference between the two technologies is the light source that they use to emit the heat that ends up removing the hair. Lasers use a stronger light source, which focuses on a very small area, and the light used doesn’t spread out the further it travels. IPL hair removal technology, which stands for intense pulsed light, uses a broad-spectrum, visible light to heat up the hair follicles and slow their growth over time.

Understanding Hair Color

To understand why grey, white, and blonde hairs are more difficult to remove you need to first understand how hair color is determined.

Hair color is made up of pigments, which are natural materials that change the color of transmitted and reflected light. Hair color specifically is made up of two pigments: light (phaeomelanin) and dark (eumelanin). The combination of these two pigments is what results in the wide array of hair colors we see.

Light hair contains less pigment than dark hair and white and grey hair is a result of the loss of pigment in hair.

Why Light Hair Colors are more Difficult to Remove with Laser/IPL hair removal technology

The key reason that grey, white, and light blonde hair are difficult to remove with laser and IPL hair removal technology is because of the method. As explained above, both use light energy to heat the hair, causing damage to the hair follicle that slows hair growth over time.

Also explained above is that hair color is determined by the amount of pigment in the hair. Less pigment results in lighter hair and more pigment results in darker hair.

Heat naturally heats up dark colors better. Think of summer clothing – during the summer wearing light colors such as yellow and white help keep you cooler as they are natural reflect the light. However, when you wear dark colors, like black, they absorb and retain the heat from the sun. This is essentially how laser and IPL hair removal devices work. Dark hair absorbs more of the heat, getting hotter and transferring that to the hair follicle causing more damage and thus being more effective at slowing and stopping the hair growth. Light hair, on the other hand, rarely absorbs enough of the heat to effectively damage the hair follicle enough to stop the hair growth.

Additionally, Silk’n devices look for this pigmentation before they flash, if the device can’t tell the difference between your skin and the hair, or if your skin is too dark, it simply won’t work.

This is why IPL and laser hair removal are more effective on dark hair on light skin.

Effective Hair Removal for Hair with Some Pigment

Hair color and skin tone are important factors when it comes to determining which hair removal method is right for you. Knowing the science behind why your hair color is the way it is, is an important factor in understanding which technology will be the most effective.

Knowing that IPL hair removal technology focuses on heating up the hair follicle and that lighter hair does not absorb heat as well as dark hair explains why historically IPL and laser treatments haven’t worked as well with light hair colors.

While white hair doesn’t work with IPL hair removal technology some salt and pepper hair colours still might. As long as there is enough pigment in the hair, IPL treatments can be just as successful at removing the unwanted salt and pepper hair. This is equally true for people who have light blonde hair with enough brown pigment that the light can target.

Each person is unique so it’s best to try out the device to see how effective the treatments are on your hair colour. Additionally, each Silk’n hair removal product includes a chart called the Fitzpatrick scale that shows skin colour to hair colour effectiveness and compatibility so you can find the product that will work best for your skin and hair colour.

Hair Removal Options for White and Blonde Hair

So what are the options for hair removal if you have white or white blonde hair? Unfortunately, for now, the options remain the same time-tested hair removal methods of the past: shaving, waxing, depilatory creams, threading and epilator hair removal devices.

While they obviously don’t work as well as IPL hair removal, they are still relatively effective options for removing unwanted body hair of any color, on any skin tone.

And just as IPL hair removal technology has evolved to work on grey hair, in the future an at home technology might be developed to meet your lighter hair removal needs. Until then, existing methods are still an option.

Learn More About Hair Removal

Hopefully this post has provided insight into what hair removal devices will work with your hair color. If you’d like to learn more about how hair grows, and how Silk’n hair removal devices work, be sure to visit our Hair Removal section of the Resource Center.

Best IPL For Red Hair

Elōs IPL hair removal is the only one clincally proven effective on blonde and red hair. That’s because it doesn’t rely solely on dark melanin pigment in your hairs.

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and get an at-home hair removal kit. If you’re a redhead, there are some things you should know before you choose your next at-home hair removal method.

I personally love IPL (intense pulsed light) for my fair skin and red hair. It works well for me and I don’t have to worry about burning or damaging my skin with it. But everyone’s different — some people prefer laser hair removal treatments, which are also safe on redheads.

There are also other methods of removing unwanted body hair that work well for redheads, like waxing or shaving. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s best to do some research before deciding which one is right for you.

There are a lot of products out there that promise to lighten your hair, but it’s important to know which ones will actually work for you.

L-ascorbic acid is a form of vitamin C that’s used in many topical beauty products. Ascorbic acid has been shown to lighten hair when delivered directly to the hair shaft (like in a serum), or applied to the scalp (like in a toner).

Ascorbic acid works by breaking down melanin, which is found in the hair follicle and gives your locks their color. When ascorbic acid reacts with melanin, it creates hydrogen peroxide — a known whitener.

However, using ascorbic acid on its own can be tricky because it can be harsh on your scalp, causing irritation and dryness. If you’re going to use this ingredient at home, make sure you pair it with another gentler one like argan oil or coconut oil.

We have put together some of the best IPL lasers for red hair. These are professional grade machines that are designed to be used in salons and medical spas.

Laser works by targeting pigment in the hair follicle (which is why it doesn’t work well on white/gray hair). The melanin in your skin absorbs the light from the laser, which heats up the follicle enough to damage it and stop it from producing hair. Since redheads have less melanin than other people, they are more prone to scarring when treated with lasers. There are some lasers that can target more than just pigment, but these lasers aren’t approved for use in the US yet so you won’t find them at any reputable clinics (and it’s illegal for me as an esthetician to buy them or use them).

One option is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), which uses light energy instead of heat energy like lasers do. This means there’s no heat involved and therefore less chance of scarring or burning/blistering your skin. However,

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is one of the top light-based therapy treatments that currently exist, and every day more people around the world find out about its benefits as they use it to remove their acne, broken capillaries, stretch marks, and much more. Yet, the procedure has not been fully rosy for everybody and it is not difficult to find reports of various people being unhappy about their treatment.

While IPL remains highly recommended, there are some side effects most people are unaware of before they begin the treatment. This leads to people coming out of the procedure with much worse skin than they had before they started, which nobody wants. To make sure that you don’t fall into the same traps as countless others, we will be discussing the potential impact of IPL on your skin, including whether it can give you burns, affect your skin texture, and much more.

Can IPL Ruin Your Skin?

While you may have read about countless dangers of IPL, the chances of your skin being damaged by IPL are very few. This mostly lies in the technology behind the procedure. IPL is non-invasive and non-ablative, which means that the light beams can target the lower layers of your skin without affecting the top layers. This makes the procedure highly safe, while also resulting in little downtime.

Essentially, if you take the right steps before getting your IPL, then you should only expect to come out on the other side of the treatment looking fresh and revitalized. Unfortunately, many people read about the potential benefits of IPL and jump into the procedure without doing much research, which is where things can start to go wrong.

While IPL is a fantastic procedure with marvellous benefits, it is not for everybody. There are certain skin tones that we suggest do not use an IPL treatment at any time, because it can easily lead to hyperpigmentation or discoloration. Additionally, IPL may not be the best solution for all issues, and you should speak to a skin therapist or licensed provider before you undergo the treatment.

Woman with the burns after IPL

Does IPL Change Skin Texture?

If you have any texture-related skin issues, then IPL is one of the top options to help solve this. During your treatments, the heat from the technology will help to destroy older or dead cells in the target area, which will then help to stimulate the growth of newer and healthier cells.

Naturally, these newer cells will be much firmer and richer in proteins such as elastin or collagen. So, after your IPL treatment, your skin will feel much firmer and supple. Additionally, any imperfections or issues in that problem area will be reduced or turn completely invisible. This will help to improve the level of your appearance, giving you a more youthful and vibrant look.

Will IPL Burn Marks Go Away?

While burns are extremely rare when you undergo an IPL treatment, they may still happen, and you should remain wary of this. In any case, if you do receive a burn from an IPL, don’t fret, it will generally go away over time and you should not expect any lasting effects.

However, you should still speak to your provider if you do notice any burn. This can be extremely helpful, especially if you still have more sessions in your treatment plan. Once your skin therapist is aware of the burn, they will give you the best tips on how to manage it, while also ensuring that the settings on the device are more suitable for your skin during the next session.

Can IPL Cause Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is one of the possible side effects of IPL and other light-based therapy treatments. However, this may depend on the type of procedure that you desire to use the IPL for. To ensure that this does not affect you, we suggest that you speak to your skin therapist about the dangers of hyperpigmentation on your skin before you begin your treatment.

Another factor that can lead to hyperpigmentation is your skin tone. As hyperpigmentation is caused by an excess production of melanin, those with dark tones are naturally at a higher risk. This is why we always recommend that you stay away from IPL if you have darker skin, as the chances of hyperpigmentation are extremely high.

If you have a medium skin tone and are unsure about the potential effects that the therapy may have, then you should speak to your provider about this. They will examine your skin and decide if the treatment is going to be safe for you.

What Are The Dangers Of IPL?

We have already discussed many of the risks associated with IPL, such as burning, hyperpigmentation, scarring, etc. Unfortunately, while many of these side effects can be avoided, many clients and providers do not take the necessary precautions before an IPL treatment, leading to several health risks and damage to the skin.

To ensure that you are not affected, you should make sure that you do the following before an IPL treatment:

       1. Follow the Instructions of Your Provider :

Before you begin your IPL procedure, your skin therapist will likely give you a set of instructions to follow. This can range from not shaving your hair immediately before a hair removal treatment to staying away from the sun for a given period. If you receive any of these instructions, you must follow them.

You should remember, any guidance that your skin therapist provides is for your care and will aid in stopping any side effects. So, if you are unable to follow them, we suggest that you speak to your provider about the possibility of rescheduling. Following these guidelines will also ensure that you see the maximum benefits of any treatment.

Smiling doctor in the clinic

       2. Enquire About The Training of Your Service Provider:

The therapist delivering your IPL must not only be well versed in using the technology but must also be able to understand the impact that the treatment will have on your skin. Such knowledge can be a key factor in stopping any side effects. However, because IPL can be extremely exciting, most people simply dive into the first hands offering them the treatment, regardless of their experience.

Lumenessa Banner Amazon

Before you begin your sessions, you should engage in a detailed conversation about IPL treatments with your provider. You should also try and discover the level of experience or training that they have in treating your condition. So, if you would like to use IPL for Rosacea, but a therapist does not have much training or experience in treating this, then we suggest that you seek another provider.

You must also ask your provider about the potential health risks of using IPL to treat the issue that you are facing. This will mean that you will not be thrown off by any side effects if they occur. Understanding the potential health risks will also allow you to weigh your options. So, if you are highly uncomfortable with burning and feel that it is not worth the risk, you may want to find other types of treatments.

        3. Speak to Your Provider About Your Current Medication:

IPL is likely not the first solution that you have sought out for your skin issue and you may already be on some form of medication. If this is the case, then we suggest that you speak to your provider about this before the treatment, especially if they make your skin more sensitive to light.

Such medication can easily lead to adverse effects, such as burning or scarring. However, if your skin therapist is aware of the medication, they can examine it and determine if it is safe to continue using during IPL. On the other hand, if you would like to continue the medication while on IPL, they can also adjust the intensity of the light to accommodate for its effects, which should help reduce the possibility of any health risks.

Medical bottles and medication pills

How Long Does It Take For Dark Spots To Fade After IPL?

IPL for dark spots is another highly popular use of the treatment, and one of the common questions we get is, “how quickly will my dark spots fade after IPL?” Fortunately, the process for treating dark spots is relatively quick and it shouldn’t take long before you begin to see good progress.

Generally, your dark spots should begin to fade within two weeks of your first session, though this will depend on various factors, such as how deeply the pigment is located. In any case, you should see huge gains after you complete your first full treatment and your skin should look much more uniform.

However, you should not expect your dark spots to completely fade after just one treatment. So, if you would like further progress, we suggest that you speak to your provider about the possibility of another treatment. You must remember, IPL is a gradual process, and you can only see continuous improvement if you stick to your treatment plan.

Best IPL Hair Removal For Blonde Hair

About home IPL & fair hair

Natural hair colours are either black, brown, blonde, red or white (this includes grey too).

Two types of melanin pigment in the hair follicle determine your hair colour. The pigments are eumelanin and pheomelanin.

Eumelanin is either black or brown. Lots of black eumelanin makes hair black and brown eumelanin makes it brown. There are many shades of dark hair and it’s the amount of these pigments in the hair which determines how dark it is. Eumelanin is also found in blonde and red hair colours but in much smaller quantities.

Black & brown strands of hair have black and brown eumelanin pigment, red hair has red pheomelanin, and blond hair has yellow pheomelanin. Most at-home devices need black and brown eumelanin to work, but some will work on fair hair. Find out the best home laser hair removal for blonde hair, red and grey too in Wearebodybeautiful’s guide.

The different types of melanin in your hair and follicles determines your hair colour.

Pheomelanin is either yellow or red. Unsurprisingly, it makes hair blonde or red. And there are loads of shades here too. Red colours include many variations of titian, copper, orange/ginger, red, and deep red. With more brown eumelanin in the mix, you also get light to dark auburn colours too.

Blonde hair shades contain yellow pheomelanin and some eumelanin. But, compared to dark hair, the levels of pigment are much lower overall. And the varied ratio of these pigments results in loads more shades from dark blonde to white blonde.

If there’s a higher ratio of eumelanin, you get cooler medium to dark blonde shades. Whereas a higher pheomelanin ratio makes shades of awrm golden blonde. And low levels of both make light to white blonde.

And of course, with both yellow and red pheomelanin, you get the rather beautiful and rare strawberry blonde colour. This golden blonde and red combo-colour has the highest overall amount of pheomelanin.

And finally, white hair has no pigment. It appears ‘colourless’ because the follicles have zero melanin pigments. Light reflecting off the hairs gives them a greyish to pure white colour. Greying comes with age, as cells in our hair follicles slow down and eventually stop producing any pigment.

White and grey hair has no melanin pigments, neither dark eumelanin or red/yellow pheomelanin. It has no pigment at all! Reflecting light off the hair makes it look grey or white. Find out the best home laser hair removal for grey hair, in Wearebodybeautiful’s guide.

Grey and white hair has no pigment at all.

The hair on your head can also differ from the colour of your body hair, and your body hair can be a different colour in one body area versus another. So, for laser and IPL, check the colour of the hairs in the body areas you want to be smooth.

Why most laser & IPL won’t work on fair hair

Black or brown body hair with lots of black or brown eumelanin responds best to home laser and IPL hair reduction. That’s because the eumelanin absorbs the strong IPL and laser light energy, which then heats up and damages key areas of the hair follicle. After several sessions it slows and stops your hair growth.

Pheomelanin in blonde and red hair doesn’t absorb the light energy. So, IPL and laser won’t work on hair colours with mostly these pigments.

So, at-home brands use colour charts to help you understand which hair colours have enough eumelanin for their devices’ work on. Like this one, from Sensica:

IPL hair colour chart from Sensica showing the IPL works on light brown to dark black hair, but not on light blonde, red or white hair.

Hair colour chart example from Sensica – check your body hair colour against it

The charts typically show it works on colours black, dark brown, through to light brown and dark blonde (1 to 4 above). Colours it won’t work on are light blonde, red and grey/white (5 to 7).

Now, this is helpful if your body hair colour closely matches a swatch in the chart. However, there are oodles more colours and colour combinations for blonde and red hair not shown in these charts. And some may have enough eumelanin in them to work.

And that’s why some brands also say in their FAQs, whilst black and dark brown hair have the most melanin and respond best to treatment, it can work on other hair shades and colours too if they have enough eumelanin in them. So, this includes light browns, many blonde shades and auburn hair too.

Red hair samples from left to right: strawberry blond hair has both yellow and red pheomelanin with just a teeny bit of eumelanin. Red hair has mostly red pheomelanin and just a teeny bit of eumelanin. Auburn hair has both eumelanin and red pheomelanin. There's more red pheomelanin than eumelanin, but there may be enough in the hair for IPL to work.

Red hair shades: IPL hair removal could work on auburn hair shades.

Shade of golden/warm blond hair; from very light blond, golden, dirty, honey, and dark blonde shades. They have more yellow pheomelanin than eumelanin. The darker shades and some lighter shades may have enough eumelanin for the IPL hair removal to work.

Golden blonde hair shades: IPL hair removal  works on mid and dark blonde, and could work on light blonde (but not white blonde).

Shades of ash / sandy blond hair; from very light blond, light ash, mid blondes to dark ash blonde shades. They have more eumelanin than yellow pheomelanin. The darker shades have enough, and some lighter shades may have enough eumelanin for the IPL hair removal to work.

Ash blonde hair shades: IPL hair removal  works on mid ash and dark ash blonde, and could work on light ash blonde (but not white blonde).

A few years ago, Smoothskin suggested you could try their powerful Muse model on light blonde hair because it may have enough eumelanin pigment (but not on white blonde hairs). However, it could take a few to several extra sessions to match the results on darker hair. They suggested their worldwide 90-day money back guarantee allows you to try it for a few months, and return it if you don’t see results.

The skin and hair colour chart from the Smoothskin.com webiste, with '?' next to light blonde hair colour and skin tones I to V. Plus a note you can try it risk-free on blonde hair."

An old chart from the Smoothskin website suggesting try it on light blonde body hairs with the 90 day money back guarantee.

Smoothskin no longer promote this with the latest powerful Pure and Pure Fit model (which has the same IPL power range), but there’s nothing stopping you trying this on blonde or red toned body hair. If you’re prepared to put the effort in you could see results within the money back guarantee period. However, be prepared you may not, and it’s unlikely to work on white blonde or pure red body hair.

So, if you want a sure choice before you put in the effort, check out the next section.

How some do work on fair hair colours

For blonde, red, grey and white hairs you can choose IPL devices with a special patented technology called Elōs.

You’ll find this tech in Illuminage and Me IPL devices. It’s clinically proven to work on fair hairs. 

Let’s look at how it works now.

How Elōs technology works on fair hairs

Elōs IPL hair removal is the only one clincally proven effective on blonde and red hair. That’s because it doesn’t rely solely on dark melanin pigment in your hairs.

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GREY HAIRS TOO?

White/grey hair participants weren’t part of the Elōs clinical test. However, because it’s not reliant on dark pigment in the hairs, it will work in exactly the same way on white and grey body hairs.

It works in two ways:

A hair in the follicle

#1 Pluck or wax

You must pluck, wax or epilate your fair hairs immediately before your session. This way, the IPL energy targets the small, dark blood droplets left behind in your follicles after they’re pulled out. The blood droplets absorb the IPL energy and convert to heat, thus damaging the follicles.

Radio Frequency electrial current icon

#2 Radio Frequency current

Elōs also sends a type of electric current called Radio Frequency (RF) into your skin. The IPL and RF work even better together to heat your hair follicles, even if they lack dark eumelanin pigment.

Radio Frequency works like this…

RF is a painless electric current sent through your skin from one electrode to the other. The spacing of the RF electrodes is just right to send the RF current down to your hair root depth. You can’t feel it at all. But as it flows through your skin, the RF encounters resistance and this creates heat in your tissues.

The 2 silver RF electrode bars on the top and bottom of the flash window send the RF current into your skin, creating a circuit from one electrrode to the other.

Two silver RF electrodes either side of the flash window create the RF circuit through your skin

And it works so well with the IPL because warmer structures are less resistant to electrical current. This means, as each IPL flash heats the blood droplet and the surrounding follicle, it draws the RF current towards it. This then concentrates around the follicle, right where it’s needed. So, your follicles get an extra dose of heat from the RF. This gradually damages areas of the hair follicle and slows your hair growth.

This is how Elōs works without relying on melanin-rich hair. And explains why it should also work on white/grey hair too.

The Iluminage Touch device comes with an epilator attachment so you can flash and pluck in one go. Yikes.

Pluck, wax or epilate immediately before your sessions. The Iluminage Touch has an epilator attachement for dual pluck-and-zap action (ouchie).

However, because the blood droplets are so small, it’s less efficient versus on eumelanin-rich dark hair. Therefore, you must zap each treatment area 2 or 3 times per session to ensure the follicles get a big enough dose of heat. And, during the start-up stage, you must wax/epilate/pluck and zap hairs several times to be effective.

So, prepare yourself you’ll need over double the recommended sessions. There’s more on this next.

What results will I see & when?

All home laser and IPL devices recommend a start-up treatment schedule, followed by less frequent maintenance sessions.

The below table shows the advertised treatment schedules for the proven Elōs devices. Remember, you must pluck, wax or epilate immediately before sessions with the Elōs Iluminage & Me devices.

At-home device# of start-up sessionsFrequencyTop-ups
Elōs technology in:
Iluminage Precise Touch
Me Chic
Iluminage Touch
Me Sleek
7 on dark hair
(shaved before zapping)

14+ for fair hair
(plucked before zapping)
WeeklyAs needed.

NOTE: Iluminage shares for the first 6 or 7 weeks, you can use their devices 2 to 3 times per week on your face.

It will take several weeks of sessions before you’ll notice slower and softer growing, or fewer hairs. So be prepared for the extra time and commitment!

👉 Although not published anywhere today, Iluminage previously shared with me that you’ll need at least double the start-up sessions (14+) to see results on fair hair with the Elōs devices.

So, keep going until you’re happy. Then switch to top-ups. On dark hair, brands suggest these monthly. However, you may need them more frequently, every couple of weeks or so. As you notice any growth, pluck your hairs and zap them.

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A TIP…

With the Iluminage & Me Elōs devices your reduction in growth rate and hair thickness is not as obvious as it is on shaved hairs. Therefore, it may seem like it’s not working. But stick at it!

Results range from total smoothness, to slower growing, much finer hair that’s easier and less time consuming to manage. And remember, inactive hair follicles can wake-up and sprout new hairs. So, you’ll need to shave/pluck and zap them as they appear!

How to stay safe

The Elōs devices are safe for ALL skin tones.

Before you start your sessions, read the user guide carefully. There’s an important list of warnings and reasons you may be unsuitable to use home laser and IPL devices. Such contraindications include pregnancy, breastfeeding, diabetes, medical & skin conditions, photosensitising medications, chemical peels and more. Stay safe and learn more about home laser & IPL safety and contraindications here.

Female figure outline

Female

Women can use these devices from the cheekbones down.

Oultine of a male upper body

Male

Men can use them from the neck and down.

❌ Don’t use them on the male beard or face!

Please don't...

DON’T…

DON’T use these devices on your genitals, anus, nipples, or on birthmarks, moles, or large freckles.

You must also do a skin sensitivity test in each treatment area. Follow the instructions in the user guide, and wait the specified time. If you have no skin reactions, proceed with your treatment. Do another skin sensitivity test after sun exposure or recent tanning.

⏱ Sensitivity test duration: 30 mins

You must also protect your skin from sun exposure before and after your sessions. Sunlight and tanning increase your skin’s sensitivity and so the risk of skin reactions and side effects.

❌ Not safe on recently tanned skin

☀️ Avoid the sun for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your sessions. Cover up or use SPF 30+

What do they feel like?

You’ll hear the cooling fan whir and a small pop or click with each IPL flash. The IPL flashes are bright but harmless when flush against your skin. You don’t need protective goggles. If you find the flashes irritating, wear sunglasses to help ease the glare.

The Elōs IPL intensity ranges from a low 2 to a medium 4J/cm. The flashes are gentler than with other IPL devices so the flashes feel warm. Start on low for your skin sensitivity test and move up to medium and high only if it’s comfortable.

The flashes can feel hotter on more sensitive areas of your body.  For me, it feels most intense on my thighs and ankles. Most brands liken this sensation to an elastic band snapping against the skin. It’s instantaneous, uncomfortable but bearable.

Based on the online feedback, you’re more likely to feel a sting if your skin is a darker tone. If this happens, just lower the intensity level a notch. Also, try starting with your face and more sensitive areas when the flash window area is cool.

Possible skin reactions & side effects

Hot, tingly, red, dry or itchy skin are all common skin reactions. They usually fade within 24 to 48 hours. Sooth them with ice, a cool face cloth, cooling water sprays, Aloe Vera gel or a non-scented moisturiser. If they don’t fade, go see your doctor.

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SUN SAFETY

Remember, you must avoid the sun, cover-up or wear a sunscreen SPF30+ to protect your skin from skin reactions and side effects.

Side effects are rare but can occur. They include temporary or permanent patches of light or dark skin, burns, excessive redness and swelling around your hair follicles, blisters, and scarring. In these cases, consult your doctor.

Another extremely rare side effect on the face and neck is called Paradoxical Hypertrichosis. Paradoxical Hypertrichosis is increased hair growth in the treatment areas. The reasons behind it are unknown but it’s thought to occur more frequently in users of Mediterranean descent, and/or with underlying medical conditions such as hirsutism.

There are several skin care treatment these days that promise younger smoother skin and a few that are touted as the “Gold Standard” by Doctors for achieving the desired results. Even many that are approved by the FDA as being safe and effective from the IPL (intense pulsed light) Photo Facial to fillers such as Botox cosmetic should be entered into with discretion. I know many women and men that have used these treatments with great results, but some have had lesser talked about adverse reactions that have only worsened the problems. I personally have experienced the latter and want to share my experiences with you as a cautionary tale for anyone considering this treatment. This is the first in a series about my own issues with the IPL laser treatments.

The IPL photo facial can treat a variety of skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation (brown spots), sun damage, broken capillaries, spider veins, and facial redness. An IPL is non-ablative and emits a high intensity broad band blast of light at very high energy levels through a hand-held device. It delivers to the deeper part of the dermis while the epidermis layer or surface layer is untouched. The treatment takes on average 20-30 minutes with no real downtime. Some IPLs have cooling devices, but it can still be uncomfortable, or even painful depending on your tolerance level. The average treatment costs $300-$500

I had tried treatments in 2006 with good results so in 2010 just prior to closing my skin care spa I noticed a few new areas of hyperpigmentation showing up on my face. I realized that these areas were probably popping up due to a peel that I had recently had at the Dermatologists office. At the time they weren’t dire just annoying, especially because I took such good care of my skin … But within a month or so they were looking a bit darker so I decide to have a few IPL (intense -pulsed light) photo facials to see if it would help. I asked a few professionals I knew for referrals but ultimately I returned to the very reputable establishment that had previously treated me, if for no other reason than familiarity and because I liked the owner.

As the first zap of the laser ( much like the feeling of a rubber band) touched down on my skin over and over I remembered how intense the feeling was, but I was comforted by the provider that this would help encourage the collagen production in my skin and zap those dark patches.

Example Results for IPL Photo Facial

Example of the average results from an IPL

When the treatment was finished all I could think about was the hot feeling in my face as if I had received a major sunburn, but I was eager for the results that I would experience as my face healed. I was given a cooling ice pack to help combat the hot feeling in my face and scheduled my next appointment knowing that for the IPL treatments to be really successful I would need a series of three to five. Once at home I examined the state of my very warm skin…. This time the dark patches had “crisped” up ( my nickname for the scab like patches that appear after your spots have been zapped) with such intensity that I was a tad taken aback. I now realize the I was probably burned in the first treatment and applying cooling packs for more than just a few minutes was not a good idea.

Within days the spots naturally exfoliated off and my skin looked great… But within a week or two there seemed to be a whole new crop of pigmentation on my face that the laser brought forth. I mentioned this in detail at my second appointment and was told in a cheerful but dismissive manner that the laser was doing its job and not to worry. Afterwards the “crisped” areas seemed to multiply… And this time I was really concerned. Being in the skin care business I know enough about the subject to know the potential dangers and I know how pigmentation can be exacerbated.

Photo of me post treatment with lots of dark spots where there weren’t any before

Within a week post treatment once I realized that I now had even more pigmentation I called the office to voice my concerns and questions – Was the thermal heat from the laser creating more pigmentation and multiplying the original problem? Or could it be that the temperature might have been a bit too much for me? Unfortunately my concerns were eschewed away and even responded to in a manner as if to say that I was being silly… Remember, I have been in the skin care business for a while myself so I am not your average consumer. I was again told more treatments were necessary to achieve the desired result.

Even after a discussion with one of the owners, I was told that my concerns of the thermal heat from the laser causing dermal scarring was something “they had never even heard of”. At this point there was a cautionary voice in the back of my mind, a red light if you will that I should have listened to, but because I didn’t want my face to look like this forever I reconsidered, rationalizing that if they said one more treatment was really going to help then I would give it a try just one more time. I should have known better.

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