In this article you will find some facts you need to know about IPL and laser hair removal. We are representing all about their side effects and necessary tips and precautions.
We all know that maintaining your beauty is something costly and difficult, and needs a great and persistent effort. One important factor that helps you maintain your beauty is removing unwanted facial and body hair.
Excessive hair growth at unwanted areas on the body such as face has always been an issue. The traditional methods of hair removal, such as waxing, shaving, plucking, etc., are painful and time-consuming. They do not constitute a permanent fix.
So, Laser & Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) permanent hair removal showed up because of the persistent need.
So, when you do laser or IPL at renowned clinics, simply you can tell the operator your history with diseases, skin condition, and skin and hair types then ask them if this process is suitable or not.
An expert operator should answer all your questions and make take your precautions. But, when using at-home hair removal device, who should you ask and how should you know he is trustable and make sure the process is safe?
Here comes our turn. Our experts in hair-removal-devices.com provided you with all what you need to know before proceeding to this procedure. Please keep reading carefully.
Table Of Contents
- 1 About Laser & IPL Permanent Hair Removal
- 2 Famous Facts About Laser & IPL Hair Removal Treatments
- 3 What You Do Not Know About Laser & IPL Hair Removal
- 4 Does Light-Based Hair Removal Cause Cancer?
- 5 Laser & IPL Side Effects
- 6 Precautions & What Not To Do
- 7 Tips & What To Do
- 8 Diseases That Inhibit The Use Of Laser And IPL
- 9 Drugs That Inhibit The Use Of Laser And IPL
- 10 Conclusion
About Laser & IPL Permanent Hair Removal
Laser and IPL treatments have been serving beauty and skin care world for decades, which gained a worldwide popularity. However, such ways of clinical hair removal are too expensive. So, science has developed these technologies to be safely used at home.
Not so long until the world found at-home permanent hair removal devices using safe IPL and laser energies. Moreover, those devices are not too expensive and can give guaranteed and permanent results. Consequently, they replaced the traditional methods and earned everyone’s applause.
Anyway, IPL is the most commonly used method in the hair removal world nowadays. It is the most effective for a variety of skin tones. There are devices developed to treat all skin tones from light blond to brownish black. They can also treat all hair colors from light blond to black. Nevertheless, red, grey and white hair colors (which contain less melanin and other pigmentation) need more treatments than the rest.
Just a snap of finger and unwanted hair disappears, and your skin gets smoother and hair-free for the longest time.
So, this was the bright side of permanent hair removal using IPL and laser technologies. Until now, everything is going ok and you probably have changed your mind after you was against those methods.
On the other side, the use of laser and IPL hair removal devices improperly is very dangerous. It might cause much harm to your tender epidermis. In fact, such a wrong use might burn your skin badly. Therefore, before using any Laser or IPL hair removal device of any kind, you should know everything about its side effects and how to avoid them.
Famous Facts About Laser & IPL Hair Removal Treatments
Now, we are displaying some facts about permanent hair removal devices. Some manufacturers may claim fancy results with their FDA-approved hair removal device. However, such claims should be discussed.
You May Not Be Completely Hair-Free
Some people think that Laser and IPL devices will help them get 100 percent hair free. It’s not truth. In fact, they might get a result of 60-94 percent, individual results varies depending on hair and skin types.
Moreover, the hair removal process depends more in the quality if the hair removal device. For instance, a device such as Remington iLIGHT IPL6750 gives up to 94% hair removal after 3 treatments. However, it’s not suitable for dark brown and brownish black skin types.
Actually, hairs that contain less melanin such as light blond, white or grey, and red may experience only 65%-70% hair reduction after over 8 treatments. The same goes for dark brown and brownish black skin tones. Darker skins may even experience some serious side effects.
The other probability works well, you can give your skin the smoothness and shine with up to 94% hair reduction. The hair even might re-grow finer and lighter than it was before. However, treatment sessions can be performed at its scheduled time.
Laser and IPL hair removal work by heating up hair follicles under treatment areas which can cause injury sometimes. Usually, side effects ranges from irritation to discoloration. However, improper use may cause serious side effects such as swelling or even some tiny blisters.
It is not advisable to scrub or rub the area in order to avoid any scarring.
Discoloration / Hyper or Hypo-pigmentation
After IPL or laser treatment, slightly darker or lighter spots may be clearly seen. In case you have dark skin, you might notice lighter spots (white spots) due to the treatment which is called hypopigmentation. This happens because of melanin depletion. If you have light skin, you will notice the opposite as you will notice darker spots which is called hyperpigmentation. This case happens when there is higher levels of melanin than normal. Yet, such a change in the skin is temporary and only lasts 24-48 hours.
In other words, this process is called discoloration. It happens when there is higher or lower amount of melanin in a particular area.
Photosensitivity / Sensitivity To Light
After each IPL hair removal session, your skin becomes photosensitive. So, experts advise to avoid prolonged and unprotected exposure to sunlight for at least two days after and before treatments. There are also some sources of heat other than the sun you are not allowed to be exposed to including steam baths and sauna for 24 hours. This also applies to intense workouts.
A Bit Painful
Almost all ladies always enquire whether Laser and IPL treatments can cause pain. The truthful answer is yes. However, the intensity of pain depends on the sensitivity of the area to be treated and the energy level used. It also varies from a person to another.
In case your skin gets irritated, you may feel a tingling sensation. It is advisable to set the device at the lowest level for a start then select the highest, comfortable level.
What You Do Not Know About Laser & IPL Hair Removal
The other side of those permanent hair removal methods is very important. So, hair-removal-devices team of experts made many researches to provide you with the information included.
Light-based hair removal technologies depend on heating up hair follicle to disable hair re-growth. The lights used in lasers and IPL are very effective and dangerous if used improperly.
Like I said before, laser or IPL cause photosensitivity, which in turn can cause skin burns if exposed to sunlight.
Moreover, they usually cause acne or swelling. Although these side effects rarely last for more than 2 days, but if you rub the swelling or blister it may cause permanent scar.
Does Light-Based Hair Removal Cause Cancer?
Without any introductions or explanations, the answer is NO, IPL and laser hair removal do not even trigger cancer. However, there are some cases where you must not use IPL or laser hair removal in. If some of these cases combined together, they may lead to some types of cancer!
According to Dr. Deborah Sarnoff, clinical professor of dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center and Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, lasers do not increase the chances of developing skin cancer; in fact, some lasers are useful in treating pre-cancerous lesions, thus reducing the risk of developing skin cancer.
However, if you asked me if lasers and IPL cause skin cancer, my answer would be no, but in definite situations, my answer is yes!
So, here is the problem, such a disease can be triggered by other diseases and skin conditions (light-based treatments are not first-hand) such as vascular diseases (by rate of %19). If a patient with vascular disease and s/he’s a heavy smoker as well, treatment using IPL and Laser will help in cancer incidence.
This means you are not susceptible to cancer unless you suffer precise diseases such as vascular diseases, eczema, asthma, etc. You’ll find more below.
Laser & IPL Side Effects
As mentioned before, the side effects of laser and IPL hair removal are normal and rarely last for 2-3 days. However, it’s important to identify them in order not to freak out when you happen to experience some of them.
Normal side effects which you may experience one or more of them include:
- Skin irritation
- Acne and blisters
- Swelling around the treated area
Then, there are very rare side effects which happen in extreme cases. The following side effects are not caused by light-based hair removal methods first-hand. They’re mainly triggered because of other diseases as the patient himself should have asked a doctor before using. These side effects include:
- Hyper/hypo-pigmentation (dark and white spots)
- Scares (only if swelling is rubbed)
- Burns (rarely because of improper use particularly on darker skins with high intensity level and not following instructions)
- Purpura (because of other skin diseases)
- Infection (because of other diseases)
- Cancer (because of other diseases)
Those side effects are very rare. They only happen when a person improperly IPL or laser while he/she should not.
It’s worth mentioning that almost all IPL and laser hair removal devices use an integrated safety system. This system usually consists of skin tone sensor and energy levels. So, the device will not work unless your skin type is suitable. You can also choose from several intensity levels in order to choose the one that makes you feel more comfortable and does not cause burns.
So, in what situations should you not IPL or laser? Keep reading below.
Precautions & What Not To Do
After displaying the normal and extreme cases of side effects, it’s time to tell you how to avoid them. First, I’m showing you things you MUST NOT do in order not to get one of those side effects.
Not To Dos
- All IPL and laser devices are not recommended for use by pregnant or breast-feeding women.
- Do not apply on eyes, eyebrows, ears, nipples, or genitals.
- Do not use light-based devices on male face, jaw, or neck.
- Not for use by anyone under 18.
- Do not use these devices on tattoos, make-up, moles, freckles, burns, discolored areas, and tanned areas.
- It’s prohibited to use laser or IPL if you have or had one or more of the diseases mentioned in “Drugs” section later in this article.
Tips & What To Do
There are also some things you need to do before and after each treatment session. Make sure you carefully read this part and try to apply those tips.
- When using light-based devices always move continuously in the same direction. This will minimize overlap. Do not treat the very same area many times at the same session. However, slight overlaps are allowed.
- Always use lower setting when begging treatments and always do skin tests.
- Make sure to clean treatment area and dry it before treatments.
- Avoid sunlight 2 weeks before treatments and 48 hours after treatments. Your skin must be free of sunburns before exposing to IPL.
- Avoid tanning for the very same period before and after treatments. Tanning darkens the skin which makes it more prone to harm, redness, irritation, and even some serious diseases.
- Use high quality sunblock or cover treated area if you have to go out under sunlight.
- Always read user manual carefully; it mentions many important tips and tricks when treating.
- Consult your doctor when any side effect appears.
- Of course, consult your doctor before IPL or laser and tell him all your history with diseases and medications.
NOTE: Remember that experts state that you should wait for new hair growth before performing a repeated treatment session. Hair in the underarms usually grow faster than other parts of the body, after 1-2 weeks at most, so you might need to treat this area every other week.
Diseases That Inhibit The Use Of Laser And IPL
Do not apply IPL or laser if you STILL SUFFER OR HAD HISTORY WITH the following diseases:
- Skin disease such as active skin cancer and eczema
- Light-induced seizures
- Chronic migraines
- Vascular disorder
- Sensitivity to light
- Burns, infections, inflammation of hair follicles, abrasions, open lacerations, lesions or wounds in the targeted area.
- Haematoma (A solid swelling of clotted blood within the skin tissue)
- Herpes simplex (A viral infection)
- Lupus erythematosus (immune system mistakenly attacks on healthy tissues) and porphyria
- Congestive heart disease.
There are many diseases that may form serious risks if you used laser or IPL treatments with. So, before any treatment, consult your doctor or an expert whether laser or IPL treatment is inappropriate with the disease you suffer from.
Drugs That Inhibit The Use Of Laser And IPL
Prescribed drugs and medications have been highly common nowadays. There are drugs available for almost everything from acne, redness, rash, to cancer! However, nothing comes for free. You will use a prescribed drug to treat a precise disease, but it will trigger a side effect. So, not every prescribed medication is allowed when considering laser or IPL hair removal.
- Drugs that target epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR).
- Drugs that target vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
- Photosensitive medications that containing Retin-A such as acne medications.
- Any cancer medications such as Anthracyclines and Trastuzumab.
- Hormone medications
- Antibiotics such as Sulfonamides
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen
- Diuretics such as Hydrochlorothiazide
- Retinoids such as Isotretinoin
- Hypoglycaemics such as Sulfonylureas (e.g. glipizide)
- Antipsychotics such as Phenothiazines (e.g. chlorpromazine)
- PDT Pro-photosensitisers such as Photofrin
- Targeted therapies such as Vermurafenib
There is a very big list of drugs that should not be used before the light-based treatments 7 days at least. Moreover, there are many of them prohibit laser or IPL treatments. So, be safe, consider the precautions, and tell an expert about any medication you use.
Laser and IPL permanent hair removal is a magical method in which you get rid of unwanted hair for a very long period. They may have some side effects that last for 2-3 days at most. However, they’d not be dangerous if you follow the instructions and precautions.
As an answer for the question that preoccupy many people: “Do IPL and laser hair removal cause cancer?” No, IPL and laser hair removal do not cause cancer. They are very safe and precise and they are represented in developed devices with improved integrated safety systems.
However, in order to be safe, consult your doctor before using laser or IPL. Tell an expert about medications, skin conditions, and diseases you have or had in the past. In addition, take you precautions and follow the tips provided by our experts and follow the instructions of the operator or the manufacturer of your at-home hair removal device. This way, you will be safe and protected.
- National Center of Biology Information, cancer and vascular diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23677576
- National Center of Biology Information, ncbi, cancer and eczema and asthma https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21884041
- American Association for Cancer Research, aacr http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/22/7/1267
- Skin Cancer Organization, laser and skin cancer information https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/can-laser-treatment-cause-skin-cancer
- Net By Asco, Medications Inhibiting Light-Based Hair Removal https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/side-effects
- Medscape eMedicine Drug-Induced Photosensitivity https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1049648-overview
- DermNet New Zealand Drug-Induced Photosensitivity https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/drug-induced-photosensitivity/a