Discover the answer to your question: Does IPL remove hair permanently? Get all the facts on this popular hair removal method today!

The Truth About Permanent Hair Removal with IPL

Table of Contents

TL:DR Summary

  • IPL for Hair Removal: Intense Pulsed Light targets melanin in hair, reducing growth effectively.
  • Benefits of IPL: Quick, effective for various body parts, and reduces hair significantly.
  • IPL Suitability: Best for fair skin and dark hair, less effective otherwise.
  • IPL Sessions: Requires multiple sessions for optimal results, not a one-time solution.
  • Potential Discomfort: Can be painful, especially in sensitive areas.
  • SHR vs. IPL: Wellaholic recommends SHR for safer, more effective hair removal, especially for Asian skin.
IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light, and it's a type of light treatment that is used for a variety of skin concerns

Introduction: What is IPL?

In my journey as an Aesthetic Director, I’ve had the opportunity to delve deep into various hair removal techniques, and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is one that often piques the interest of many. The concept of ‘permanent hair removal’ with IPL is a topic surrounded by both excitement and skepticism.

In this article, I aim to demystify the truth about IPL, drawing from my extensive interactions with industry experts, ongoing research, and the experiences shared by numerous clients.

IPL, a technology used by dermatologists, emits a spectrum of light that targets the pigment in the hair, disrupting the growth cycle. While it’s often marketed as a permanent solution, it’s crucial to understand what ‘permanent’ really means in this context.

The source is a comprehensive study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website, specifically the article titled “Low-Energy Intense Pulsed Light for Hair Removal.” This article provides valuable insights and data, which will serve as the backbone of our discussion. So, let’s dive in and explore this intriguing subject together!

Most people need multiple laser hair removal treatments to achieve desired results. Treatment frequency depends on the individual's hair growth cycles. Typically, treatments are scheduled 4-6 weeks apart.

Understanding IPL: Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

Intense Pulsed Light, commonly abbreviated as IPL, is a form of light treatment utilized for addressing various skin concerns. Whether it’s sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, or acne, IPL targets specific areas on your skin using light pulses. The heat generated from these pulses aids in stimulating collagen production, contributing to healthier and rejuvenated skin.

IPL for Hair Removal and Skin Rejuvenation

IPL is a popular choice for both hair removal and skin rejuvenation due to its efficacy. However, it’s vital to know that this treatment may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, individuals with darker skin tones or those susceptible to hyperpigmentation may encounter skin damage due to the light energy.

Consultation: Determining Your IPL Suitability

Before deciding to undergo Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment for hair removal, it’s highly recommended to consult with a trained professional. This could be a dermatologist, a cosmetic surgeon, or a certified aesthetician who specializes in IPL treatments. These professionals can provide a thorough evaluation considering several factors. They will assess your skin type, as IPL tends to be more effective on certain skin and hair color combinations. For instance, IPL usually works best on individuals with light skin and dark hair. If you have darker skin or lighter hair, the professional can advise on the likely effectiveness of IPL for you.

How IPL works

IPL, or intense pulsed light, is a treatment that uses pulses of light to improve the appearance of skin. IPL can be used to treat a variety of skin concerns, including sun damage, age spots, and rosacea. IPL works by targeting the deeper layers of skin without damaging the surface of the skin. The light energy from the IPL device is absorbed by the targeted areas of skin, which triggers a healing response.

For hair removal, IPL targets the melanin in the hair follicle, heating it up and damaging it to prevent future hair growth. This can be a more permanent solution than other methods like waxing or shaving, but it typically requires multiple sessions for optimal results.

Of the 20 female patients who completed the clinical trial, 19 (or 95% of the subjects enrolled) noted reduction in hair removal as a result of participation in the clinical trial. Fifteen of the patients completed all six of the treatment sessions and all of the patients participated in the one- and three-month follow-up sessions.
Percentage of Hair Regrowth after IPL Treatment

Study: Percentage of Hair Regrowth after IPL Treatment

Based on the comprehensive study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Twenty-two female patients were enrolled in this clinical trial, with 20 completing the trial. The patients varied in age from 23 to 60 years of age. At the one-month follow-up visit, seven patients were found to have up to 90-percent hair reduction, three patients between 81- and 90-percent hair reduction, six patients between 71- and 80-percent hair reduction, one patient between 61- and 70-percent hair reduction, one patient between 51- and 60-percent hair reduction, and two patients between 41- and 50-percent hair reduction. The overall average hair reduction was 78 percent at the end of one month following the last treatment.

IPL treatments work by targeting the pigment in the hair follicle. The heat from the laser destroys the follicle, which prevents the hair from growing backIPL treatments work by targeting the pigment in the hair follicle. The heat from the laser destroys the follicle, which prevents the hair from growing back

Advantages of IPL for hair removal

IPL is quick and effective

There are many advantages of IPL for hair removal. IPL is quick, effective, and safe for most skin types. It can be used on small or large areas of the body, and it is affordable compared to other hair removal methods.

IPL is effective for darker hairs

IPL treatments work by targeting the pigment in the hair follicle. The heat from the laser destroys the follicle, which prevents the hair from growing back. IPL is most effective on dark hair, but it can also be used on lighter hair colors. IPL devices use broad-spectrum light, which allows them to target a larger area at once compared to methods like laser hair removal. This makes IPL a quick treatment option, especially for larger areas of the body like the legs or back.

IPL can lead to significant reduction in hair growth

IPL treatments are usually done in a series of 6-8 sessions, spaced 4-6 weeks apart. After a few sessions, you will see a significant reduction in hair growth. Most people see permanent results after 3-5 years of treatment. IPL works by targeting the pigment in hair follicles, disrupting their growth cycle and reducing hair regrowth over time. With regular treatments, IPL can significantly reduce unwanted hair.

there is a risk of skin damage or burns if the IPL device is not used properly or if the treatment area is not properly prepared

Disadvantages of IPL for hair removal

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal is a popular method for reducing unwanted hair growth. It works by emitting a spectrum of light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, which in turn heats up and destroys the hair follicle, inhibiting future hair growth. However, before deciding if IPL is the right choice for you, it’s important to consider several potential disadvantages:

IPL is most suitable for people with fair skin and dark hair

The IPL method works by emitting a broad spectrum of light that is absorbed by the melanin (the pigment that gives hair and skin its color) in the hair follicles. This light energy is then converted into heat, which damages the hair follicles and inhibits future hair growth.

However, this method is most effective when there is a significant contrast between the color of the hair and the color of the skin. This is because the light energy targets the melanin. Therefore, IPL works best on individuals with fair skin and dark hair. The contrast allows the light energy to target and heat the hair follicle effectively without being absorbed by the skin.

On the other hand, individuals with light-colored hair (blonde, red, or gray) may not see the same results. This is because light hair contains less melanin for the IPL to target. Similarly, individuals with darker skin tones may also have less effective results with IPL. In these cases, the light energy may not be able to effectively distinguish between the melanin in the hair and the melanin in the skin, which could lead to the skin absorbing more light energy. This not only reduces the effectiveness of the treatment but also increases the risk of skin irritation or damage.

IPL requires many sessions to achieve desired results

Additionally, IPL hair removal is not a one-time solution. It typically requires multiple sessions over a period of several weeks or months in order to achieve the desired results. This means that it can be a time-consuming and expensive process, especially for people with larger treatment areas or thicker hair.

IPL can be painful for some people

IPL hair removal can also be painful for some people. While the discomfort is generally described as a mild snapping or stinging sensation, it can be more intense in sensitive areas such as the bikini line or underarms.

IPL may not be effective on the face or neck

Another potential disadvantage of IPL hair removal is that it may not be as effective on certain areas of the body, such as the face or neck. This is because these areas often have lighter, finer hair that may not respond as well to the light energy.

IPL may lead to burns when not used properly

Finally, there is a risk of skin damage or burns if the IPL device is not used properly or if the treatment area is not properly prepared. This can be especially concerning for people with darker skin tones, as the higher melanin content in their skin can increase the risk of burns.

Table: Ideal Parameters for IPL Hair Removal
SHR is known for being more effective and safer for darker skin tones, which is common among Asian populations.

Optimal IPL Treatment Parameters and Their Effects

The table titled “Optimal IPL Treatment Parameters and Their Effects” provides a comprehensive overview of the key settings used in Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments and their corresponding outcomes. It details the wavelength range, which spans from 590 to 1200 nm, making it effective for both hair removal and skin rejuvenation.

The fluence, or energy level, varies between 12 and 40 J/cm², with higher fluence being more effective for darker hair and lower fluence being safer for lighter skin tones. The pulse duration is adjustable from 2.5 to 10 milliseconds, with shorter pulses targeting fine hair and longer pulses better suited for coarser hair. The spot size, ranging from 10 to 50 mm², allows for customization of the treatment area, with larger sizes enabling faster treatment but requiring more power.

Cooling, typically achieved through contact cooling, is an essential feature that enhances patient comfort and protects the skin during treatment. Finally, the table suggests a treatment interval of 4 to 6 weeks, aligning with hair growth cycles for optimal efficacy. This table serves as a valuable guide for practitioners to tailor IPL treatments to individual patient needs, ensuring both safety and effectiveness.

Why is SHR better than IPL for Hair Removal

Why We Recommend SHR over IPL for Hair Removal (Esp. for Asians)

At Wellaholic, we recommend Super Hair Removal (SHR) over Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for hair removal, especially for Asian skin types. SHR is known for being more effective and safer for darker skin tones, which is common among Asian populations.

Unlike IPL, which uses a single, intense light pulse, SHR gradually heats the skin to a temperature that effectively damages the hair follicles and prevents hair regrowth, while minimizing the risk of burns. This makes SHR a more comfortable and safer option.

A study published in the “Medical Lasers” highlights that SHR is particularly effective for individuals with darker skin types, as it reduces the risk of skin damage and pigmentation changes, which are concerns with IPL. For more detailed insights, you can read the study here. This evidence-based approach aligns with Wellaholic’s commitment to offering safe, effective, and professional services to our clients.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal a permanent solution for hair removal?

As an industry expert with over a decade of experience, I can confidently say that IPL hair removal is not a permanent solution, but it offers long-lasting results. Through my interactions with clients at Wellaholic, I’ve seen firsthand how IPL can significantly reduce hair growth by up to 95% with multiple treatments. However, some regrowth is expected as the hair follicles can recover over time. The key is to complete the full treatment course, typically 6-8 sessions spaced 4-8 weeks apart, to achieve optimal results. While maintenance treatments may be needed every 1-2 years, IPL provides a more permanent reduction compared to shaving or waxing.

How does IPL hair removal work to reduce hair growth?

At Wellaholic, I explain to my customers that IPL hair removal works by targeting the melanin pigment in hair follicles. The light energy heats up the follicle and damages its ability to regrow hair. Over a series of treatments, this leads to permanent hair reduction as we disable active growth follicles. The treatment specifically targets the anagen or growth phase of the hair cycle for maximum effectiveness. While 100% permanent removal is unlikely, most customers see a significant decrease in hair after completing a full treatment course.

Can IPL provide long-lasting hair reduction compared to traditional methods like shaving or waxing?

A: Yes, IPL offers longer-lasting results compared to traditional methods. While not always permanent, IPL can lead to a significant reduction in hair growth over time, minimizing the need for frequent shaving or waxing.

What are the permanent hair removal options available for those seeking a more lasting solution?

With my experience in the aesthetics industry, I can share that electrolysis and laser hair removal are the two most effective options for more permanent hair reduction. Electrolysis uses a fine probe to deliver electric current to each hair follicle, destroying the growth cells. It works on all hair and skin types but requires many sessions. Laser hair removal targets the pigment in hair follicles with concentrated light, putting them into a dormant state. It’s faster than electrolysis and can treat larger areas, but works best on dark hair and light skin. While both provide lasting results, some touch-up sessions may still be needed. 

Can IPL achieve permanent body hair removal, especially in larger treatment areas?

A: While IPL can lead to significant hair reduction, complete permanent body hair removal might require multiple sessions and could still have some regrowth. Laser technologies like Diode Laser or Alexandrite Laser are often recommended for larger treatment areas.

How can I determine the best permanent hair removal solution for my needs?

A: To find the best solution, consider factors like your skin type, hair color, and desired results. Consulting with experienced professionals at Wellaholic can help you make an informed decision based on your individual characteristics.

With over 8 years of experience in the aesthetics industry, I am passionate about enhancing beauty and wellness through innovative, science-based approaches. As the Aesthetic Director at Wellaholic, I am committed to delivering exceptional services that are tailored to each client's unique needs. My expertise spans across advanced skincare treatments, body sculpting, hair removal services, and nutritional supplements, all aimed at helping clients achieve their personal best.

Serene Chiam, Aesthetic Director

Serene Chiam is the Aesthetic Director at Wellaholic, a well-known aesthetic chain in Singapore. She has more than ten years of experience in the aesthetics industry. With a Bachelor of Health Science (Aesthetics) and CIDESCO certifications, she expertly combines scientific knowledge with practical skills. Serene is known for her personalized approach to beauty, ensuring each Wellaholic client’s journey is unique and transformative. Her significant contributions have been pivotal in establishing Wellaholic’s reputation for excellence in aesthetic wellness.

Contact Serene at


Book Now Pay Later

Bar - SHR Hair Removal be Wellaholic

SHR Permanent Hair Removal with Unlimited Shots

  • Diode Laser Technology. Developed by Alma Lasers, SHR combines 755nm, 808nm and 1064nm laser wavelengths to target all skin types. 
  • Unbeatable in Value and Quality. Wellaholic’s SHR Unlimited Plans offer a hair removal solution that is unbeatable in both value and quality.
  • One Price for All Body Parts. Pay just one low price for a complete hair removal experience for all body parts, including unlimited SHR shots.
  • Permanent Fuss-Free Solution. Say goodbye to the hassle of expensive and ineffective hair removal methods and trust WellaSmooth 3X to deliver a permanent and fuss-free solution for all your hair removal needs.
  • Award-Winning. Wellaholic’s treatments have been recognized by top beauty publications such as Daily Vanity, Beauty Insider, and Tropika Club Magazine.
  • Over 2000 Verified Customer Reviews. Wellaholic has over 30 industry awards and over 2000 positive reviews from customers, and >50% are repeat customers.
Infographic on SHR Hair Removal by Wellaholic. SHR emits a strong 3000w power of laser energy source to target hair follicles and body hair. It combines 3 different wavelengths, 755, 808 and 1064nm to target different hair types.

Unveiling the Reality of IPL: A Comprehensive Guide to Permanent Hair Removal in Singapore

Discover expert insights on beauty, hair removal, facials, regrowth, teeth whitening, and more at Wellaholic - Singapore's top aesthetic chain.