Meet the tools: IPL and laser
There are several laser and laser-related treatments that work for permanent hair removal, according to Gerald Imber, MD, a plastic surgeon at the Youth Corridor Clinic in Manhattan. “Lasers generate energy in the form of heat. That heat is absorbed by the pigment in the hair and the follicle; then they are destroyed,” he explains. The other great option is IPL, which stands for Intense Pulsed Light. “IPL generates a broad spectrum of light, which is absorbed by dark targets. Therefore, it will be attracted to dark hair,” says Dr. Imber. Unfortunately, it can “gets confused” if you have dark skin as well. “The best combination for IPL is light skin and dark hair,” he says, adding, “IPL is older technology, but still reasonably effective.” That means that if you have light or blonde hair, or if you have a darker skin tone, IPL is not going to work for you. Choose lasers instead, as their settings can be adjusted to suit your hair and skin tone. Dr. Imber favors the Diode 808 laser, which is incredibly fast and effective.
…But that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you
With more sophisticated lasers, even people with lighter, finer hair, or darker skin can get good results from laser hair removal. Just do a bit of research to make sure the hair removal center you’re visiting has the right equipment on hand for your hair or skin. “Most offices have just one device, maybe two, so don’t waste time going to a consultation that can’t help,” says Dr. Krant. Find out other possible benefits of laser treatments.