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Can I Use IPL Every Other Day? What Happens if I Use IPL Too Often?

By Mariela
October 4, 2023
6 minutes
Can I Use IPL Every Other Day

Intense Pulse Light therapy for hair removal has revolutionized the physical grooming industry by allowing men and women to shape and remove their body hair in their comfort zones at home. While IPL devices offer long-lasting results, they do not get rid of all hair in only 1 session.

Therefore, you need to schedule a number of treatments to deal with the maximum number of unwanted hair. This leads people to consider that using IPL devices more often can help them get the desired results faster. But sadly, it backfires rather than improving the efficacy of IPL hair removal treatments. 

So, if you are one of such people who want to get the best of an IPL device with no harm and are looking for information to prepare your treatment schedule, we got you. 

Let us find out if you can use an IPL device every other day and what happens if you do.

Table of Contents:

How Do IPL Hair Removal Devices Work in Relation to Hair Growth Cycle?

The whole concept of the efficacy of IPL hair removal devices depends upon which stage of growth the hair is when you use the device. Below are the 4 stages hair passes through. 

Let us see what happens on using an IPL device in these phases. The effect of these cycles on the results of laser hair removal has been illustrated in a study published in PubMed  [1]

Anagen

Anagen is the active hair growth phase in the lifecycle of body and facial hair. The hair is connected to the roots and actively receives blood supply from the follicles in this phase.

80-90% of hair is going through anagen at any point in time. The active nourishment of this phase makes it the most suitable candidate for IPL rays. IPL directly destroys the blood supply and kills the hair follicle. It lasts for around 20-30 days. 

Catagen

Catagen is the phase of transition from the actively growing period to a resting phase. This is the phase where hair are detaching from the roots resulting in decreased efficiency of IPL hair removal. Up to 5% of hair is in this phase at one time. It lasts for about 10 days.

Telogen

Telogen is the dormant phase of hair growth where hair is completely detached from the follicle but it has yet not fallen out. In telogen, hair can be burned by IPL rays. However, IPL radiations won’t reach the follicle as the hair has been detached from it.

Exogen

The last phase, where the full-grown hair falls out and a new hair entering the anagen phase replaces it is exogen. Again, IPL is ineffective in the exogen phase as the hair is already being removed naturally. Also, only a few hairs are in this stage.

How Many Sessions of IPL Hair Removal I Need for Permanent Results?

The number of sessions differs with each IPL device as the energy output and recommended frequency of hair removal sessions for each device are different. Here, we will consider the Ulike Sapphire Air3 IPL hair removal handset to estimate how many sessions you need. Also, check Why choose Ulike

Additionally, the effectiveness of different low-energy intense pulsed lights for hair removal has been studied in research published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology  [2]

For Obvious Hair Removal:

Ulike Air3 IPL hair removal device is recommended to be used 3 times a week on alternate days for the first 3 weeks. During this time, it targets most of the hair in the anagen phase resulting in an obvious decrease in hair regrowth.

For up to 90% Hair Removal:

Then you just need to do 2 sessions per week for the next 2 weeks to achieve maximum results that cause shrinking of hair follicles and significant hair reduction.

For 99% Hair Removal:

As some hair can still grow back after 6 weeks. You need to do 1 session per month to stay hairless and keep hair regrowth in check. Within 3 weeks of regular usage of Ulike Air, you will be able to say bye to 99% of your hair.

Maintenance Session:

The results of an IPL device can last for a few months as long as hair follicles stay in a dormant phase. But as hair follicles can get active anytime, you can use IPL devices for maintenance as needed.

Can I Use an IPL Hair Removal Device Every Other Day?

ulikeWell, theoretically, you can use an IPL device every other day. Just like Ulike Air3 is used on alternate days for 1st 3 weeks to target maximum hair in its active stage. However, using it every other day every time you use is definitely not worth it.

It is not recommended because neither is it more effective nor completely safe. So, even if you can, you should not use an IPL hair removal device every day or every other day for an effective, safe, and pocket-friendly experience.

How Often Should I Use IPL Hair Removal Device?

The treatment schedule of an IPL device depends on the instructions provided by the brand. These are set according to the features of the IPL device after thorough experiments, safety regulations, and attestations. 

In general, using an IPL device for 2 to 3 times per week in initial treatments is allowed. However, you should never use an IPL device for longer than 3 times per week. Its answer is explained in detail in How often should I use an IPL hair removal device

What Happens if I Use IPL Hair Removal Too Often?

As excess of everything is bad, so is the overuse of an IPL device for both your skin you want to make smooth and your hair you want to get rid of. The side effects of IPL are mentioned in IPL hair removal side effects you should know

Below are the side effects of IPL hair removal that can occur on unregulated excessive use. 

1. Wasting the Flashes

You will be spending some 100 dollars on an IPL, you won’t want it to run out sooner than later, right? IPL hair removal devices come with a limited number of flashes and each session of hair removal takes 100s of these flashes.

So, using an IPL device too often will make the device run out of these flashes quickly. For example, 1 million flashes of Ulike can take 50 years which is unlimited. However, using it every day can reduce the lifetime to about 20 years.

2. Skin Irritation

Normally, IPL devices can make the skin red which resolves in a few hours and a momentary mild pain as well. However, putting your skin under unnecessary stress of excessive high-intensity flashes of IPL hair removal devices will irritate it. 

So, you will experience redness, pain, itching, and increased sensitivity to sun, makeup, and skincare products.

3. Burns and Blisters

If you do not stop when you start experiencing itching and continue using an IPL device, the next thing you face will be burns and blisters. This is because the light energy of IPL is converted into heat which can burn the skin if precautions are not taken. 

Moreover, they can also occur if you are flashing the device in 1 area more than thrice. 

4. Crusts and Scars

Overuse of IPL hair removal devices can damage the skin and form crusts. The skin burns and blisters can also develop into crusts. And if proper measures are not taken, this can lead to scars.

5. Hyperpigmentation or Hypopigmentation 

IPL radiations can temper with melanin production by melanocytes. It either stimulates these pigment-producing cells or blocks them. So, uneven areas of hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation develop.

6. Increased Hair Growth

Sometimes, instead of decreasing hair growth, it aggravates it. This is because the normal hair growth cycle is disrupted by IPL radiation. So, beware while using an IPL device as it can make your unwanted hair concern worse.

7. Exacerbation of Skin Conditions

If you are suffering from psoriasis, eczema, PCOS, skin sensitivity, or any such condition, a regulated use of IPL is safe. However, using it too often can exacerbate such conditions. 

8. Infections

All of the side effects of IPL hair removal devices have one thing in common which is compromise in skin barrier. This allows microbes to enter the skin and cause infections. 

9. Delayed Healing

If you face any of the side effects of IPL devices that are mentioned here, stop using them immediately and consult your doctor about it. However, if you do not stop, it can slow down the healing process of the skin.

Conclusion

Using an IPL hair removal device is no rocket science. However, we tend to become too excited at times and try to overuse it for quicker results. So, it is not a wise move to use such devices every day or every other day as it can cause skin irritation, allergy, pigmentation, infections, burns, blisters, delayed healing, and scars. 

These side effects of IPL hair removal are mentioned in a literature review by Arcade Stanford Education  [3].

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