Is IPL a waste of money?

Hey everyone,

I need some advice. I’ve been going for “laser” hair removal for 4 sessions now at a really good clinic in Yorkville here in Toronto. They call it laser hair removal and honestly I’ve had really good results (just did session 4 today). I am getting much smoother on my tummy and it really seems to be working. I found this site awhile ago and started learning about different technologies so today during my session I asked her what type of laser they use. She said its by Lumines One and it’s an IPL. So I asked why she uses IPL on me and she said that’s all they use on everyone there.

After reading the FAQ on here it sounds like IPL isn’t good? After each session you can clearly see red dots where the hairs were all zapped, but I don’t burn or anything, it’s red for a day but again hair falls out really quickly.

Should I stop going here and go to somewhere that offers GentleLASE? Again I am getting results but I’m confused after reading the FAQ here. Is IPL good on selective people or is it not good on everyone? I get a discount so only pay $100 and that’s for a large area, my abdomen, nipples, and today she did a large part of my collar bone where I have a bit of hairs for free. Just curious on thoughts as I’m a bit disappointed since I thought I was getting true laser.

I have seen good IPL results on body hair and minimal results on facial hair for one of my clients, however, she has logged over 100 hours with me over the pass year and a half for the finer, longer, lighter hairs left behind. She wants absolute total clearance - no hair left behind. This client is male to female, so she started out with thick, coarse hair everywhere and IPL did help to jumpstart the process, but by no means finished the project. Many people have called IPL treatments long-term waxing. More time has to pass, with no treatments for at least a year before you know the true results.

IPLs do work, but not as well as true lasers. They’re also best on very light skin. If you’re seeing good shedding every time, then you’re probably ok, as long as the hair is very coarse. The one thing with IPLs is that it’s hard to tell whether they’re affecting the hair permanently. Some people do see shedding etc, but then the hair returns later. You can sort of tell by how long your hairfree periods are. If new hair starts growing in pretty much right after shedding, something may be off.

If you can find a better machine for a similar price, personally I would switch because I would want the most for my money. And Toronto has dozens of clinics.

Can you ask for the machine name? Some IPLs are better than others. Lumenis makes LightSheer diode.

Thanks for all the advice. That’s what worries me, I had a friend tell me after my first session that he did 10 on his back and it all came back, and that he had IPL and not to get it. I was certain that wasn’t what I had so I said no issues. So much for that. She said it’s the Lumenis One machine with the IPL module, I believe this:

Except it doesn’t have 3 of them, just the IPL thing, nothing in the middle and another one. I can see if I can get more details if that helps. It’s 100% Lumenis though I even took pictures of it before.

Again the only reason I go here is because my friend works there so they give me a deal on treatments, I’ve had 2 free already, and I pay 100$ each time to do my abdomen and nipples and last time she did my collarbone for free to clear the few hairs there that I have.

I can keep checking, but just don’t want to pay too much more than $100 for this area. I found one place that was recommended on Yelp, they are $150 for abdomen, and use CoolGlide NDYAG 1064+. Another place I found that uses GentleLASE that got good reviews was $250 though so a bit much.

Having said that, if I did switch, is everything I’ve done with the IPL a waste though, or will I just typically need less sessions with a true laser now?

Thanks so much for the help!

If the treatments were effective then it wasn’t a waste money.

They are effective but my concern is spending more money on them then in a year finding it all comes back if it’s just like long term waxing. What I’d like to know is if I switched now to gentleLase, would it be as effective, or would the gentleLase not be able to target hairs that the IPL has temporarily disabled?

You can always go to a clinic and tell them where you’re going now and how much you’re paying. Many are willing to negotiate to get customers. You should be able to find more clinics with GentleLASE though. There is actually a link to a Canada provider search somewhere on this site…

GentleLASE will work on coarse hair and will disable the hair permanently at high enough settings (16j+ on 18mm spot size).

What skin type are you again?

I’m skin type III. I’ll definitely check around, but what about my one question, if IPL disabled some follicles temporarily, what happens if I do gentleLASE will it ignore them or will it still target them?

I don’t really understand that question.

If the hair was killed, it’s not going to come back. If it wasn’t, it’s going to come back and will need to be treated.

I had about 25 (or more) treatments at american laser center, I do have some good results now. I have had multiple double passes and years of treatment there. What kind of laser do they use? I have been told but never looked into it. I first signed up for lower legs, brazilan, and under arms. After 2 yrs I signed up for thighs. They continued to treat me after my guarantee but then I moved and the new clinc refused to continue treatment. I am halfway there on my thighs but I would like to go somewhere else for the rest of treatment. I am type 3, they told me that I was a non-responder and that is why it took so many treatments but after reading this site I think it was their lasers.

LAgirl let me clarify,

I know if its killed it won’t come back. My question is from reading on here it sounds like IPL isn’t permanent, more like long term as in hair might come back after a year or something. So my question is just if the hair is only temporarily disabled, will going to gentle LASE finish the job and permanently disable those hairs, or will there be no effect, as in are those hairs just dorment and will come back later? My point is that I don’t want to start gentleLASE if it will just “ignore” hairs that the IPL has temporarily disabled. Does that make sense?

There has to be a growing hair in a follicle at the time of treatment for laser to work. If there is no hair in a follicle, there is nothing for the laser to “see” and create heat and kill the structures inside the follicle that cause hair growth.

If the hair is coarse enough, GentleLASE will work on it. GentleLASE doesn’t care whether the hair was treated previously. It will affect any hair in sight that’s coarse enough. Hope that answers your question.

puppy, that chain clinic doesn’t use good machines. They’re mostly IPLs. A few used LightSheer diodes in the past, but most have now switched due to their new national contract with a company who primarily makes IPLs and also one diode that’s combined with gimmicky RF technology.

If you still have coarse hair left, you will get results on it with a better machine. For your skin type, you should look for an alexandrite type of laser like GentleLASE or Apogee. Laser will only work on coarse hair. Make sure you understand that.

I would also advise you to wait about 3-4 months after your last treatment to judge how much hair you really have left.

And do read our FAQs at the link below. You should check out 3-5 clinics before commiting to one. And we advise not to prepay for any packages until after your first treatment when you can assess the results.

Thanks for all the advice. I’m going to do that as well, wait a few months and see what the results are like. It’s hard to judge it because previously I would leave it a few weeks then while in the shower just shave to get rid of any new growth. Because my stomach was used to it and what not I’d never get razor burn, ingrown hairs, and I’d also never get that stubbly look like when someone just shaves a new area which I would before, and which is why I assumed the IPL is working on me. I want to do my forearms to thin the hair out so I’m thinking of waiting until the winter when my skin is lighter and then doing GentleLASE on that and depending on how my stomach is at and the results of the first GentleLASE session then I’ll continue my tummy there. Either way I’m 100% not doing IPL anymore.