My experience with IPL -- Cautiously Optimistic


This forum has been very helpful to me (thanks, Andrea!), so I decided to register and share my recent experience with IPL hair removal.

Shaving my legs and underarms has been the bane of my existence for years and years…razor bumps, ingrown hair. When I shaved, I would have to shave every other day to avoid stubble. I started waxing on an exclusive basis about 7 years ago. However, I still had bumps and ingrown hair, and in the summer I had to wax every other week, with the second week showing an unacceptable amount of “grow back” hair. What a mess.

I discovered Tend Skin through this forum. Tend Skin helped more than anything else I tried, but it did not solve the problem. It certainly can’t solve the problem of hair growing back too fast.

Earlier this summer, I decided to do the IPL treatment on my face for cosmetic purposes(6 treatments, 1 treatment every 3 weeks for sun damage). During the course of the treatments, I learned that the same IPL machine can be used on a different setting for the purpose of “permanent hair reduction.” The operator told me that it works better for some people than others. After talking with a young woman who tried it and was pleased with it, I decided to go for it.

The operator told me that, generally, it takes about 4-6 treatments over a 12-18 month period to obtain the final results. I decided to do lower legs and underarms (I have almost no hair on my thighs – go figure).

The operator (Jeanette) told me to grow the hair out as much as possible. I let it grow for 1 month, and it drove me crazy. Then it was time for my first treatment.

First, Jeanette cut all the hair very short with small scissors. Then she placed a topical anasthetic on my skin, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. For both lower legs and underarms, the procedure took about 4 1/2 hours, including preparation. Yes, it hurt, but it was not at all unbearable. At one point, I actually fell asleep. The cost for this one treatment was $500.

When the treatment was over, my legs were tender, a little red in some places, but nothing too bad at all. The hair was singed, so that – when I ran my hands over my legs – it felt nappy or nubby. Jeanette told me to wait for about 10 days, and then to return to have the treated areas waxed (included in the cost).

During the 10 days, I couldn’t stand the feel of my legs. I was very disappointed that no nubs or hair “fell out.” At last, it was time for the waxing.

What a surprise! After having the treated areas waxed, my legs and underarms felt as smooth as my inner thigh. My legs and underarms are still smooth, with no visible hair, and the treatment took place 4 weeks ago!

Jeanette says that the hair will grow back, and I’ll probably need another treatment in another 3 to 4 months, but she wants me to wait as long as possible. I am not supposed to wax until after my next treatment, although it is permissible to shave.

Am I convinced that this will work and that I will be permanantly rid of this hair? No, I am too cynical and I have lived too long for that. But, I have to say, I am cautiously optimistic and I am even a little excited. I have never, ever been hair-free for this long in my entire life.

If it helps anyone, I have fair, olive skin (Irish and Slavic ancestry), and dark fine hair on my legs and underarms. Jeanette tells me that the IPL can be used at different settings for different skin/hair color combinations.

As I stated earlier, body hair has made me miserable. I always wore hose in the summer, because of razor bumps, etc. I am certain IPL will not work for everyone, but I at least want to share my experience and “give back” to this board. For anyone who is interested, I will update this post over the next year when I have additional treatments.

Good luck to everyone!


Thanks for the fantastic report, Deborah! I’m so happy that readers are sharing their experiences in such detail-- together, we can all make a difference!

Definitely keep us posted on your progress, and best of luck with continued success!


It’s always nice to hear when someone is pleased with their results! It’s good that you are also realistic, for me, no hair grows at all for three months after treatment, but by the fourth month all of the hair has returned. However, on the bright side I have never had any problems with ingrowns after treatment without the use of TendSkin or any other products.

Do you know why they wax the area after treatment? For me, after about 10 days the hair falls out on it’s own. Do you still have feeling in the follicle after the ten days?


Doesn’t waxing alone leave the area hairless for about a month? The reason they probably wax you after the IPL treatment is to make it seem more effective too.

A local plastic surgeon had his technicians wax their patients after SoftLight treatments too. No wonder some people thought that it worked. I don’t know if they still use the Softlight or not. They do have the Epilight though.



Andrea: Thank you for this board. You are generous to maintain this information forum.

Orange: Jeanette said the hair folicle is damaged after the IPL treatment, but the hair can continue to grow after the treatment. The waxing pulls out the hair by the root. After several treatments, the root is (theoretically) destroyed. When they waxed after the treatment, I did not feel the hair being pulled the way I usually did prior to the treatment. The hair seemed to just lift out.

Even if I had to do the IPL treatments every 4 months for the rest of my life, it would be worth it to me. When I waxed, I still had some hair that was too short to be pulled or caught by the wax. That hair would start to show in about a week or two. It feels so good to wear shorts or a skirt, and have smooth legs, with no bumps or ingrown hair.

RJC2001: For me, waxing was better than shaving. But, I can’t say waxing ever left me hair-free for a month. Even after waxing, my legs still felt stubby, and I had those bumps and ingrown hair. If I had to do IPL once or twice a year for this result, I would be very happy.

Like I said, I don’t know yet how IPL will work in the end. But I’ll keep the post up for anyone who is interested. And I’ll keep reading this board to learn from others’ experiences.


Laser has long been proven to be a good option for consumers with light skin and dark hair. Those who don’t mind going in for treatment every three months indefinitely will continue to find treatment helpful until the size and color of hairs has been reduced. At that point, treatment may not be as effective.

For ideal candidates, laser is an excellent option for a 4x a year treatment schedule. Even SoftLight, which is still commercially available for this purpose, can make a good laser for a “hair maintenance program,” as it’s now marketed. Claims of permanent hair removal with SoftLight have not been substantiated, but it’s OK for an every three months option. Personally, I’d think if you’re spending the money, you’d aim toward having a permanent result.

With long-pulse lasers and IPL devices, it’s possible that you will see a permanent hair reduction as well. Those seeking a permanent result will probably require more aggressive treatment, wich requires greater practitioner skill and higher energy levels.

I have heard from consumers who were happy with IPL, but they have had higher reports of side effects and dissatisfaction, primarily because many of the doctors who originally sold the treatments had overpromised on results.