Asian woman looking at her armpits

Perhaps one of the trickiest things to DIY is hair removal. Sure, you can remove hair — but did you do it right? Thankfully, many options are available for women of various lifestyles, types, and . There’s even the option , which is awesome. Other possibilities are shaving, waxing, depilatory creams, and DIY IPL hair removal.

Laser? At home? Sounds dangerous! TBH, it can be. There is a significant risk of burning the skin or redness and irritation at the very least. It happens when you’re not using a quality IPL device or you don’t know how to use it properly. When doing IPL hair removal at home, use a device from a trusted brand (if you got it for P299, then, yes, it’s too good to be true) and follow instructions to a tee.

How Does IPL Hair Removal Work?

IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light. is its most common use, but it can also help reduce spider veins and improve and pigmentation. The IPL device targets melanin as it passes over the skin. The light strikes the , which has the highest concentration of melanin, and destroys the papilla, which produces the hair. It may take up to six sessions to see results.

What are the Pros and Cons?

An IPL hair removal device is a fast and easy way to be more or less hair-free. The device itself is an investment, with basic kits from trusted brands starting at P10,000. Some of the advantages of using IPL devices at home include mess-free hair removal, smoother and brighter skin, and less regrowth with every use. Moreover, the results are permanent.

After an IPL treatment, it’s common to experience redness, tenderness, and a bit of swelling, which will subside in a couple of days. You might also see some pigmentation, but these will fade in time. IPL works best with light skin tones and dark hair since it zeroes in on melanin. The lighter the skin tone, the easier it is to find pigment. The melanin found in darker skin tones may absorb the light instead, leading to burns. However, some devices offer wider coverage. 

At-Home IPL Laser Hair Removal Tips

If you’re trying out IPL laser hair removal at home and you’ve never had an in-office treatment, read on for some tips to ensure a safe, pleasant, and effective experience.

Keep calm and cool. IPL works best when the skin is nice, cool, and dry. When the skin is hot and sweaty, the treatment can get uncomfortable. Perform the treatment in a cool area. Avoid working up a sweat beforehand, and make sure your skin is clean, dry, and free of lotions and moisturizers that can make it slippery.

Shave the area beforehand. Unlike , you don’t need to grow your hair to a particular length for IPL to work. You’ll need to shave it right before the treatment so the light can get to the hair root more efficiently. Longer hairs can also burn. While not painful, it can result in an unpleasant burnt smell that others may be unable to tolerate.

Start at the lowest setting. If you’re a newbie at DIY IPL hair removal, start at the lowest setting and make sure to follow all the instructions. If you set it too high from the get-go, you may experience discomfort since your skin hasn’t had time to adjust to the heat. Set it on the lowest level and gradually build up as you go along.

, alcohol, and overexertion. Like any other skin treatment involving lasers or lights, an IPL hair removal treatment will leave your skin sensitive, , and a bit sore. Give your skin at least 48 hours to recover and avoid anything that can irritate your skin. It includes hot showers, alcohol (which can cause itching and redness), and (to avoid friction and sweating). Wash the area with warm water and a soft washcloth. Otherwise, try to keep it dry.

Be gentle on your skin. Post-IPL would be a great time to switch to a gentle deodorant that nourishes the skin while keeping it dry and odor-free. Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant Aerosol is a product that can keep you feeling fresh all day. It’s devoid of alcohol and aluminum salts, making it gentle on the skin. It doesn’t feel sticky or uncomfortable on your skin, plus it delivers a brightening effect with regular use.

When doing IPL hair removal at home, remember to trust the process. These at-home devices are not as powerful as in-office machines. Try to be patient, consistent, and most of all, safe. If you suspect that your device is not working correctly, contact the manufacturer to resolve the issue. If you experience any pain, swelling, or irritation that doesn’t go away in a few days, stop using the device and consult your dermatologist.