Chances of Side Effects from Palomar IPL Machine?

After being recommended IPL by my dermatologist for my sparse, thin beard because of chronic ingrown hairs and blemishes, I'm thinking of doing it. However, I am afraid of the scarring and other horror stories I've heard.

My dermatologist uses a Palomar brand IPL machine. Is this safe? And will I break out in blemishes, severe redness, or any other irregularities? I do not want to have to go into hibernation during my treatment. What will it be like?

Doctor Answers 3

... I would go laser

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Why use IPL when it is scientifically proven that LASER hair removal is the best? I have IPL machines- BBL, sciton, plus a host of others, but we prefer to use the 755 ALEX from Candela, (Gentelase) or the 1064 long pulse for hair removal in darker skin types. 
Far safer, and more effective


Dr Davin Lim 
Dermatologist, Laser and Cosmetic
Brisbane and Gold Coast

Is IPL for you?

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IPL is an awesome treatment for hair removal. I suggest you have a consultation with a practice that has a robust business and is experienced in laser technology. Everyone has their own set of issues to consider before making a decision to have treatment or not. Going to a reputable practice will help you make the best decision for your ideal and best treatment program.

IPL for Hair Removal

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Hi Collins,

The determination for whether or not the IPL will be a safe treatment for you depends on your skin type. Generally IPL is fairly safe for lighter skin types (up to Asian or Hispanic) and not very safe for dark skin types like East Indian and African American. While the type of machine and settings do matter, IPL is generally safer for lighter skin types.

The bigger question we would have is which machines are going to be most effective at fixing the problem. IPL is not the best device for permanent hair removal. If you are light skinned, you would want to seek out a "diode" or "alexandrite" laser such as the Lumenis Lightsheer or Cynosure Apogee. If you are dark skinned, you would want to seek out a long pulsed Nd:Yg laser such as a Sciton Profile. Searching for these lasers (and an experienced practitioner) will give you the best chance of solving your problem.

We do not feel that IPL, regardless of your skin type will lead to permanent hair removal. Good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.