If a Hair is Plucked Shortly Before IPL Treatment, Will It Still Respond?

As said, I have had many problems with shaving, ingrown hairs, and irritation. I have to pluck a great deal of my facial hair to reduce these symptoms and have considered IPL for a while to combat these problems. If I were to pluck an area of my face and go in for IPL treatment, will the hair follicles respond or will I have to let everything grow back out?

Doctor Answers 7

The DARK HAIR ROOT must be in place for any laser or IPL hair removal to work.

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Therefore, do not pluck, wax, thread, tweeze, epilate, or do anything to remove the root of the hair before any hair laser or IPL treatments, for two weeks or more. The more mature, thick, and dark the root is, the MORE EFFECTIVE the treatment will be!

SHAVING the area to reduce the amount of hair sticking above the surface is actually helpful for the laser or IPL device, because it allows less light to be distracted by surface hair, and to get right to the root target.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Don't pluck

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It's best to leave the hair follicle untouched, so you shouldn't pluck it because that can damage the follicle. The IPL energy needs the follicle to be intact to be effective.

Do not pluck prior to hair removal

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In general it is best to avoid plucking, tweezing, waxing, or bleaching for at least 2 weeks prior to any kind of laser or IPL treatment for hair reduction. If the hairs are manually pulled from the skin then the laser or light device does not have a target and the treatment does not work. The hairs do not have to be long, however, you can shave or clip the area right at the surface. As long as the hairs are still in the skin the treatment should work. Good luck.

Jason R. Lupton, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

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Plucking before hair removal with IPL

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Whether laser or IPL laser hair removal, you should not pluck within two weeks prior to the treatment. If you do, there will not be a chromophore, that is, the target for laser absorption and the treatment will be less effective.

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Do NOT Pluck, Wax Hair before IPL Hair Removal

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For IPL to succeed its light energy needs to find and destroy an intact hair follicle bulb in its growth phase. Plucking or waxing hair greatly reduces the target area for the light energy resulting in a disappointing IPL treatment. It is best to allow the Plastic Surgery / Dermatology office to do a superficial shave on you just before the procedure, reducing the available hair shafts but maximizing the visibility of the follicles to the IPL light energy.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
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IPL: Shaving hair is acceptable, plucking is not

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IPL, and laser hair removal treatments work by targeting the pigment within the hair follicle; presence of a hair shaft can diminish the efficacy of the treatment. In order to maximize benefit, we ask patients to come to the first treatment with hair intact in the area in question. Once the patient is evaluated, the region is shaved and the area treated. For subsequent treatments, we ask that patients shave prior to coming to the office. Plucking hair can disrupt the hair follicle and is discouraged while undergoing IPL treatment.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
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You should avoid tweezing for at least 2 weeks prior to IPL permanent hair removal.

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If the bulb of the hair follicle has been plucked, then this will render an IPL hair removal treatment useless. The bulb needs to be in the skin to achieve a desired result. I hope you find this helpful.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
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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.