Is IPL Home Device for Hair Removal Safe for the Skin?

If sun and UV are dangerous and can cause skin cancer, why the Intense Pulsed Light is safe. Thank you in advance Evi

Doctor Answers 2

Are at home treatments safe?

A general rule of thumb is: if a device is strong enough to cause a permanent change, it needs to be used under the supervision of a board certified doctor and by a certified technician.  At home treatments of this strength can be dangerous if misused.  

Greenville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

IT depends on the wavelength and chromophore.

This is difficult to explain without delving into the technical details. But perhaps an analogy may help to explain.

Light is composed of different "colors" of light that each have a specific wavelength.

Lights of certain wavelengths are attracted to certain colored targets called chromophores. Therefore it is essential to know the wavelength of the light. This will tell us if the target is water, blood, melanin, etc.

For example, if sound hits a certain frequency it will shatter a glass. However not all sound shatters glass; it has to be at a precise frequency.

Light in the ultraviolet (UV) wavelength has potential to cause DNA damage and cause mutations but it won't do anything for hair removal. i.e., the hair follicle is not the target or chromophore.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

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.