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IPL Hair Removal: Is it Safe for People with Darker Skin Tones?

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IPL Hair Removal: Is it Safe for People with Darker Skin Tones?

We may have different skin tones, but we may still face the same problem with unwanted body hairs. And though we employ various hair removal methods to get rid of them, - shaving, plucking, waxing, etc. – we only get the same short term results. We can’t deny the fact that those annoying hairs will keep on coming back.

However, help has arrived. Technology has finally brought us a more effective way of removing unwanted body hairs: the IPL Hair Removal treatment. This treatment is readily available at derma clinics and even for home use. 

Today, there are lots of FDA-cleared and approved IPL devices that can be used at home. These devices are proven to be safe and effective in dealing with unwanted body hairs, especially with small areas like armpits. Compared to IPL machines that use a very high intensity of light, IPL at-home devices release flashes that are much gentler. This means that at-home procedures may be less painful or even pain-free – depending on your pain tolerance.

However, not all IPL at-home devices are safe for you if you have dark skin. So, it’s very crucial to choose the most suitable device for your skin tone and hair color.


IPL for Dark Skin: Does it work?

To determine if an IPL is safe for your skin, you should first understand how it works and why not all devices are appropriate for you.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a light-based therapy. The light energy targets specific structures such as the dark pigment in your hair called melanin. It makes your hair follicles dormant in which it prevents more hair from growing.

IPL is safest for people with light skin. This is because they only have small amounts of melanin. If you have dark skin, IPL will heat the melanin in your skin too. In that case, you can experience pain, blisters, and burns. Another side effect may include permanent to temporary skin darkening or lightening. This brings us to the conclusion that IPL hair removal treatment is safer for people with light skin.

However, there are IPL devices that are specifically designed for dark skin. These devices are combined with other energies to increase the effect of IPL. They use a lower intensity of light that is safe for people with dark skin. Still, it’s effective in hair removal. 

On Hair Color

Hair color also has something to do with the effect of IPL hair removal. IPL is most effective to those with darker hair. Dark hair contains dark melanin pigments which are its main target. Every IPL devices work on black, dark brown, brown, light brown and dark blonde hairs.

Having fair hair (blonde, red, white, or grey) may mean that you don’t have enough melanin needed for the procedure. Your hair will not be able to attract light energy. Meaning, the hair will not be heated, nor the hair root will be dormant. However, just like the devices designed for dark skin, you may still get results. However, you should be a little more patient because more treatments will be needed.


That’s it. We just learned that IPL is more effective for people with lighter skin and darker hair. However, some IPL hair removal devices are specifically designed for people with dark skin and fair hair. It is essential to know your skin tone type so that you will know which IPL device is perfect for you. In addition, always practice safety precautions. If possible, seek professional help.

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  • Princess Marasigan
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