I have a love-hate relationship with hair removal. I, unfortunately, did not inherit my mother’s genes when it comes to body hair, she has never had to shave her legs a day in her life and the envy is real! I on the other hand will look like a gorilla if I skip a day of shaving. It often feels like stubble will begin to come through just from the walk between my bathroom and bedroom door. So, I decided that this year I would take the plunge into laser hair removal.
So, I had made up my mind, 2021 was going to be the year I went hairless! No more razor burn, no more ingrown hairs, no more knicks. Then COVID-19 happened, and I was forced to look at at-home procedures that aimed to yield the same (or similar) results as a clinical session. This is when I learned about IPL (intense pulse light), an at-home treatment where light is dispersed in attempts to target the melanin in the hair and reduce hair growth over consistent use.
Now, here is where my ‘melanin trigger mind’ (yes, that’s what I’ll call it!) kicked in. How would I know whether this device would only target my hair? what if both my hair and skin are targeted? would I be burned? These questions often run through the minds of POC, where we wonder if a product will be safe for us as well? thus birthed my extensive google search, and here is what I came up with based on my skin tone and hair colour.
Braun Silk Expert IPL Pro 5
**Sidebar** Isn’t this the cutest little thing? Gold and white colour scheme, nicely sized storage bag. Braun hit the nail on the head with this design, but I digress.
Braun Silk Expert IPL Pro 5 retails for CAD 499.99 and comes with two heads, one for larger and one for smaller areas. What I love about this is that Braun has added ‘SensoAdapt technology’ which allows the device to read the difference in skin tones and adapts the flash intensity to yield the safest results for your skin tone! It was at that point where I felt the safest device out of all the ones I researched (and believe me there were many) was this one. Here is a chart referencing who this product is safest for based on skin one and hair colour.
Now I won’t lie, I was terrified to use it when it finally came in, I put it off for three days just so I could muster the courage to try it on myself. But I put on my big girl pants and gave it a shot. The instructions outline that first, you must shave the area you intend to use the device on and do not apply lotions, oils or any topical creams onto your skin until after the procedure is over.
First use: Now, I wanted to say this was painless, but it isn’t. While using this product you may feel a slight pinching sensation. I didn’t feel any pain over my leg area but don’t be fooled, the higher up your thigh you go the more you will feel it!
I felt like that slight pinch made me feel like the product was doing its job. So, I held my breath, pressed the button, and speed through the more painful areas as fast as I could.
My findings: This took about 15 minutes to complete my legs, arms and armpits. I had no burns, scars or harm done to my skin. I loved the way the setting can be lowered; the highest settings were a bit too painful for me but bringing it down to where I felt comfortable was a top-selling point. Overall, it has been 3 weeks since I have started the use of this product. You must use it once a week for 12 weeks, and then use it for maintenance thereafter where needed.
I loved this machine and will continue to document my use of this product with updates for you guys. It is currently week 3 for me while I’m writing this, and I have seen a significant reduction in the speed of growth of the hair on my legs. I am currently compiling a set of before and after photos and will be posting a follow-up blog to this in the weeks to come!
IPL is not suitable for all skin types, this tale of gorilla-like body hair and my journey to destroying it all! will not be the same for everyone. Since we love our melanin, listed below are some articles about IPL on dark skin. Please be sure to do your research to make sure this path is suitable for you. If you happen to come across other options that have worked for you, please be sure to comment with them below!
Have you tried IPL-Braun? If so, please share your experience !
Until next time,
Stay blessed & true to yourself.
Current Trends in Intense Pulsed Light
Goldberg D. J. (2012). Current trends in intense pulsed light. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 5(6), 45–53.
Photoepilation and Skin Photorejuvenation: An Update
Martella, A., & Raichi, M. (2017). Photoepilation and Skin Photorejuvenation: An Update. Dermatology reports, 9(1), 7116. https://doi.org/10.4081/dr.2017.7116
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