At home IPL hair removal devices – are they worth it?

Home Ipl

There are a lot of at home IPL devices on the market these days, and it seems they are being advertised more and more now that we are all staying home and are unable to attend our cosmetic appointments as normal. These devices retail for anywhere between $150 and $800, so from a cost perspective they work out to be a lot cheaper than in clinic treatments. It’s tempting to get one to continue your treatments instead of waiting for restrictions to lift. But are they worth it?


At home devices are small and have a smaller spot size and slower firing rate than professional machines, for small areas this might be ok but for large areas such as full legs or back and shoulders it becomes a long and time-consuming task. They also require you to perform the treatment as often as weekly or fortnightly which, depending on the area can be up to 6 times more often than professional treatments.


Although it might seem more convenient to be able to treat yourself at home and at your own leisure one of the most overlooked factors when buying an at home device is ability to treat yourself in hard to reach areas such as the back of legs, brazilian and lower back. Unless you have someone to help you, treating yourself can result in uneven coverage and missed patches.



All professional IPL and laser devices are classified by the Australian/New Zealand Standards according to the risk associated with their emissions. The medical grade IPL devices used in clinics are classified as Class 3B which means

  • The light they produce is hazardous to eyes when viewed directly

  • Human blink reflex is not quick enough to protect the eyes from damage

  • The light emitted from the device is powerful enough to cause eye damage

  • The power output of the device is able to cause skin burns


For a device to be safe enough to be sold for at home use without these risks and without the need for eye protection the energy output of the device is dramatically reduced.

The use of low energy levels may cause some damage to the hair to give the impression that the device is having the desired effects however one of two things can happen.

  1. What was once thick dark hair becomes finer and discoloured however still growing regularly and is now less likely to respond to professional treatment

  2. A phenomenon called paradoxical hair growth whereby the treatment actually stimulates growth and has the opposite effect and causes more hair to grow.


Our advice;

There are so many different factors that go into if IPL and laser treatments will work for you other than just hair and skin colour. The depth of the hair follicle, the thickness and location of the hair all play a role in what type of results that you can achieve.

In a professional environment, all of these factors are assessed and the best machine settings can be tailored to the individual client. These include:

  • The wavelength and spectrum of light used (in machines with filtered handpieces)

  • The amount of energy that the light produces (j/cm2).

  • The amount of time that the light takes to deliver the energy in one long slow wave or if it is delivered in several little pulses with breaks to allow the surrounding tissue to cool (pulse width and intervals).

So we  say, save yourself the time and hassle and leave it to the professionals.

At Southern Cosmetics we have two options for hair removal, Cutera Prowave IPL and Fotona SP Dynamis Nd:YAG. This means that we can tailor a package to your particular skin type and hair removal needs.

Unwanted hair