Side-effects after IPL photodepilation

Dermatol Surg. 2002 Dec;28(12):1131-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2002.02117.x.


Background: Intense pulsed light (IPL) has been successfully used as an efficient hair removal system; however, possible side-effects have been not specifically addressed in the literature.

Objective: To assess all possible side-effects after IPL hair removal in a series of 49 females with facial hirsutism during a total of 390 treatment sessions of IPL photodepilation.

Methods: Immediate post-treatment clinical, photography evaluation, and a two-month post-treatment questionnaire were done in 49 females with facial hirsutism submitted to photodepilation with an IPL source (EpiLight trade mark, ESC, Israel).

Results: Side-effects observed were: transient erythema (n = 30), late evanescent erythema (n = 3), mild pain (n = 43), moderate pain (n = 6), crust formation (n = 9), superficial burning (n = 1), isolated vesicles (n = 3), transient hyperpigmentation (n = 8), transient hypopigmentation (n = 1), paradoxical effect (n = 5), persistent local heat sensation (n = 1), and minimal scar (n = 1).

Conclusion: Even though common, most side-effects secondary to IPL photodepilation are mild and transient. Permanent side-effects such as scars are unlikely but they may occur. Growth of new, fine and dark hair may be seen in untreated areas in close proximity to the treatment area, especially in the neck, a side-effect that is reported for the first time in the literature.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Facial Dermatoses / pathology
  • Facial Dermatoses / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hair Removal / adverse effects*
  • Hair Removal / methods
  • Hirsutism / pathology
  • Hirsutism / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome