The difference between IPL and laser hair removal
When used as a hair removal method, both lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) use light to heat the hair follicles and prevent regrowth. While they may sound similar, the techniques used for each are not actually, and the key difference lies in the light source used.
Laser hair removal
Laser treatment affects hair in its active growth phase (anagen). The laser beam consists of precisely controlled pulses of energy that are absorbed by the melanin or pigment in the hair and reach the active hair follicles under the skin. Essentially, the energy heats the hair all the way to the root, safely destroying it without damaging the surrounding tissue or skin. This process is also known as photothermal destruction. Most people require 6 to 8 sessions, after which the hair is visibly reduced or permanently removed and the skin appears smooth and even.
IPL for hair removal
IPL technology, also known as intense pulsed light technology, is not actually a laser treatment. In contrast to laser hair removal, it uses a broad spectrum of light with multiple wavelengths. This means that it has more unfocused energy around the hair and skin area. Therefore, IPL uses multi-spectral light, whereas laser uses single-spectral light. This means that the IPL energy is scattered and much weaker. The laser has a dense light, and all the energy is concentrated in this light.
Spectral light is measured in wavelengths (nm), for example, a wavelength of 755nm means that this spectral light can penetrate deeper than 755nm under the skin. 755nm wavelengths are most attractive to melanin and are therefore best used for hair removal. 532nm means that the light can reach 532nm under the skin. Red blood cells in the blood absorb this light the most, so IPL is very effective at treating broken capillaries on the surface. It is very effective in treating broken surface capillaries.
When used specifically for hair removal, IPL typically requires six to eight treatments to completely remove hair from an area. However, this depends on the person's skin tone, hair color, and hair thickness.
Which is better for hair removal, IPL or laser?
Typically, IPL technology requires more treatments and may produce less effective hair reduction. The new laser technologies we use in our clinics are more advanced, more effective and less uncomfortable than their IPL counterparts (because they are equipped with an integrated cooling system). In addition, this means that our machines can handle a wider range of skin and hair types than IPLs.
Skin care experts believe that if people just want to remove unwanted hair, then a true laser is the best option.
It is important to discuss your specific problem with your aesthetic practitioner and consider your skin type so they can advise you on the best course of action.