Laser Hair Removal vs. IPL – What Is The Difference?

Both treatments have been available since the mid 90’s but these machines are distinctly different.

Laser utilizes one wavelength to target selectively one specific chromophore (melanin). The energy is directed straight to the target and doesn’t cause any harm to the surrounding tissue.

On the other side, we have IPL (Intense Pulsated light) that produces a broad spectrum of wavelength (like a bulb) and cannot be focused to a concentrated beam. The range of different wavelengths (between 500 and 1,200 nanometres) is dispersed at the variety of depths only some of these are absorbed by the hair follicle, causing substandard results.

To heat deeper targets, IPL needs to employ higher energy levels which increases the risk of burns and other complications. Receiving unneeded wavelengths of energy can affect and damage multiple structures below the dermis.

A laser is more precise and can selectively target dark hair while leaving the surrounding area undamaged while IPL is cheaper and less effective technology for reducing the body hair.

IPL works like a flash-lamp sending out scattered wavelengths of light which means that affects the pigment in your skin too, so it only works for those with fair skin and dark hair.

Still, IPL has an important place in skin treatments. IPL provides adequate treatment for skin problems such as superficial pigmentation, redness and capillaries but they don’t provide good results in hair removal and aren’t suitable for darker skin tones.

The conclusion is that laser hair removal is simply much more effective and achieves substantially better results than IPL.  90% of patients have permanent hair loss after 3-5 sessions. These lasers are far more precise and can selectively target dark and coarse hairs. Each laser pulse can treat several hairs at the time.

Unique laser hair removal properties

  • Monochromatic – emittes light that is only one wavelength.
  • Coherent – light is reinforcing and doesn’t cancel itself out.
  • A laser is collimated – the light waves are parallel and divergent, which makes the laser light very powerful.

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