What is the difference between laser hair removal and IPL?

What is the dif­fer­ence between laser hair removal and IPL? They both sound to be doing the same thing, but which one is for me?

Both of these treat­ments dis­rupt the growth ele­ment of each hair fol­li­cle to reduce hair growth. Both lasers and IPL (Intense Pulse Light) send intense light into the hair fol­li­cle, which con­verts to heat and destroys it.

So what is the difference?

Laser hair removal:

  • Laser pulses are short and intense so require a cool­ing period to avoid burn­ing the skin. This can mean the treat­ment takes longer and can be mildly uncom­fort­able– not rec­om­mended for sen­si­tive skin.
  • Laser hair removal can be adapted to suit all skin tones.
  • Lasers are one pow­er­ful wavelength.
  • Requires repeat treat­ments. It varies depend­ing on how fast the patient’s hair grows, but on aver­age, five treat­ments are required before results become prac­ti­cally permanent.
  • Laser hair removal is one of the most costly meth­ods of hair removal cur­rently on the market.

IPL (Intense Pulse Light):

Has been FDA approved for nearly twenty years.

There are no known health risks.

  • IPL is a very cost effec­tive method of hair removal– much cheaper than laser hair removal.
  • Uses hun­dreds of dis­persed wave­lengths in each pulse mean­ing accu­rate results.
  • Requires repeat treat­ments. On aver­age eight to ten treat­ments are required before results become prac­ti­cally permanent.
  • IPL lamps are very afford­able so can be bought and used in the com­fort of your own home-as soon as hairs start grow­ing back, you can treat them straight away instead of hav­ing to wait for your appoint­ment at a clinic or salon.
  • As the light tar­gets dark pig­ments in the skin, IPL isn’t suit­able for darker skin tones as it can cause discoloration.

It is worth not­ing that nei­ther treat­ment is guar­an­teed to give you per­ma­nent hair loss but both are FDA approved for per­ma­nent hair reduc­tion. Many salons adver­tise cheap and dis­counted laser hair removal pro­ce­dures, but the best places don’t have to resort to dis­counts. As with any treat­ment, do your home­work before sign­ing up for ser­vices and be sure to book only with a der­ma­tol­o­gist or licensed tech­ni­cian. If you choose to pur­chase an IPL lamp like this be sure to read the instruc­tion man­ual before use and adjust the set­tings accord­ing to your pain thresh­old.