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.