laser hair removal

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or Laser Hair Removal: What's the difference?

Not everyone is comfortable with having hair grow on other parts of their body except their head. For those who want to get rid of unwanted hair, there are two options that are available are the IPL hair removal and laser hair removal. While both procedures are effective for reducing hair growth, there are some significant differences between them.

1. Light Source

IPL treatment uses broad-spectrum visible light. The light energy is designed to target the hair’s melanin pigment, heating the hair and causing damage to its follicles. Laser hair removal, on the other hand, possesses the properties of a laser. 

Like the IPL, this method also involves heating up the hair and damaging the hair follicles with light energy. However, lasers travel a long distance and are focused on small areas. Laser hair removal often travels farther into the pore and the light can be concentrated on the area where the hair is to be removed.

2. Follow-up Treatment

Laser hair removal is more aggressive than IPL hair removal. The former penetrates deeper into the pores resulting in a more optimal effect. You may only have to go for fewer top-ups to achieve the desired outcome. 

With IPL hair removal, the process itself is less abrasive but you may need multiple treatments spanning several weeks to stop hairs from growing.

IPL Follow up treatment

3. Treatment Time

Intense Pulsed Light therapy treats larger areas at once making the procedure quicker. If you make proper plans, you may not even need to take time off work or put other activities on hold to undergo your IPL treatment. 

With laser hair removal, only a few areas can be treated at once which means you will spend a long time undergoing treatment.

4. Overall Effect

Apart from reducing the growth of hair, IPL treatment can address a number of skin conditions including vascular lesions, brown spots, and wrinkling. The broader spectrum of light wavelengths associated with the treatment makes it possible for your provider to target a larger number of skin structures at the same time. 

Laser hair removal, however, does not give room for treating other conditions as it concentrates on a specific area. Your provider can not adjust the light spectrum to achieve a more extensive treatment.

5. Pain Rating

The light used in IPL treatment is more diffused. The heating, therefore, is not as intense as when light wavelengths are concentrated on a particular area of the body. 

The broader spectrum of light used in IPL treatment is delivered to a larger area of the skin. With laser hair removal the intensity of heat delivered to the targeted area is much more and this often results in pain.

6. Cost

Laser light is expensive to generate. Hence the cost of a laser hair removal in salons is on the high side when compared to the IPL hair removal. The latter is often more affordable but requires more follow-up sessions.

IPL treatment

7. Natural Look

The effect of an IPL treatment is gradual, making it look more natural than the laser treatment which produces a quicker effect. Your friends and family and colleagues may not even spot the changes when it is slow.

The Bottom Line

Both IPL and laser hair removal use the same technique. They use light energy to reduce hair growth and in some cases prevent it completely. 

Both IPL and laser treatments are great for reducing hair growth. You should, however, weigh your options and find out what’s best for you before making a choice. For professional advice, please feel free to get in touch with our friendly consultants.