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IPL hair removal or laser hair removal: What's the difference?

Posted by AestheticLasers on May 22nd, 2020

IPL hair removal or laser hair removal: What's the difference?

The primary principle behind permanent hair removal is ‘selective photothermolysis’ (SPTL). This is the matching of a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to obtain maximum impact on the targeted tissue. All this with minimum effect to the surrounding tissue.

Both laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) use light to heat the hair follicle and prevent regrowth. However, the technology used to deliver the light is really quite different.

In short, lasers produce a very specific type of light consisting of one wavelength or colour of light all going in one direction, which creates a single beam like a laser pointer. IPL devices produce a wide range of wavelengths of light to produce a single white flash.

IPL hair removal or laser hair removal: How does it work?


For the purposes of hair removal, both laser light and IPL light work by exactly the same mechanism:

  • The light (laser or IPL) enters the skin and is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in the hair shaft.
  • The absorption of light causes the hair shaft and follicle to heat up.
  • If the correct amount of light energy is used, the hair follicle cells are heated up to a critical temperature that results in an interruption of the hair growth cycle.
  • It results in a permanent hair reduction.

Laser/IPL Hair Removal provides hair removal to give you a smooth and silky skin


What does it mean in terms of actual treatment?

Due to the way the technologies themselves work, laser and IPL treatments vary in terms of:

  • Treatment time: Because the beam of light used in laser treatments is very concentrated, laser devices have a very small treatment window. Thanks to the broader flash of light used in IPL, IPL devices feature a bigger treatment window. And so can cover a much larger area at once, meaning a much faster treatment time in comparison to laser.
  • Pain rating: The single, more pointed beam of light used during laser treatment is often reported to be more painful than IPL treatment.
  • Cost: Laser light is expensive to generate, and so, laser treatment comes with a hefty price tag whereas IPL is often much more affordable.
  • Longevity of results: With 15 years’ experience of both laser and IPL hair removal, we are now able to say that results are similar from both treatments. But for many reasons, we have chosen to work in a non-medical environment.
  • Safety: Laser light is very powerful and can even be dangerous.  The bonus of IPL treatment is that it’s much safer and so can be used risk-free for long-lasting results.
Also See: Hair Removal, Ipl Hair, Laser Hair, Laser Light, Treatment, Removal, Light

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