People often confuse laser hair removal and IPL. The reason for this is they both use light to achieve their results. However, they are different in the way that they work. Laser treatments use light of a single wavelength, but IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, uses light across a broad spectrum, with the ability to apply filters to target specific areas:
- hair removal
- acne scar reduction
- lesions (such as birth marks)
This makes IPL very versatile. Yet how does it stack up against the supposedly permanent effects of laser hair removal?
How Does IPL Hair Removal Work?
Light is transmitted by the use of a handheld device to the surface of the skin, where it is absorbed by the hair’s roots. It converts into heat energy, instantly vaporizing the hair shaft, bulb at the root, and also the papilla, which is responsible for hair production.
That hair, in that location, will not grow back, thereby reducing the total amount of hair that will grow on the affected area. It’s also relatively pain free for most people, and a great improvement on the various other options such as waxing, shaving, or epilating.
You’ll need a few applications before noticing a serious difference, but after only three or four, up to 80 percent of the hairs should be removed.
So, does it really work? And is it better than laser?
Which Is Better?
Choosing between laser and IPL is not as simple as it might seem. On the face of it, both techniques (laser and pulsed light) are more or less equivalent.
However, the development of IPL for hair reduction came only after it had been trialed for reducing skin imperfections. This leads some people to claim that there is an added benefit to using IPL that you don’t get with laser hair removal: better skin.
So, it’s usually a case of which you find better for your own personal situation, and that’s something that you will only know after the first consultation with a professional skilled in both techniques.
Given the cost of the machines involved, you may need to go to two separate practices, but be warned that each one will probably extoll the virtues of the system that they have chosen, so if at all possible, try to pick one that has both.