Girl using IPL and another girl using wax for hair removal
Tips & Articles for Your Skin

IPL Treatment vs Laser for Hair Removal

IPL and Laser are both two effective methods for hair removal. Because both methods use light to heat hair follicles, people assume they are the same thing. However, it is not true.

Laser and IPL hair removal techniques are quite different. Each method uses a different technology to heat and prevent the regrowth of hair. The first difference between these methods is the light source used.

Read on for a detailed explanation of what these methods are and how they differ from each other. In this article, we will also go into which method is the best for you and what you can expect from each treatment.

Explaining IPL for Hair Removal

IPL or intense pulse light technology is a hair removal method that makes use of a broad spectrum of light with several wavelengths. Due to the technology it utilizes, IPL directs less focused energy towards the hair and skin area.

This is why it is ideal for hair removal. On the other hand, laser light is concentrated. This means all the energy is combined into one single light.

There are several different types of wavelengths used in IPL. The most commonly used is the 755nm wavelength. This light is capable of penetrating 755nm deep beneath the skin. What makes it so ideal for hair removal is the fact that it is attracted to melanin.

IPL is also used for melasma treatment and reducing the appearance of superficial broken capillaries.

Woman with melasma

Explaining Laser Hair Removal

Laser treatments target hair that is still in the anlagen stage. This is hair that is still growing. The laser beam is a densified form of light energy made up of highly controlled pulses of energy.

These pulses are absorbed by the pigment in the hair. Once absorbed, the pulses can reach into the active hair follicles underneath the skin. As the pulses are being absorbed, they start heating the hair until they reach the root.

This safely causes the destruction of the hair without affecting the surrounding tissues. This technique is also known as photothermal destruction.

Difference between IPL treatment and Laser for Hair Removal

One of the main differences between Laser hair removal and IPL is the type of light used. Unlike Laser hair removal, IPL works by releasing scattered wavelengths of light.

To control the light and target specific tissues, there are various cut-off filters that can be used, and this will effectively filter out unwanted wavelengths.

The most common structures that can be targeted using IPL filters are melanin in hair, skin, and oxyhemoglobin in broken capillaries. In some cases, the light can also be used to target rosacea.

This is why IPL is gentle, effective and can be used in individuals suffering from rosacea and facial flushing.

When being used for hair removal, IPL requires about six to eight treatments. After that, you can start to notice a total removal of hair in the targeted area.

However, the number of sessions also depends on several factors, including the person's skin color, hair color, and thickness of hair.

Generally, IPL is a less effective method than laser. That's why you are more likely to require more treatments to get meaningful results. On the other hand, new laser technologies being used nowadays are quite advanced.

They are way more effective than IPL, and there is less discomfort involved. To make the laser even safer, the devices are fitted with integrated cooling systems. Because of its effectiveness and safety, laser treatments can be used to deal with more skin and hair types than an IPL.

That is why IPL is mostly used for skin rejuvenation.

Laser hair removal home device

How to Choose the Best One for You?

There are several factors you have to consider before choosing the best method for yourself. Most skin specialists feel it's better for people who just want to remove excess hair to choose laser treatment.

However, these methods are both effective when used properly.

Therefore, you must first discuss specific concerns with your practitioner. It is also important to consider your skin tone, the color of hair, cost, and how flexible your schedule is.

With both IPL and laser you will need several treatments to start noticing results. However, because IPL is generally less effective, you will most likely need more treatments and more appointments than you would with laser.

Therefore if you want a more convenient method that won't have you making more visits, you must choose laser.

When it comes to skin types and choosing the methods that work best for you, you need to first have a patch test and consultation to determine which would be the safest and most effective technique.

Laser can be used to treat both dark and light skin types because most machines combine an alexandrite laser for lighter skin types and an Nd: YAG for darker skin."

How Much Does it Cost to do IPL Treatment and Laser Hair Removal?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, laser hair removal generally costs about $400 per session.

However, you must note that there are variations depending on the practitioner you approach.

There are also many other factors to consider, including the size of the treatment area and the time it takes to complete treatment.

On the other hand, IPL for unwanted hair costs about $300 per session.

This means that if you are to get at least six sessions with laser, you will pay around $2400.

On the other hand, IPL will cost you $1800 for the same number of sessions. The reason why IPL is the cheaper one is that the results are less effective. Therefore, you will probably require more sessions.

After making a choice about the type of treatment you prefer, you will also be presented with two choices. You can either do the hair removal for yourself at home, or you can find a practitioner to do it for.

This choice is just based on convenience and preference. If you feel like you can do it on your own, all you need is to find the right device.

You must also ensure you do proper research so you can get the best results.