Published: Oct 12, 2021
IPL vs Laser: What's the real Difference?
In the world of beauty, Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and Laser-based procedures often lead to confusion so we go deep on the difference of IPL vs Laser. As they are both light-based, it is easy to see why people may think that they are the same treatment or have the same effects on the body. However, these two techniques are not the same and can affect you in different ways depending on which you choose.
If you are considering undergoing any light-based treatment, you must know the difference between each procedure. By doing so, you can be sure that you will get the desired results after your treatment and be sure that you have gotten your money’s worth. To help with this, we will be exploring each technique and delve into what each procedure offers better than the other. Additionally, we will be looking at answering some of the most common questions related to IPL and Laser, making it easier to choose which procedure is best for you.
IPL has risen in popularity in recent years as one of the most popular light-based treatments due to its easy and quick nature. Essentially, the procedure works by directing a broad spectrum of light at the skin. Your skin will receive this light in the form of heat, which should help to kill off problematic skin cells while also stimulating newer and healthier cells underneath. IPL is highly recommended for the treatment of issues such as Rosacea, sunburns, spider veins, stretch marks, etc.
What is Laser?
While there are a large variety of laser-based procedures depending on the specific treatment that you want to be carried out, they mostly work in the same manner. Generally, laser treatments involve emitting controlled pulses of light that can be used to penetrate small problem areas, such as hair follicles. As the light is highly concentrated and monochromatic, you should expect little chance of skin damage or discoloration.
Which is Better, IPL or Laser?
IPL vs Laser is a very common battle that goes on in the beauty sphere. While the IPL treatment is well renowned in the world of beauty, it struggles to hold a candle to a well-performed laser treatment, in terms of effectiveness. For treatments, such as hair removal, that can be carried out by both Laser and IPL, we have found that patients that have used the Laser treatment have generally achieved better results in fewer sessions.
Additionally, IPL still has a lot of limits as it cannot be used by all skin types or tones. So, if you have a darker skin tone, we do not recommend that you undergo the IPL procedure because it can lead to discoloration in the areas where the beam is shone on your skin. So, before you conduct your IPL treatment, you must carry out a patch test with your skin therapist to ensure that the light will not have any adverse effects that can hurt you in the long run.
Can Both Lasers Be Used For Hair Removal?
Hair removal is one of the many treatments that can be carried out by either Laser or IPL. However, each technique handles this issue in a slightly different manner. Essentially, Laser treatments work by directing a single beam of light at the hair follicles. Your hair will receive this light in the form of heat, which will help destroy your hair right down at the root. One of the main benefits of this method is that the hair can be destroyed without any surrounding tissue or skin being damaged.
On the other hand, IPL for hair removal involves using a broad spectrum of light rather than a single beam. Essentially, because IPL is not a laser, its light cannot be concentrated and uses various wavelengths. However, as only some of these wavelengths are strong enough to be absorbed by the hair follicle, the IPL procedure is generally weaker and more unfocused than a laser hair removal treatment.
So, if you would like the best effects for hair removal, we suggest that you opt for the laser treatment rather than the IPL. Additionally, if you have a darker skin tone, then you must stay away from IPL as it can cause discoloration or hyperpigmentation. However, you should not expect this issue with laser treatments because they are monochromatic and the procedure can be tailored to those with dark skin.
What Other Treatments Can Be Used With IPL and Laser?
In addition to hair removal, Laser and IPL can be used for various other beauty treatments.
Recommended Laser Treatments
1. Reduce Wrinkles and Blemishes:
Lasers can be one of the most effective methods of treating fine lines and wrinkles. Essentially, this works by beaming short pules of light in a scanning pattern on the skin, helping to tighten problem areas such as wrinkles around the face.
2. Remove Tattoos:
While some tattoos can look beautiful and add great patterns onto the skin, they last a lifetime and it can be easy to regret getting a tattoo. Fortunately, laser treatments are a great way to remove any markings on the skin that you may have. This works by using the lasers to penetrate deep into the skin to attack all ink particles that have been used to form your tattoo. With the ink particles removed, the tattoo should no longer appear on your skin.
Recommended IPL Treatments:
1. Sunburn Damage:
The IPL treatment is one of the most effective ways of treating any damage from the sun. Essentially, this works by using the light from the procedure to attack any discolored areas on your skin. This light helps to dissolve any problem cells from the sunburn, leaving room for much healthier cells to grow.
2. Rosacea :
Rosacea is a fairly common skin condition that causes severe redness on your skin. This can be highly damaging as it can cause disrupt your social life as well as harm your appearance. Fortunately, IPL can also be used to treat Rosacea. The treatment works by beaming light at your blood vessels. During the treatment, your vessels constrict or shrink, which will help reduce the level of redness on your skin.
Which is More Painful, IPL or Laser?
There is no simple answer to this question as there are several factors that will affect the level of pain that you feel. However, while you should expect both methods to slightly sting, IPL is generally thought to be less painful than laser treatments. Additionally, most IPL machines have an active cooling system that will help to cool your skin while the treatment is being delivered, which should help to reduce your pain.
In any case, you must speak to your skin therapist before carrying out either procedure. They will help provide the best tips to follow before the procedure that can greatly help reduce the level of pain that you feel. The intensity of most machines can also be adjusted to help reduce any discomfort. So, if you are feeling too much pain during the procedure, make sure that you speak to your skin therapist about this.
Does IPL Remove Hair Permanently?
While the laser procedure can remove your hair permanently, you should not expect the same for IPL as the treatment is not as intense. This means that while some hair will be permanently removed, some of your hair will remain and continue to grow. So, you must consider this before choosing which procedure is right for you.
Additionally, if you select the IPL procedure, then you should expect to have a minimum of eight treatments, though this figure may rise to ten depending on the intensity of the treatment and how much hair you would like removed. These sessions will generally be carried out over four to six weeks.
Is IPL the Same as Laser Hair Removal?
While there are some similarities between both procedures, you must remember that they are not the same. IPL is not a laser-based treatment. Instead, it uses a broad spectrum of light with different wavelengths to treat various beauty-related issues such as Rosacea and sunburns. However, it can also be used in cases of hair removal too.
If you choose to use IPL for hair removal, the spectrum of light will be used to heat up the hair follicles on your skin. If enough damage can be done to these follicles, then there will be little chance of regrowth and your skin will remain permanently hairless in that area. However, because the light from IPL is not concentrated and intensive, you should not expect permanent hair removal.
On the other hand, laser hair removal uses a concentrated, single beam of light. In the same manner as IPL, this beam is directed onto the follicles of the hair, but because the laser is more intense, it can get into the root of the follicle. This means that for any follicle that is hit by the laser, you should not expect any more hair growth in that area. This makes it a more promising prospect if this is what you want to achieve.