Hair removal can be a nuisance at the best of times. Whether you’re waxing, epilating or shaving, day in day out, it can start to feel like a real chore. Thankfully, the cosmetic world has come up with new treatments that can permanently reduce unwanted hair in a simple and effective manner.
Two of the most popular hair removal treatments at the moment are Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Laser hair removal. Both of these methods are very similar, and both can achieve good long-term effects when it comes to permanent hair reduction. However, there are certain differences that you should know about when choosing the right treatment for you. Let’s take a look at IPL vs Laser hair removal and some of the differences.
What is IPL Hair Removal?
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal involves the use of a pulsatile light based device. The light that is emitted uses a range of wavelengths that are absorbed by the pigment in the base of the hair follicle, killing the hair cells and preventing the growth of new ones. Over a series of treatment cycles, every hair follicle can be caught at the ‘Anagen’ or Growing Phase, to prevent hair from growing back.
IPL works best on people with dark hair and light to medium skin tones. These treatments will not work on white, grey or red hair as there is not enough melanin in the hair shaft to absorb the light.
IPL hair removal is generally not recommended for people with darker skin tones, as there is an increased risk of side effects like hyperpigmentation in the skin. When using IPL on darker skin, always do a patch test first and wait at least 24 hours before starting treatment in a new area.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal uses highly concentrated beams of light at the same wavelength to target melanin in the hair follicle. This focused light allows lasers to have a deep penetration into the hair follicle while leaving the surrounding skin unaffected.
The types of laser machines used in clinics can vary, but the most widely used ones include Alexandrite, Diode and Nd:YAG.
Traditionally laser hair removal was only suitable for those with dark hair and fair skin, however, due to recent developments in technology such as advanced cooling methods and longer pulse durations, laser hair removal can now be used effectively on all skin tones.
Like IPL, Laser hair removal is not as effective for treating white, gray or red hair.
The verdict: IPL vs Laser Hair Removal
Ultimately, the primary difference between IPL and Laser hair removal is the method in which the treatments are delivered. Both of the techniques have been found to produce excellent results. However, if you are planning to go to a professional Laser clinic, be prepared to pay more for personalized treatments. IPL is gaining in popularity with huge advancements in the quality of at home hair removal devices, allowing users to treat themselves in the comfort of their own homes and save time and money.