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IPL vs Laser: Which One is Right For You?
If you are looking at permanent hair removal treatment options, you may have come across both IPL and laser hair removal. While both treatments remove hair from the body, their processes, results and technology make them vastly different. To decide what treatment is right for you, we’ve compared IPL vs Laser, discussing their their pros and cons and and how they differ below.
What is IPL?
IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, was initially used to treat various skin conditions such as photo ageing, wrinkles and spots. During this treatment process, a discovery was made that the broad spectrum light in IPL could also remove large areas of hair in one go. IPL uses high-intensity light pulses, rather than laser, on the skin or hair which is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. It is converted into heat energy which damages the follicle and hinders hair growth.
What is a Laser?
Laser utilises a single, narrow-focused laser beam that penetrates the skin on a deeper level to kill the base of the hair follicle. A good point to note with IPL vs Laser is the similarity in techniques used to remove the hair; light. When the pigment of the hair follicle absorbs the laser light, it converts the light to heat and damages the follicle’s ability to re-grow. This fast and precise technology is available for all skin types.
IPL vs Laser: How They Compare
Now that we understand each treatment, we can now look at IPL vs Laser and compare them.
- IPL is not actually a laser, but a broad spectrum of light that emits light at multiple wavelengths. Unfortunately, the broad beam is not as concentrated as laser hair removal and does not focus on a single area, but larger patches of hair. Laser, on the other hand, uses a single wavelength that is more focused and precise at targeting individual hairs.
- If you have dark skin, laser hair removal is the best option for you. IPL should be avoided as it can cause more trauma to the skin.
- Generally, 10-15 treatments are needed with IPL vs Laser, which only requires 6-10 treatments.
- IPL is usually a cheaper option compared to laser treatments. However, it is important to factor in the number of treatments you will need with IPL. At the end of the day, you may end up paying a similar amount to laser.
- Laser light is monochromatic (one specific colour wavelength, which is targeted at the removal of hair). This light will focus on destroying the base of the hair follicle, rather than the surrounding skin.
- IPL light is made up of many different coloured wavelengths of which only a small percentage are actually effective in the permanent reduction of hair.
IPL vs Laser: What Should You Use?
If you are deciding between IPL vs laser, remember both options require repeat treatments. The main difference between these two options definitely lies in the technology used to generate the light. Consider your skin tone, hair type, budget and time availability before making your decision. Laser is scientifically proven to give far more superior and long-term results than IPL.
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