Tired of short term measures for hair removal? Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Laser treatments are two options to permanently remove unwanted hairs. Both use light to heat up and damage the hair follicle, preventing it to grow again. The difference is the light source used. IPL uses broad-spectrum light whereas laser hair removal utilizes the properties of a laser.
Both methods treat the usual unwanted hair areas, such as upper lip under arm and bikini lines; even larger surface areas such as half arm and half leg. For men, treatment areas include face and neck, chest and back.
Here is a quick look at some of the other methods for hair removal. They are mainly divided into those that remove the shafts of hair out on the skin’s surface, those that uproots the hairs and the permanent solutions of damaging the follicles so they don’t grow back:
IPL Treatment for Hair Removal
IPL uses broad-spectrum high-intensity light to heat up the hairs and damage follicles so they don’t come back. It uses multiple wavelengths generally in the 500nm to 1200nm range. Harmful shorter wavelengths of below 400nm are removed. In hair removal, it targets the melanin pigment in the hairs, where it absorbs the light energy, gets heated up and damages the follicle.
- Permanent Solution
- Pain should be tolerable – akin to the flicker of a rubber-band on the skin with each blast of light treatment
- Scattered light covers larger area
- Usually requires a few treatment sessions
- Not effective if the hair is light in colour
- Not suitable for darker skin tones
Laser Treatment for Hair Removal
Laser uses a single wavelength of light; they focused into a small area and travel deep into the pore to kill the base of the hair follicles. It is more specific in the treatment it gives.
- Permanent Solution
- Depending on a person’s threshold for pain, but the zips are very fast.
- Can be more suited to those with darker skin
- Permanent reduction after a fewer treatments
- Doesn’t work as well on those with very light or thin hair
- The laser treatment can be costly
IPL Vs Laser
Both IPL and Laser hair removal treatments are permanent solutions and utilizes heat to damage the hair follicles so they don’t grow back. The choice is a personal preference for some and depending on skin tone for others.
IPL uses a broad spectrum light which covers a wider area. Laser treatment is a more precise and targets the hair only.
Areas of treatments
Both IPL and Lasers treat the same areas of the body. Settings on both can be adjusted to suit patient’s specific needs.
Given their light properties, IPL should be better suited at treating large areas with its scattered light and broader reach while lasers are better for localized hair removal given its precision focus.
IPL is suitable for lighter skin tones and not recommended for use for darker skin tones. Laser treatment targets individual hairs and can be used for darker skin types.
With hairs at different stages of growth and some hair follicles lay dormant until they grow, a few treatments are required for both methods.
Treatment time – IPL with a broader treatment area would require a shorter session time then laser treatments.
Number of Sessions -Laser treatments on the other hand, may require less number of treatment sessions with it being a precise treatment.
Generally, IPL is cheaper than laser treatments but may require more sessions.