Difference Between Laser & IPL Hair Removal Treatment

Aesthetics Daily – When removing unwanted hair with advanced technology, there are two most effective cosmetic procedures that are often performed, namely laser hair removal and intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal. People often confuse IPL with laser, even though the two have significant differences.

Both IPL and laser use light to heat the hair follicles and prevent hair growth. However, the technology used to transmit heat is different. The use of technology to deliver heat is the fundamental difference between the two.

Either IPL or laser have similarities in terms of working mechanisms. IPL and lasers emit light that is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in the hair shaft. Absorption of light causes the hair shafts and follicles to heat up. This process aims to disrupt the hair growth cycle. The resulting effects of both can be permanent or temporary.

As cosmetic procedures that have been approved by medical experts, IPL and laser provide long-term results. Before trying out laser or IPL hair removal, it’s a good idea to know the difference between them.

IPL vs Laser Hair Removal, What Is The Difference?

The main difference between IPL and laser hair removal is the light source used. IPL uses polychromatic light with a wider coverage area, while lasers emit monochromatic light that is directed at a specific point.

Lasers produce very specific types of light. Its beam consists of one wavelength or color pointing at one direction. Meanwhile, the IPL machine produces light with various wavelengths. Unlike lasers, IPL light is scattered, covering wider areas.

How IPL Hair Removal Works

IPL, which stands for intense pulsed light, has a wavelength of 420nm – 1200nm. With a wider spectrum, IPL is able to deliver a wider range of aesthetic treatments including hair removal.

The IPL device emits light at a specific wavelength which is absorbed by the pigments in the hair follicles. Furthermore, the energy of IPL light which is absorbed by the pigments in the hair follicles is converted into heat. Hair follicles that have been damaged by heat will inhibit hair growth. Within one and two weeks, the hair will fall out.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin in the hair follicles with laser beams. The light energy absorbed by the melanin then destroys the hair follicles is to inhibit hair growth. Several treatments are needed to damage the hair follicles during their growth stages. This process is called photothermolysis which does not disturb the surrounding skin.

Unlike electrolysis, which works by directing an electric current to a single hair follicle, laser hair removal can target a large number of hairs in a single treatment session. Within 1 – 3 weeks, dead hair that appears through the skin will fall out. Laser hair removal only affects hairs that grow actively in the anagen phase.

Benefits of IPL and Laser Hair Removal

Generally, people will choose the best hair removal method that gives long term results. The simple reason is that they don’t want to deal with troublesome hair removal methods like waxing, shaving, and plucking. Fortunately, nowadays there are IPL machines and lasers that can provide patients with hair reduction. However, to give optimal results, patients need to receive multiple treatments as recommended by the doctor.

Advantages of IPL Hair Removal

In contrast to concentrated laser light, IPL uses a broader spectrum of light. Thus, IPL is able to reach wider areas of the body. Moreover, with wider coverage areas the treatment time will be shorter. Thus, the maintenance price will also be cheaper.

difference laser intense pulsed light ipl hair removal benefits advantages side effects risks
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IPL is a quick and easy solution to removing annoyingly unwanted hair. To give excellent results, IPL requires about 6 – 8 treatments. Over time, you will see a significant reduction in hair growth.

If the hair grows back, it will be lighter and smoother than before. Hair will also appear less frequent. Unlike other methods such as waxing or shaving, IPL will not cause ingrown hairs.

Advantages of Laser Hair Removal

Unlike waxing, laser hair removal can be done when the hair is very short. Laser hair removal can inhibit hair growth for a long time. So, you don’t have to think about the hairs you don’t want it grow again. If the hair grows back, it is usually thinner and sparse than it was before the treatment.

Laser hair removal does not cause ingrown hairs like shaving or waxing does. Laser hair removal may sound expensive at first, but it is more cost effective in the long run than other traditional hair removal methods. Treatment time is also short, around 20 minutes for underarm and Brazilian area.

Moreover, laser hair removal uses advanced technology that has been approved by medical experts so you don’t need to doubt the safety level. What’s more, laser hair removal treatments are only done by experienced dermatologists and practitioners. After treatment, you can do your daily activities as usual.

IPL & Laser Hair Removal, Are They Really Safe?

Basically, IPL and laser hair removal are safe because they have gained recognition by medical experts. In addition, IPL and laser hair removal treatments are performed by trained professional dermatologists or experienced practitioners. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have side effects.

IPL and lasers have side effects just like any other medical procedure. However, the minor side effects of IPL and laser are mild and can go away within hours or days. To determine if the IPL and laser are safe for you, consult your problem with the doctor. The doctor will provide the best solution and determine the type of hair removal treatment that is most appropriate for your skin type and condition.

Side Effects of IPL Hair Removal

IPL treatment is best suited for those with light skin and dark hair. This is because of the strong contrast between the melanin in the skin and the targeted hair follicles. You also need to pay attention to your hair color. IPL is not effective for those with light blonde, gray, red, and white hair.

Some particular precautions that you must follow, IPL is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. IPL is also not used for tattooed skin or skin with certain conditions such as psoriasis or photosensitivity. In addition, IPL is not for removing hair on moles and sunburn.

Some of the most common side effects are redness which may be followed by a little swelling. These symptoms can be alleviated by applying an antiseptic gel on the treated area. In addition, there will be changes in pigment color. The side effects will disappear within hours to days.

Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal emits a focused beam in one direction. This makes the laser more painful than IPL. In addition, the concentrated beam of a laser machine makes the treatment coverage relatively narrow.

Laser hair removal treatment side effects vary depending on hair color, skin type, and treatment plan. Patient compliance with the procedures before and after treatment also affects the occurrence of side effects.

Depending on the sensitivity of the skin, the patient may experience discomfort, swelling, and redness. Laser hair removal will also make the skin discolored. Some of these common symptoms usually go away within a few hours.

Which is The Best, IPL or Laser Hair Removal?

The best hair removal treatment method depends on the patients’ skin types and conditions as well as the problem they face. For example, the IPL machine is not effective for dark skin. The reason is, there is no strong contrast between melanin in the skin and hair follicles.

As a guide before trying IPL, you can use the widely known numerical table, the Fitzpatrick scale. This scale assesses skin tone according to their response to UV rays. The assessment is from the lightest skin with a number 1 to the darkest skin with a number 6.

IPL at-home devices and laser hair removal may make it easier for you to perform treatments at home. However, if you use it wrongly, it will actually cause wounds or further skin problems. To be safer, you should see a doctor to find a hair removal method that suits your skin type and condition.

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