Differences between Laser Hair Removal and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Laser hair removal and IPL are both techniques used to remove hair permanently from any part of the body. If you have been searching for ways to remove body hair permanently, then you must have come across laser hair removal and IPL techniques. IPL can be done by watching IPL hair removal at home online videos. Laser hair removal treatment is considered to be the safest method, but it has to be done by a professional.

Both IPL and laser treatments have been in use since the mid-1990s. IPL hair removal at home online website provides very detailed guidelines on how to go about the process. Many people get confused about IPL techniques, thinking it is the laser treatment. This article, therefore, aims at drawing a clear boundary between these two hair removal treatments.

The primary similarity between laser hair removal technique and intense pulsed light technique is that both methods use light energy. This light is produced by the respective equipment and is absorbed into the hair’s dark pigment to destroy the hair follicles. This, in return, will reduce the rate at which the hair grows back.

Light is absorbed much better by dark objects, a principle that is also used to pick the most appropriate clothes to be worn in summer. Dark-coloured clothes absorb more light and convert it to heat, hence not recommended for summer. With the same reasoning, laser energy is attracted more into the dark skin pigment, which can either be in existence in the skin or be introduced artificially.

Melanin is a natural chromophore that attracts laser light. Three types of chromophores are targeted by hair removal lasers, namely melanin, carbon, or hemoglobin.

Properties of Laser Light beam

  • It is monochromatic, meaning the light discharged from the laser contains one colour.
  • It is coherent, and this means that it reinforces itself.
  • Laser light is collimated, meaning its waves are parallel to each other, and this makes the light to be compelling.

The monochromatic nature of laser light enables it to be absorbed by melanin and not any other chromophore. The light can penetrate much deeper and direct the energy to the targeted point. The most significant advantage of laser light when used correctly is that it will destroy the targeted follicle without damaging the surrounding tissues. The laser machines are designed to produce just enough wavelength to apply on body hair.

Intense Pulse Light bulbs

IPL devices produce a wide array of the wavelength that is more or less like that of light bulbs. The diverse wavelengths are spread all over the skin’s surface, and at the end of the day, only a few manage to be absorbed into the hair follicles. This makes the hair removal process more difficult and increases the possibilities of skin burns.

Properties of IPL

  • IPL is not monochromatic
  • Intense pulsed light is not coherent meaning it is less effective in hair removal
  • Intense pulsed light is not collimated, meaning it spreads out all over the place rendering it less effective.

From this, we can conclude that intense pulsed light is not so intense after all. Because of the non-monochromatic property of IPL, the light produced cannot differentiate between the chromophores on the skin. The broad-spectrum, on the other hand, reduces the energy emitted by the light. The little energy remaining is not able to get to the hair follicles and destroy them as required. For IPL to reach the targeted hair root, energy needs to be applied, and you can find equipment that comes with different energy levels.

Advantages of IPL over Laser

  • Although IPL is a cheaper hair removal technique, its effectiveness is on the higher side.
  • Laser treatment is slower and can take several sessions to get rid of the hair
  • IPL equipment as discussed above have settings that can adjust the light to fit specific skin types and hair colour and this makes removing hair near the bikini line or legs and arms an easy job right at your home unlike laser treatments
  • IPL can be used on all skin types safely, while the laser is known to cause scathing and burns on dark skin.

The primary difference between laser treatment and IPL is on the technology that is used to generate the light and the different characteristics of the light produced.

IPL is the most effective permanent hair removal option, which produces much better results compared to laser. Most people who use laser treatment go for a maximum of eight sessions to report an 80 percent permanent hair removal.

While IPL is appropriate for hair removal, it finds application in skin treatment as well. It offers relief for issues like superficial pigmentation and redness of the skin but may not be recommended for darker skin.