Shaving and waxing can be tedious and painful methods of hair removal, potentially causing ingrown hairs and shaving rash. IPL and Laser Hair Removal are both long-term treatments for reducing hair growth. Both of these products are light-based treatments and are often mistaken for each other, however there are clear differences between them.
In principle, both technologies work by the same mechanism, using light energy to heat hair follicles. This in turn interrupts the hair growth and prevents hairs from re-growing1,2. Both lights enter the skin and are absorbed by melanin (pigment) in the hair shaft.
IPL uses a broad spectrum visible light, and typically covers a broader area of skin. Laser hair removal targets specific, small and controlled areas of the skin3.
Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
IPL technology utilises a broad spectrum visible light, meaning there is less control in the application as it cannot be focused.
This in particular will impact the effectivity when used on darker skin types. From olive skin through to darker tones, it is generally advised to avoid IPL. As mentioned above, IPL targets darker pigments, however because it is a broad light, darker skin will absorb more energy. This can lead to burns or other negative side effects. Generally, IPL is more suited for use on lighter skin tones1,2,3.
Laser machines use concentrated beams of targeted and controlled bursts of light. These lights will penetrate and target hair follicles, damaging them and causing hair growth to slow or even stop altogether. Due to the concentrated nature of laser technology, less damage is caused to the surrounding skin and tissues3.
An added benefit, laser machines can use different light colours to target different skin and hair types. This means that darker skin tones can safely be treated with a certain laser type.
|IPL||Laser Hair Removal|
|Cheaper||More suitable for darker skin|
|Quicker session times (as it covers a larger area of skin)||(Often) fewer sessions are required|
|More suited for paler skin and hair||Quicker results|
|Not suited for darker skin tones||More precise|
Please select the option which best describes you.