When comparing laser hair removal to IPL hair removal there are certain variables to judge including the effectiveness or outcomes, expertise and qualifications needed and the target chromophore within the skin.
The wavelength of light used decides how deep the light or laser energy penetrates into the skin therefore altering whatever structures are in that particular layer. IPL or Intense Pulsed Light, as it is multiple wavelengths is superior for treating multiple skin conditions such as pigmentation, capillaries and sun damage which lie in a similar area within the skin. A hair removal laser (such as the Alexandrite) and its single or targeted wavelength is better suited to the melanin residing within the base of the hair follicle, effectively destroying the cells responsible for growing another hair.
Licensed laser operators must hold a certificate qualification which represents a theoretical exam in addition to a minimum number of hours logged utilizing the laser hair removal technology. IPL on the other hand requires no such qualification and many can in fact be purchased quite cheaply leading to a large number of operators incorrectly using the technology in an unskilled manner. This can lead to permanent side effects such as burning, scarring and discolouration in the skin.
Laser is often less painful than IPL, doesn’t require messy ultrasound gels and generally requires much less treatment to achieve the desired hair removal result. IPL can sometimes have larger spot sizes than laser but often lasers have a faster repetition rate which allows a higher frequency of pulses to be fired off in a shorter time frame.
This means shorter treatment periods.
Both laser and intense pulsed light have their place within the cosmetics industry but when it comes to permanent hair reduction, laser hair removal is the gold standard, especially when taking into account the improved safety and effectiveness of the technology.