When constrasting laser hair removal to Intense Pulsed Light hair removal there are many features to judge such as the effectiveness or results, expertise and qualifications needed and the target chromophore within the skin.
The wavelength of light used determines how deeply the light or laser energy penetrates into the skin therefore changing whatever structures lie 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 inside the base of the hair follicle, effectively destroying the cells designed for growing another hair.
Licensed laser operators are required to hold a certificate qualification which represents a theoretical exam in addition to a minimum number of hours logged using 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 unqualified operators using the technology in an unskilled manner. This can lead to nasty injuries such as burning, scarring and discolouration in the skin.
Laser is usually 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 places 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.