If you want to have a clinical treatment for hair removal, one of the top choices is laser treatment. Another is IPL, or intense pulsed light. Both use light to target the hair shafts and follicles, which eventually can cause the hairs to fall out. However, the two treatments have distinctly different features. Only by comparing the two and weighing that comparison against your personal skin type and situation can you choose between them.
How IPL and Lasers are Similar and Different
IPL devices are similar to lasers because both treatments involve pulses of light aimed at the skin. Both treatment types are also similar because they can weaken hairs over time. They don’t zap the hairs away instantly. There the similarities end, for the most part. IPL devices use completely different wavelengths of light from laser devices. Typically, they are also not as strong as laser devices. Lasers also produce a lot of heat, which does not occur as much with IPL.
Why Lasers and IPL Devices Are Considered Convenient for Hair Removal
One of the top reasons to have laser or IPL treatment is to avoid or limit the need for at-home treatments, like waxing or shaving. Such treatments can be tedious and time-consuming. Like IPL hair removal laser equipment is efficient because it can treat a large part of your body at once, if necessary. However, both treatment methods are also convenient because they can be used on smaller areas as well. Therefore, no matter how much hair you want removed, they are good choices.
The Accuracy and Strength of Lasers Used for Hair Removal
A big difference between IPL and laser treatments is lasers tend to be more accurate. Laser pulses can pinpoint every single hair in a treatment area. Lasers are also stronger than IPL devices. You will probably need several laser treatments to see results, but you would need several more IPL treatments for the same results. For that reason, if you are a laser candidate, it may be a better option than IPL treatment.
Why You May Not be a Laser Candidate
In general, it is likely that you will be a candidate for laser treatment. However, if you have excessively oily skin, your clinician may recommend against laser treatment. That is because you may be at more risk for burns than someone with a normal amount of skin oiliness. You may also not be a laser candidate if your skin is too dark because the laser can cause changes in your skin pigmentation. Although, there are some lasers that can safely treat darker skin. If you feel uncomfortable with laser treatment for those reasons or your clinician advises against it, IPL may still be an option for you.
A Comparison of IPL and Laser Comfort Levels
In general, IPL treatment is less uncomfortable than laser treatment. However, neither treatment should be particularly painful. Your clinician can use cool air bursts and other techniques to keep you comfortable. Nevertheless, you may feel some heat, especially during laser procedures. You may also feel a sensation similar to a mild static shock or having a rubber band snap against the skin in the treatment area.
How to Make Your Final Hair Removal Procedure Choice
The easiest way to decide between IPL and laser treatment is to ask your clinician. He or she can give you a recommendation and explain the reasoning for that recommendation. However, you can also make a decision by considering how quickly you want to get rid of the hair and what your current budget is. Additionally, keep in mind that you may require repeated treatments of either type in the future because the hair will eventually return. So, you should plan to either need future clinical procedures or do some at home maintenance with waxing, shaving or other home hair removal techniques.