Laser or IPL — Which One Is Better for Hair Removal?

February 13, 2011 in Hair Removal 101,Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments are two of few hair removal methods that promise permanent reduction in hair, so it is no wonder that both have been very popular in recent years. Laser hair removal and IPL sessions are quite similar in practice but the technology behind the machines is not the same: IPL uses light energies, while laser machines are real lasers.

Even though laser hair removal and IPL are not exactly the same, they remove hair in a highly comparable way. Both machines produce heat while in operation, and the handheld device that comes along will need to be pressed against the skin, a few seconds at a time, until the entire area has been treated. The heat from these devices will burn the hair at the root and make it hard for it to grow back, hopefully not at all. The skill of the practitioner is important as he or she might need to make adjustments, or choose a different machine, depending on the skin and hair color of the client.

Both IPL and laser hair removal will generally work best on individuals with fair skin and dark hair, though laser can be done on dark and tanned skin as well. Some practitioners believe that IPL can be done on dark skin while others don’t, but the Nd: YAG laser is widely recognized in its ability to treat dark skinned individuals. A test patch should always be done before committing to either IPL or laser treatments, in order to see how the skin will react.  The color of the hair will also play a role, and light hair colors, such as white and blonde, will not respond to either laser or IPL while slightly darker shades might see a small benefit.

While every hair removal expert hold their own opinion, many will state that laser is better for hair removal. And that might also explain why there are more clinics that offer it. Some doctors believe that IPL is not as efficient in removing hair as laser is, and therefore will require more treatments or simply not lead to any permanent reduction. Other experts insist that IPL is just as good as laser, if not better, and can also lead to skin benefits. Both laser and IPL practitioners will usually promote the machine that they currently own as they are expensive and therefore can take a while to get replaced.

Regardless of whether an individual decides to undergo IPL or laser hair removal treatments, it is essential to locate a reputable clinic with skilled and experienced practitioners. An inexperienced person is more likely to make mistakes and potentially also cause more side effects such as burns and scars. However, if treated by someone with plenty of knowledge and experience in the hair removal field, either method should be a satisfactory experience.

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