Laser and IPL are both methods of reducing and preventing hair growth through techniques that disable the hair follicles. Both approaches use heat and light energy to disrupt and destroy the follicle under the skin, however their methods are different and Laser Hair Removal is widely accepted to be the more effective approach.
In order to understand why Laser Hair Removal is more effective than IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light therapy, it is important to understand how each technique works.
IPL produces a wide-spectrum of light that shallowly penetrates the skin. This wide spectrum is diffused, and does not target any specific aspect of the hair. Some wavelengths of the light are absorbed by the hair, resulting in heating and disruption of the follicle, while the rest are reflected away. Only some of the energy generated during IPL affects the hairs, making it a less efficient method of hair removal than laser treatment.
It is worth noting that, occasionally, IPL is referred to as IPL Laser treatment. This can be misleading, as the beam produced by IPL is wide-spectrum light and does not involve lasers.
A laser produces a single, concentrated wavelength of light that penetrates deeper into the skin to reach the base of the hair follicle.
The wavelength used in laser treatment has been specifically selected to target the melanin in the hair follicle, unlike IPL, which uses a more scattered approach where only some of the light is absorbed by the follicle. The narrow beam used in laser treatment is targeted, precise, and effective – all of the energy used in the treatment is being utilised for the intended purpose of hair growth reduction/elimination.
WHICH IS BETTER, IPL OR LASER?
As you can see from the methods by which the different treatments effect hair
follicle disruption, Laser Hair Removal offers a more targeted and direct approach. It also offers more permanent results, whereas IPL will require ongoing, regular top-up treatments.
Laser Hair Removal also works on hairs that IPL is ineffective at treating, particularly coarse or thick hairs. This is because the targeted beam reaches the follicle, while IPL light cannot effectively penetrate through these types of hairs to generate enough heat.
So why do some clinics have IPL rather than laser? One of the main reasons for this is to save on costs. A single IPL machine can treat a number of skin conditions, including excess hair, pigmentation, and capillaries, but does not treat them as well as a dedicated laser for the job, like Diode 808 Laser for hair removal. Multiple lasers will cost a lot more than a single IPL machine.
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