Both IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and laser hair removal are professional hair removal treatments that use light waves to penetrate the skin. These light waves are then absorbed by pigment in the hair, creating heat. This heat destroys the cells which cause the hair follicle to grow, preventing them from growing back, and so resulting in permanent hair removal. The darker the pigment of the hair, the more heat it absorbs more quickly, so both IPL and laser treatments are always more successful on darker hair.
There are many differences between IPL and Laser Hair Removal, the main one is the technology used to obtain results. IPL uses a broad spectrum light wavelength and laser hair removal uses a concentrated beam. So effectively with IPL the light waves are more scattered and have more shallow penetration, whereas with laser they can be targeted directly at the hair follicle and experts can predict exactly how much heat they need to generate to destroy the hair, according to its colour.
IPL machines are not lasers. They produce a broad spectrum of wavelengths (like a light bulb) and cannot be focused to a concentrated beam. Because a range of different wavelengths are dispersed at a variety of depths only some of these will be effective for hair reduction.
A more shallow penetration in comparison to laser means that deeper, thicker hairs are not treated effectively. In addition, some of the light can be absorbed into the surrounding tissue as well, leading to heating of the pigment in the skin. This is why there is more of a risk of burns for a darker skin type.
With laser hair removal the direct beam of the laser transfers more light more quickly, and therefore creates more heat in the hair follicle more safely. This in turn leads to more efficient hair reduction and less risk of discomfort to the skin, so most people can expect to need fewer visits to their clinic for laser hair removal than they would with IPL.
Experts now universally recommend laser treatments over IPL for hair removal, as Gillian Lowe our clinic manager says: “As technology has evolved over the years, we are now able to use the most advanced lasers from Cynosure in our clinics and would recommend that you should choose laser rather than IPL for hair removal. Laser hair removal is more precise at treating dark hairs, and with the Cynosure Elite+ laser machine available at Beyond Skin we can treat all skin types safely and effectively.”
Be wary of salons that claim to offer cheap laser hair removal as they may using the older and less effective IPL technology. Our Cynosure Elite+ machines are among the most up-to-date available on the market and offer true laser treatments which are safe and effective for all skin types.
To book a consultation with one of our laser hair removal specialists to see how the treatment could help you, please get in touch.