Laser Vs IPL Hair Removal


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The results of the diode laser hair reduction treatments after the IPL hair reduction treatments

Laser vs IPL hair removal comparison


Introduction: Lasers and IPL action are similarly based on the selective photo thermolysis principle, where the melanin acts as a chromatophore. There are, however, fundamental differences in the way they are built and in the light they emit.

Results: A percentage average of hair loss among patients treated with a diode laser as a control group is higher, indicating the laser’s higher effectiveness.

Conclusion: The IPL has been shown to impact a diode laser’s effectiveness negatively. This is linked with how non-coherent light weakens and thins the hair, which impedes the absorption of melanin’s absorption and adversely affects the treatment results.


SOURCE: Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy

ipl vs laser
ipl vs laser hair removal

The main difference between laser vs ipl hair removal

The main difference between laser and IPL hair removal is the type of light used. IPL laser is not a laser. It is a broadband pulsed light source, whereas a laser is a monochromatic coherent light source. Both methods target the melanin in the hair follicle and deliver permanent results.

IPL and laser impulses reach the root of the hair via melanin. This stimulation has a ‘damaging’ effect on the heart and, after a few treatment sessions, will inhibit the core from producing new hair. Dark hair and fair skin are the perfect combinations to get the most effective results.

In-clinic laser treatment is a more selective process; therefore, the exceptionally high energy will focus on the hair follicle rather than the surrounding skin. Because of this, in-clinic laser treatments will yield faster results and be suitable for darker skin tones. Frequency, energy, and hair colour are all determining factors in the efficacy of the treatment.

Many people mistakenly believe that all hair removal procedures are the same. They are similar in appearance but do not use the same technology or provide the same outcomes. Many hair removal clinics claim to deliver laser hair removal when they only use IPL.
So, if you’re considering IPL or laser hair removal, you must first determine which is best for you

What is ipl hair removal?

IPL laser, or intense pulsed light treatment, removes undesired body hair, pigment, and vascular lesions.

IPL can target dark hair by employing a broad spectrum of light. The dark hairs absorb the light, heat up, and are damaged down to the root, like how wearing black on a bright day might cause you to overheat.

IPL laser hair removal treatments have one key advantage over waxing or plucking: they’re permanent. Any living hair follicle treated is destroyed and will not regrow.

Permanent hair reduction with IPL treatment works better on darker hair and may be less successful on lighter hair.

IPL devices are not lasers. These devices produce a broad spectrum of wavelengths (like a light bulb) and cannot be focused on a concentrated beam.

Because a range of different wavelengths is dispersed at various depths, only some of these are effectively absorbed by the hair follicle, causing substandard results and increasing the risk of burns.

  • IPL is not monochromatic, meaning that IPL has many different colours, and only a tiny percentage of these are effective in treating hair reduction.
  • IPL is not collimated and is, therefore, quick to spread out, making it less effective in hair reduction treatment.
  • IPL is not coherent and not reinforcing, making it less effective in treating hair reduction.

What is laser hair removal?

IPL vs laser hair removal are comparable, but they’re not the same. Lasers, for medical purposes, emit a single wavelength of light that is focused on a specific location. This light is exclusively absorbed by the pigment in the hair and does not reach the surrounding skin or other tissues in the treatment region.

  • Laser is monochromatic, meaning that the light emitted from a laser is of one wavelength (colour). In contrast, ordinary white light combines many different wavelengths (colours).
  • Laser is “collimated,” meaning the light waves are parallel. This makes laser light very powerful, as nearly 100% of the light can effectively treat hair reduction.
  • Laser is coherent, meaning the light is reinforcing and does not cancel itself out. The coherent light produced by a laser differs from ordinary light in that it is made up of waves all the same wavelength and all in phase (i.e., in step with each other) – normal light contains many different wavelengths and phase relations.

We will compare five factors to determine whether laser and IPL are better for hair removal.

  • Light source: IPL utilizes a wide range of light. This heats the hair and damages the follicles by targeting the melanin pigment. Laser hair removal uses light energy to heat the hair and damage the hair follicles. The laser concentrates on a smaller area and frequently penetrates further into the pore. Lasers focus light more finely on the site where the hair is being removed, enhancing its efficiency and lowering the risk of adverse effects.
  • Follow-up treatment: Laser hair removal is a far more complex procedure. It penetrates deeper into the pores, resulting in more effective results. This implies you may only need a few treatments to achieve your desired outcome.
    IPL, on the other hand, only focuses partially on hair. So, you may need additional treatments to prevent your hair from returning.
  • Treatment time: IPL can be prolonged and tedious because it’s performed in pulses, while the laser is rapid because it’s performed in motion. Average treatment times of IPL vs Laser:
Treatment areaIPL treatment timeLaser Treatment time under 
Under arms15 minutes5 minutes
Legs60 minutes20 minutes
Brazilian30 minutes10 Minutes
Back45 minutes15 minutes
  • Time Savings: The average lady spends 72 days (1,728 hours) of her life shaving her legs alone! The benefits of permanent hair removal with IPL or Laser treatments include significant time savings and increased quality of life.
  • Pain rating: IPL causes more discomfort, whereas laser hair removal is almost painless. With lighter skin and dark hair, we’ve sorted out the most common treatment regions and the average treatment pain rating on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain you’ve ever had) below.
Treatment areaIPL treatment pain ratingLaser treatment pain rating under
Under arms51

So, which is better: Laser vs ipl hair removal?

Laser technology is much more effective and achieves substantially better results than IPL, with most clients achieving optimal results of permanent hair removal of 80% or greater after four to eight treatments. Laser hair removal is safer, more effective, and the only way hair removal should ever be performed.

IPL devices, on the other hand, are not lasers. These devices produce a broad spectrum of wavelengths and cannot be focused on a concentrated beam. Because a range of different wavelengths is dispersed at various depths, only some of these are effectively absorbed by the hair follicle, causing substandard results and increasing the risk of burns.

IPL machines typically use a range of wavelengths from 500 – 1000 nm. As these wavelengths are exposed to the skin, the light cannot discriminate between chromophores within the skin. Due to the broad spectrum of light, obtaining sufficient energy to destroy specific deep targets such as hair is often challenging.

Main advantages of using laser vs ipl hair removal machines:

  • IPL is a cheaper, less effective technology for reducing body hair.
  • Each laser pulse takes a fraction of a second and can treat several hairs simultaneously.
  • Lasers are very precise and can selectively target dark, coarse hair while leaving the surrounding areas undamaged.
  • Lasers can safely treat all skin colours, whereas IPLs can cause burning on darker skin types.
  • Laser settings can be adjusted to suit your skin tone and hair colour.
  • Laser technology is much more effective and achieves substantially better results than IPL, with most clients achieving optimal results of permanent hair removal of 80% or greater after four to eight treatments.

Elite iQ Treatments - Laser Hair Removal Toronto


The Gold Standard Elite iQ Laser Hair Removal™

The Elite iQ Laser Hair Removal targets the hair follicle with intense laser light energy for thermal destruction to provide permanent hair reduction throughout a few treatments. 

During this unique laser treatment, two highly effective and proven wavelengths work together to eradicate unwanted hair.

The laser beam may penetrate the pigment of the targeted hair follicles and disintegrate the hair shaft without harming the surrounding healthy skin tissue, regardless of the patient’s skin colour, whether lighter or darker.

  • Permanent results
  • Safe to treat all skin types
  • Quick treatment
  • No downtime
  • Pain-free

Elite iQ is a dual-platform laser made by one of the industry’s leaders, Cynosure. The Elite™ is a dual-platform laser using a 755nm Alexandrite laser and a 1064nm Nd: YAG laser, allowing a wide range of treatment options.

Elite iQ platform is the newest advancement in the number one dermatologist-recommended laser hair removal brand. 1 It is meant to exceed patients’ expectations and other needs, as it is built on a foundation of over 20 years of clinically Proven effectiveness across all skin types. 

Increased power, speed, larger spot sizes, and short pulse durations allow for a better laser hair removal experience.

ipl vs laser hair removal
IPL Hair Removal Toronto
laser hair removal Toronto

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What is the main difference between laser hair removal vs IPL hair removal?

The primary difference between these two hair removal methods is the technology used. Using a focused beam of light, laser hair removal penetrates the layers of skin more deeply to reach and destroy the hair follicle. On the other hand, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal uses a broad spectrum of high-intensity light, which is less concentrated. This light is converted into heat energy, damaging the hair root. While both methods are effective, laser hair removal is typically considered more precise and often results in longer-lasting hair reduction.

Which is more effective for hair removal: laser vs IPL?

Both laser hair removal and IPL have proven successful in reducing hair growth, though their efficiency can depend on a person’s skin and hair color. Laser hair removal is typically more advantageous for those with light skin and dark hair because the laser is better at targeting the hair follicle’s melanin. However, IPL can also be a good option for larger areas of the body because it treats larger patches of hair at a time.

Which treatment, laser vs IPL, is more suitable for sensitive skin?

Both laser and IPL technologies can be adjusted to suit different skin types, including sensitive skin. However, laser hair removal is often deemed more suitable as it tends to be more precise, meaning it can target the hair follicle without affecting the surrounding skin as much as IPL might. Discussing your skin type and any concerns with a professional before starting a treatment plan is important.

Is there a significant difference in cost between laser vs IPL hair removal treatments?

Generally speaking, laser hair removal can be more expensive than IPL treatments due to the sophistication of the technology and the need for fewer sessions. However, the overall cost can depend on various factors, such as the size of the area being treated, the number of required sessions, and the clinic’s pricing policy.

Which method, laser vs IPL, has a shorter recovery time?

Both laser and IPL hair removal treatments typically have minimal downtime. However, some people might experience temporary redness or sensitivity after a laser treatment, which usually subsides within a few hours. IPL might cause similar side effects, but these are less intense. It’s crucial to follow post-treatment care instructions given by your clinic to ensure a swift recovery.

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