ipl vs laser hair removal

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering about your options when it comes to hair removal. Not knowing whether IPL or Laser is the way to go can be quite confusing. There is loads of information out there but it may seem too technical and simply beyond the scope for some of us. I’ll try to break it down as simply as possible so that you can make up your mind which hair removal method is right for you. At the end of the article you’ll find a short summary for IPL vs Laser Hair Removal to get the general idea.

Intense Pulsed Light

IPL can be used not only for hair removal but for other skin care treatments too. You may combine IPL with various filters that let target different areas on your skin. As a result of that, you can remove hair, treat skin pigmentations, sun damage and thread veins. Doesn’t sound bad, does it? In addition, the fact that intense pulsed light is more scattered makes it less dangerous for casual users.

Read More: IPL Benefits and Side Effects

How Does It Work?


IPL uses a high-energy flashgun that delivers intense light. The light has wide spectrum and attacks specific structures like melanin, oxyhemoglobin that you can find in vessels.

What Types of Skin Does It Work On?

IPL is for those with light skin only. Since the light beam that flashgun emits is so scattered it could terribly damage darker skin. The reason behind that is higher concentration of melanin in skin. As you’ve probably realized that’s what light beam targets. Using IPL on darker complexion can result in painful burns that will stay there forever. Be careful and consult your doctor before taking any IPL related procedure.

I’ve read quite a lot about IPL and some companies do say that IPL can be used on darker skin. However, it’s not going to be as effective. All in all, the paler you are the better it works on your complexion. I also advise you to read an article about laser hair removal for dark skin here to know your options.

What Color of Hair Does It Work On?

IPL is most effective on darker coarse hair. In other words, the darker hair you have and the bigger the contrast between your skin and hair, the more likely it is to remove them.

Price

IPL is one of the cheapest options when it comes to hair removal. Obviously, excluding shaving, waxing, depilating or epilating. I personally like IPL, because you can buy a device for as low as $160 on amazon and start removing hair yourself. Easy as that.

If you want a professional to do the job, it will of course cost more. Here are the approximate prices for different body parts per session.

Procedure

Price

Full face

$69

Chin

$35

Neck (front or back)

$49

Underarms

$35

Full legs

$209

Full arms

$169

Prices tend to be lower if you prepay for 6 sessions in advance. Let me assure you that one session is truly not enough to achieve the results you want

Laser

The world first heard about laser hair removal in 1998. We could say it’s been a long time ago while we might as well just think that it wasn’t so long ago. Depends on how you look at it. Anyway, laser hair removal has been around for a while and a lot of us know it.

How Does It Work?


Laser hair removal is the process of shooting hair follicles without damaging skin.

Why do you think you feel warmer with dark clothes? Why is it so hard to wear black clothes when it’s hot in the summer? That’s because dark objects absorb light. You could also call that light heat. Simply speaking, laser emits lights that is of high energy that then is absorbed by melanin in our skin. Therefore, when we use laser to remove hair, it attacks melanin in the area that causes hair growth. That area is called follicle. Thus, follicle burns out and the surrounding area of skin is not affected.

What Types of Skin Does It Work On?

Laser hair removal mostly works for pale to brown skin. While most of the time it’s not recommended for dark skin, new technology Nd: YAG proves that hair removal for dark skin is indeed possible. Laser is suitable for most hair colors except for white/grey, red and blonde. Sadly, for blondies like me, permanent laser hair removal is not an option yet.

Price

Once again using a laser machine at home is much cheaper than going to a clinic to get the procedures. However, since laser beams are so concentrated with energy, they’re not always safe to use at home. For now, I know only one laser hair machine that you could use at home to remove hair. Here is my list with all the possible devices for permanent hair removal at home. If you choose to remove hair at home, it may cost you around $500.

Here is a table for approximate prices per session in New York clinics.

Procedure

Price

Full face

$450

Chin

$200

Regular bikini

$300

Underarms

$200

Full legs

$600

Full arms

$600

Once again, prices tend to be a bit lower if you prepay for multiple sessions. As you‘ve noticed, they‘re more expensive than IPL procedures.

IPL vs Laser Hair Removal

Here are a few overall differences between ipl and laser to get the final idea! 🙂

Difference Between Technologies

IPL scatters light while laser concentrates it into one point. Therefore, each IPL ray has lower energy when each follicle is reached, however it covers bigger amount of surface than laser.

Types of Skin that IPL or Laser Work On

Intense pulsed light is mostly suitable just for light skin. The paler, the better so to say. On the other hand, laser is suitable for all types of skin, even for darker complexions.

Hair Color Suitable for Technologies

IPL mostly works on darker, coarse hair since it creates bigger contrast with pale skin. Laser is great with all hair colors except for white/grey, blonde and red.

Difference Between Prices

As you’ve already noticed laser hair removal is much more expensive than IPL. However, it tends to be more effective. I guess in a sense IPL shouldn’t even be called permanent since it just reduces the amount of hair you have and laser removes them for good. That explains the prices quite well.

Read More: Types of Affordable Laser Hair Removal

IPL or Laser Hair Removal?

IPL

Laser

Scattered light

Concentrated light

Pale to light brown skin

All types of skin

Dark brown to black hair

All hair types except for white/grey, red and blonde

Lower Price

Higher Price

Which Method to Remove Hair Should You Use?

You have to consider your needs, how much you’re able to spend and your physical features, of course. If you just want to try permanent hair removal, I advise you to by an IPL flashgun for a considerate price and see how that works on you. If you’re more experienced and sure that you cannot live with the hair of yours anymore, go to the clinic and get your hair removed with a laser. If you’re inclined to save money, you can always buy a laser hair machine for your home. However, be careful and learn to use it properly beforehand. Permanent hair removal isn’t a game since it can seriously damage your skin.

I most sincerely hope that now you have an idea of what permanent hair removal is and what you need to use to remove hair. After reading this article, you should know most of the general ideas about IPL vs laser hair removal. Please be careful with whatever you choose to do. I greatly advise you to see a dermatologist before making any decisions too.