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What Is The Difference Between IPL & Laser Hair Removal?

ipl vs laser hair removal

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Unwanted body hair is annoying and unsightly, especially as it hampers your look and causes self-image issues. So to help you ensure right grooming and get a flawless skin without the pesky hair, preventing you from wearing your choice of outfits, here is your guide on which procedure from IPL VS LHR.

What Is IPL? 

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. As the name suggests, an intense beam of light over a range of wavelengths, is used to target pigment containing components (chromophores or melanin of hair follicles) and other specific structures in the skin, to bring about the desired aesthetic changes by causing selective photothermolysis. This technology is used in hair removal, treating pigmentation and skin rejuvenation. Intense pulse light uses intense and broad spectrum of visible light, of 400-1200 nm over a range of wavelengths.

What Is Laser Hair Removal? 

Laser hair removal uses a beam of light with single wavelength, which is selectively absorbed by the target pigment called melanin in the hair follicles. This light energy is converted to heat energy at the basal stem cells and the pigment producing cell (chromophore in hair follicle) is disintegrated, leaving surrounding areas safe. This causes no further growth of hair from those targeted follicles that are destroyed by the heat. This principal of selective photothermolysis is used in LHR treatment, where different laser devices with varying intensity and controlled fluence, are targeted to reach deeper hair follicles with precision.

What Is the Difference Between IPL & Laser Hair Removal?

  1. Safety – Both IPL and laser hair removal are considered safe.
  2. Results – Laser hair removal is quicker (6-8 sessions) against IPL treatment (10-12 sessions).
  3. Permanent – Both offer permanent hair reduction, though a person needs frequent maintenance sessions after IPL.
  4. Pain – Laser hair removal is less painful compared to IPL.
  5. Treatment Duration – A typical IPL session is of 20-45 minutes against laser hair removal 30-60 minutes.
  6. Suitability – Laser hair removal works on all skin types, but more effective for dark hair and pale skin. In comparison, IPL works only on the pale skin.
  7. Efficacy – Laser brings better results compared to IPL.
  8. Penetration – Laser machines penetrate deep compared to IPL machines.
  9. Skin Types – Laser fluence can be adjusted depending on skin type. However, in case of the IPL treatment, this is not possible.

Also Read: Are You A Suitable Candidate For Laser Hair Removal?

IPL Vs Laser Hair Removal – Pros And Cons

Before you opt for either of the treatments, you must understand the pros and cons of each and how effective they could be for your skin type. It is recommended to visit an expert dermatologist to check the suitability of the procedures. A compilation of the two procedures is given below –

IPL Hair Removal

Pros –
1. Offers considerable reduction in hair growth.
2. Less painful when compared to other methods like epilation and waxing.
3. Gap between sessions is relatively less.
4. Works really well on dark, coarse hair on light skin.
5. It is an economical treatment for unwanted hair reduction

Cons –
1. Results take long to become evident.
2. Needs top-up sessions to maintain the appearance of smooth, hairless skin.
3. Does not work on fine hair or light hair.
4. Does not work on darker skin types.
5. Redness and swelling develop after the session, making the skin look sunburnt.

Laser Hair Removal

Pros –
1. Offers a permanent solution for hair removal.
2. Lasers precisely targets the melanin in the hair roots and destroys the stem cells responsible for producing hair.
3. The procedure is almost painless.
4. Brings great results for all types of hair and skin types.
5. Can be carried out in sensitive areas such as the bikini line and face even for ingrown hair removal.

Cons –
1. A number of sessions are required to see results.
2. The entire course of the treatment can be slightly expensive, but the results are long-lasting.
3. Mild redness and swelling may develop, but this is only temporary and goes away in a few hours.
4. Minimum chances of burns and scarring.

Also Read: How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost In India?

IPL Hair Removal Vs. Laser Hair Removal – Which Is Better?

  • LHR is comparatively better especially for Indian skin types. As it works good on Fitzpatrick’s skin types 4-5-6 without major side effects. IPL works good only on pale skin types.
  • Also many laser devices are available suiting skin specific needs of people, thus it is easy to find the most suitable device in laser hair removal, then proceeding with a single device, as in IPL, for all skin types.
  • Laser hair removal works on small areas of skin effectively while IPL works on larger areas but the side effects may be more.
  • Laser can give desired results in 6-10 sessions, but IPL would need minimum 10 sessions to show visible results. Also laser light can be controlled and managed by changing the fluence to suit each skin type effectively.
  • Many advanced laser technologies are USFDA approved and have shown utmost efficacy and safety.

Unwanted hair removal is important for both men and women. With the changing concepts of beauty, more and more people are looking for flawless and smooth skin without those pesky hair strands. While most popular and advanced dermatologic treatments vouch for laser technology, as most of them are USFDA approved and known for effectiveness on almost all skin types. Both LHR and IPL have specific relevance but for full body or individual body part hair removal of Indian skin types, LHR is more suitable and cost-effective in the long run. Be sure to check with an expert dermatologist before choosing any particular treatment.

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About The Author

Kushneet Kukreja

Kushneet Kukreja

A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.

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