Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and laser hair removal(LHR) are two popular types of permanent hair reduction methods that use light to reduce hair growth in specifics areas of the body. Let’s explore these two technologies to find which is better – IPL or LHR.
What Is Intense Pulsed Light Laser?
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.
Benefits Of IPL Hair Removal
The top 5 benefits of IPL hair removal machine are:
- Offers considerable reduction in hair growth.
- Less painful when compared to other methods like epilation and waxing.
- Gap between sessions is relatively less.
- Works really well on dark, coarse hair on light skin.
- It is an economical treatment for unwanted hair reduction
IPL Hair Removal Limitations
Here are the top 5 limitations of IPL hair removal:
- Results take long to become evident.
- Needs top-up sessions to maintain the appearance of smooth, hairless skin.
- Does not work on fine hair or light hair.
- Does not work on darker skin types.
- Redness and swelling develop after the session, making the skin look sunburnt.
What Is Laser Hair Reduction?
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.
IPL Vs Laser Hair Removal: What’s The Difference?
Let’s know the key difference between IPL and laser hair removal treatment:
- Safety: Both IPL and laser hair removal are considered safe.
- Approval: Laser hair reduction is approved by USFDA. However, certain IPL devices are approved for hair removal.
- Number Of Sessions: Laser hair removal requires 6-8 sessions, against IPL treatment which requires 10-12 sessions.
- Permanent: Both laser and IPL offer permanent hair reduction, though a person needs more frequent maintenance sessions after IPL treatment.
- Painful Session: Advanced laser hair removal machines offer virtually painless experience as compared to IPL treatment.
- Average Session Duration: A typical IPL session is of 20-45 minutes against laser hair removal 30-60 minutes.
- Skin Type: 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.
- Efficacy: Laser brings better results compared to IPL.
- Penetration: Laser machines penetrate deep compared to IPL machines.
- Downtime: LHR and IPL are quick procedures with no downtime.
IPL Or Laser Hair Removal: Which Is Better?
Let’s understand which is better between IPL and LHR:
- 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.