What is better - IPL Laser VS Laser Hair Removal?

IPL vs Laser Hair Removal, what is better

If you wonder what is better – IPL Laser or Laser Hair Removal, this content may answer your questions.

Laser Hair Removal and IPL are successful skin and hair procedures usually performed long term to reduce hair growth. These methods are recognised to be very effective and highly recommended by doctors, dermatologists and skin health professionals.

These treatments not only prevent new hair growth but, at the same time, also reduce the growth speed and thickness of the remaining strands of hair. In most cases, people using these hair removal methods are happy. However, you must understand the difference between IPL and laser hair removal process to select the best way suitable for your skin and hair condition.

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IPL Hair Removal and Laser Hair Removal

A photo-epilation device emits a laser or IPL laser flashes onto the user's skin using it. The heat generated from the lasers heats and damages the hair follicles, which slows or prevents the regrowth of hair.

What are the differences between IPL Laser and traditional lasers?

Before deciding what is better, we must understand the most significant differences between IPL and hair removal lasers. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and laser hair removal are cosmetic procedures. Both were developed and designed to reduce or eliminate unwanted hair.

  • IPL uses a broad spectrum of light with many wavelengths. It is not an actual laser but a flash lamp that emits light across various wavelengths.
  • Traditional Laser utilizes a single, focused wavelength of light as a laser.
  • IPL wavelength covers a range of wavelengths (broad spectrum) that scatter within the skin.
  • Traditional Laser emits a specific wavelength of light that targets and is absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicles.
  • IPL has a more prominent spot size and may be less precise than laser hair removal. It can affect a broader skin area, potentially leading to more scattered effects.
  • Traditional lasers typically offer more precision due to the focused beam of light, allowing for better targeting individual hair follicles.
  • IPL is often more cost-effective per session, but the total cost may be higher due to the need for more sessions.
  • Traditional laser technology can be relatively more expensive per session.

How is the IPL hair removal method performed?

The term “IPL” refers to Intense Pulsed Light that utilizes the lights emitted from a broad range spectrum. This light source is attracted to the pigmentation of melanin in your hair. As a result, the IPL laser heats the hair follicle and penetrates deep into the layer of skin, causing damage to the hair follicle. The hair follicle then stops growing and goes into the hair resting phase.

Recently, a new, improved version of the IPL laser treatment known as VPL, meaning Variable Pulsed Light, has been introduced. Every hair and body type possesses different capabilities and requirements. The VP laser allows the user to easily adjust the settings for the light source to be suitable for your skin and hair type.

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How is the Laser Hair Removal performed?

Like the IPL hair removal technique, the laser hair removal method also uses light energy rays to penetrate deep into your skin and heats the hair follicles. However, the difference between the IPL and laser hair removal process is that the lasers used in this technique are slightly different in terms of wavelength and the structure of properties.

The laser hair removal process helps control the light energy emitted and allows it to focus on a particular area even if it is smaller. In addition, lasers can penetrate deeper and do not spread. Also, the laser produces single light colour beams. These laser properties lead to effective hair removal since the laser beam was designed to penetrate deep into the skin pores and damage the hair follicle in a specific area.

According to Dr Walters, the most significant difference between an IPL laser and a typical laser, IPL works based on scattered wavelengths of light. In contrast, a typical laser emits a specific wavelength. In addition, IPL is much gentler on the skin. Therefore, IPL is also used by those suffering from facial flushing or rosacea.

Tips for selecting the best hair removal method for your needs

Choosing the perfect hair removal method is a personal choice. However, it should consider that the colour of your hair and the skin texture can play an essential part in achieving optimal results.

Therefore, you need to analyse and determine which is suitable for your skin type to accomplish the best results. The essential basic things that need to be focused on while selecting are:

  • Type of body and skin.
  • The approximate amount you are willing to spend for laser hair removal treatment.
  • The amount of time you are willing to spend to obtain positive results.

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    Advantages of the IPL hair removal method:

    • IPL hair removal utilises a broad beam of light and can quickly spread.
    • It covers larger areas than other laser hair removal methods.
    • Since the time taken is very low, it is considered by some as the cheaper option.
    • The broad beam of the light spectrum has multiple purposes.
    • The IPL laser treatment can also be used to treat diverse skin types without any complications.
    • It can also be easily altered, especially for matching different hair and skin types.

      Advantages of the Laser Hair Removal method:

      • The characteristics of the laser beam used in the Laser Hair removal method are an improved version.
      • The laser penetrated deep down, reaching the follicle and hair follicles.
      • Treats the root of the hair, which can cause permanent hair removal.
      • Since every hair follicle is heated and damaged in this method, it can help you achieve faster results.
      • You might require attending fewer treatment sessions and still enjoy better results.

        What is the best option for facial hair removal?

        The IPL and laser hair removal can both be used to remove facial hair. However, you need to avoid using lasers to remove hairs from your eyebrows or the scalp. You can safely use both Laser Hair Removal and IPL methods for treating chin or upper lip hair. But it is advised to avoid using it in areas closer to the eyes because the sharp light beams from the lasers can damage your eyesight.

        Therefore, you must take utmost care and precautions to protect your eyes while performing laser treatments on your face. For example, avoid looking directly at the light source while using the machine on your face.

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        Side effects of IPL and laser hair removal treatments

        Both laser hair removal and IPL methods might cause mild skin irritation. You might experience swelling, irritation, redness, tender feeling, and itchiness. Usually, these side effects will last only for a short period. Soothe your skin irritation by keeping your skin moisturized and well-nourished.

        After the treatment sessions of both the Laser Hair Removal and IPL technique, your skin becomes very sensitive, so avoid scratching or touching. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight even after the treatment. Wash your skin and keep it clear of irritants.


        These methods take time and will require multiple laser sessions. However, in both cases, unwanted hair will get less. In some cases, hair will not grow back. Either way, IPL  or standard laser hair removal is more permanent than waxing or threading.

        Choose the best method suitable for your skin and hair type and enjoy the smooth skin results. Good luck!

        Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Walters MD (Dermatologist)