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Differences Between IPL and Laser Hair Removal

There is a popular misconception about IPL hair removal that it is a treatment that is performed one time only for permanent results. That is not truth. Let’s see the basic points of IPL hair removal and if these hair removal methods are truly permanent.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) is called the process of hair removal using a combination of pulse and wavelength of light that makes heavy damage to the hair follicle.

IPL VS Laser Hair Removal. Is it the same?

IPL hair removal is sometimes confused with because of the fact that they both utilize what is viewed as a laser type of light.  However, IPL treatment uses what is known in dermatology world as non coherent light as opposed to laser hair removal that makes use of coherent light that is laser generated.

Main difference between these two types of light

Basically, the difference between IPL hair removal and laser removal consists of the type of light and the wavelength that is used to make some damage to the hair follicle.  The one isn’t necessarily better than the other as both of them are widely accepted forms of hair removal in the dermatology world.

How does IPL actually work?

We already mentioned that IPL uses a specific combination of pulse and light wavelengths in order to damage the hair follicle. The light travels from the skin’s surface right down to the root of the hair. It is then converted into heat energy which eventually vaporizes the bulb of the hair follicle destroying the hair. Furthermore, this heat energy damages the reproductive areas of the hair.

This process described above happens in the time of a millisecond for each pulse.

It sounds painful, but how painful it is?

IPL Pain

Well, there is an old saying that says no pain no gain.  It sounds true if we talk about IPL hair removal and the pain that is associated with this treatment.  With bit of research, scientists have found that the amount of pain received is different for every person depending on some factors including Pain Threshold, Sex (Man or Woman, usually men have lower pain threshold) and which area of the body is treated.

In general, pain of IPL treatment can be described as a small rubber band snap on skin, or a grease splatter like you are deep frying and some grease falls to your arms.  If you think it in those terms it isn’t actually that bad.

For a couple hours after the treatment there is some redness or irritation but will only last little. Some patients may take anti inflammatory like ibuprofen before taking part in the process.


Is IPL Hair removal permanent?

Well we can answer both a Yes and a No.   can be referred as a permanent hair reduction rather than hair removal. Actually, IPL manufacturers have not been able to permit clinics spas and dermatologists to claim that IPL is a permanent hair removal treatment.

However, IPL treatment will  reduce the amount of hair that intends to grow back on the treated area.  Patients say that, although it usually grows back, it is very limited and hairs are a lot finer than prior the treatment.  A percent of 80 to 90% of the area treated is permanently removed so technically we can’t say that it is 100% effectively.

So the proper term to refer to this treatment is not IP Light Hair Removal but IPL Hair Reduction.


How Many IPL Treatments are necessary?ELLA_IPL_for_Hair_Removal_&_Skin_Rejuvenation

IPL treatment is not a one time visit. It should take multiple visits and applications for you to have the desired results.

Usually patients return for around five or six  treatments initially and then they repeat visits once the hair starts to reappear.  If it does you can have another IPL session.

Where Can I Get IPL Treatment?

There are many hair removal clinics and dermatology clinics that are equipped to perform IPL treatments. Do your homework and get some references for clinics around your ares. If you visit a clinic it should be wise to ask for some references and qualifications. If you decide to proceed with them set up consultation to be aware of everything involved at this specific clinic.

In latest years, FDA has approved some “at-home” IPL hair reduction machines that allow you to do your own laser hair removal treatment at the comfort of your own house. The price seems steep ($200-$500 ++) but in the long run it is worth the investment because you will save a lot of money. First of all do your homework, read reviews and research these home laser hair removal machines prior to buying one. Some of them could be great and others don’t have the same quality results.

About Nicole Brooks

I am a special effects make up artist working for television and theater. I have a degree in aesthetics and cosmetology and I have developed a great interest in the area of hair removal and laser skin treatment. Through this website, I want to help people find more information about laser treatments and decide what treatment is the best for their needs.