If you’re looking for a permanent solution to hair removal, the good news is that there are now a range of safe, and highly effective modern technologies in the market. At the forefront of this is a choice between laser treatment and IPL.
But how do you know which of the two treatments to go with? Well, we at Persona argue strongly that laser treatment is significantly more effective for most patients. Not only is it suitable for all skins, but the treatment requires fewer repeat visits. Moreover, laser hair treatment is more effective in targeting deep and thicker hair, and safer for the patient overall.
If you’re keen to find out why, be sure to read our informative article.
Laser Hair Removal vs IPL: What’s the Difference?
Before we delve into the fundamentals, it is crucial that we first explain what the two individual treatments are, and how they work.
Intense Pulsed Light, or simply ‘IPL’, is a cosmetic procedure that seeks to eliminate unwanted hair. In other circumstances, the process can also be utilized to treat redness and age spots. The overarching concept is that the specialist will beam rays of light onto the area of your skin that you wish to remove the hair from. It does so by creating a large spectrum of pulsed light waves.
Once the, dark melanin = pigment in the hair absorbs the light, this is turned into heat energy ,thereby destroying the hair Although IPL still has its merits, the main issue is that the wavelengths from IPL are often too wide and non-specific to target the melanin in the hair. As a result, patients often require 10-15 sessions to get the results that they desire, and even more seriously the risks of also damaging healthy skin cells in the treated areas is greatly increased since the surrounding skin is also heated.
Now let’s look at laser hair removal.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal sounds very similar to IPL at first glance, not least because both treatments use light-based energy devices. Moreover, both treatments will aim to target the hair follicles, with the view of removing the patient’s hair permanently.
However, there are some clear differences. Specifically, laser hair removal is much more effective, not least because it generates a single wavelength of light. In doing so, the laser is able to target only the specific hair follicles that the patient wishes to target.
This is in stark contrast to IPL, where the process utilizes a wider beam of light. Moreover, and as we’ll cover shortly, laser hair removal enables the specialist to adjust key settings to tailor the treatment to the individual. For example, the specialist can switch to another specific wavelength to suit a darker skin tone. This is something that most IPL devices available in beauty centres cannot achieve.
The Benefits of Using Laser Hair Removal Over IPL
Now let’s look at the specific benefits of undergoing laser hair removal over IPL.
First and foremost, laser hair removal supersedes IPL as it is suitable for all skin tones. For those unaware, the darker the skin tone of a patient, the more melanin it contains. In layman terms, when melanin is exposed to the thermal energy found in IPL, it can lead to the skin burning.
As such, it is not safe for those with darker skin tones to undergo IPL treatment. On the contrary, laser hair removal allows the dermatologist to adjust the parameters of the laser. In doing so, the heat of the laser will be absorbed by the hair follicle, as opposed to the skin itself. This ensures that those with darker skin tones can preserve the healthy skin around the targeted area.
Number of Sessions
One of the stand-out benefits of opting for laser hair removal over IPL is that the former requires much fewer sessions. While the specific number of sessions will vary from patient to patient, IPL typically requires 10-15 repeat visits.
This can be highly inconvenient if you live a busy lifestyle. While cosmetic practices will strive to accommodate lunchtime visits, these slots often fill up months prior. As such, you might be forced to take a lot of annual leave to complete treatment.
On the contrary, laser hair removal typically requires between 6-10 visits. Although this will still require some flexibility in terms of scheduling, laser treatment is much more conducive for people leading a busy lifestyle.
If you’re wondering why this is so, it is the result of the different manners by which the two treatments target the hair. As noted earlier, IPL utilizes a wider beam that does not target the melanin in the follicles as specifically. On the contrary, laser hair treatment will generate a single wave of light that targets the hair follicle very directly and with more energy.
Moreover, laser hair treatment has the capacity to target deeper and thicker hairs. Once again, this allows patients to undergo the end-to-end treatment in less time than that of IPL.
Higher Reduction of Hair Growth
It is also important to make reference to the estimated reduction of hair growth post-treatment. In the case of IPL, it is estimated that the treatment is successful in reducing 66% of future hair growth 6 months after the procedure is complete. When it comes to laser hair removal, this figure stands at 72%.
How to Proceed With Treatment
So now that you know the difference between laser hair removal and IPL, you might be wondering how you actually proceed with treatment. The most important thing to remember is that no two patients are the same.
Just because laser hair removal is an effective treatment process for the vast majority of skin types, this doesn’t mean that everyone is a suitable candidate. As such, it is crucial that you undergo a one-on-one consultation with a qualified doctor.
This will allow the doctor to assess your individual skin, and carry out a test patch with the laser on a small area of your skin and thus – determine the best course of treatment for you. In doing so, you’ll receive a tailor-made treatment plan, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all solution.
The consultation and test patch will also allow the specialist to explain how the treatment works, how many times you’ll need to repeat it, what precautions you need to take, and the underlying risks that you need to consider.