The Superiority of IPL Hair Removal Over Laser
In order to discuss the pros of IPL hair removal and its superiority over laser hair removal, we need to understand what IPL hair removal is and how the two methods are different.
What is IPL hair removal?
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) technology is hair removal technology that uses a broad spectrum wavelength of light from 532nm -755nm to heat the hair follicles and slowly and effectively prevent hair growth in the treated area.
What is the difference between IPL and laser?
Laser hair removal is a process in which controlled pulses of energy are directed towards the hair follicles in order to heat them and reduce their efficacy without harming the skin or the surrounding areas.
IPL technologies is a hair removal system using light of different wavelengths to treat the melanin in the hair, rather than the hair follicles, for removal and reduction of hair growth.
These methods may sound similar, and in some ways they are, but in other ways they are very different. Let’s look at the important details that distinguish them from one another.
1) Amount and Nature of Light
Laser hair removal uses controlled pulses of light with one wavelength, which will be between 400-820nm depending on the treatment.
IPL technologies use a broad spectrum of multiple wavelengths of light between 500-1200nm
2) Discomfort or Pain
There is a mild level of pinching pain in laser hair removal.
IPL treatment is less painful than laser hair removal, largely because IPL machines cool the areas as they are being treated.
3) Side Effects
Side effects of laser hair removal include redness, irritation, and crusting, which may lead to scabbing or increased pigmentation on the areas of laser light emission. These symptoms decrease gradually after treatment and eventually disappear.
Side effects of ipl hair removal include mild burning, which the cooling mechanism reduces, along with mild pinkness of skin and soreness. These effects subside completely in a few days.
The cost of laser hair removal treatment may range from $150-$800, but it varies depending on the area of the body being treated. Areas around the face are cheaper to treat than the areas around the hands and legs.
IPL hair removal is more expensive, ranging from $700-$1200 because of the complex technology involved and the lesser side effects.
Laser hair treatment involves concentrated monochromatic lights of a specific wavelength on the hair follicles, which penetrate deeper into the skin than IPL radiation and are more effective in hair removal and preventing regrowth.
IPL has scattered emissions of light of different wavelengths, which don’t penetrate the skin as deeply or destroy the hair follicles as effectively as the laser does. In simple terms, IPL hair removal is a gentler process with lesser side effects, but the tradeoff is that it’s less effective and it takes longer to get complete results.
6) Number of Sessions Required
Laser hair removal generally requires around 3-8 sessions, depending on the part of the body being treated and the individual's body and hair type. Facial laser hair removal can be one of the longest treatments, with around 70-80% of hair being reduced after the sixth session, but results may vary from person to person.
IPL hair removal requires around 4-10 sessions, with a gap of six weeks between each session, which makes it a very time-consuming process. At the end of this treatment, we can see a 70% reduction in hair growth in the treated area. People with conditions like thyroid problems or endometriosis require more sessions for effective hair removal.
7) Ineligibility Criteria
People with skin disease or skin infection are not eligible for laser treatment. Isotretinoin, a medication used to treat acne, makes the skin photosensitive, so people taking isotronin are not eligible for laser treatment. The facial laser presents a risk of eye injury if safety precautions are not taken during the procedure; pregnant women are also not eligible for laser hair removal because of the potential risk to the fetus during the procedure.
Though the exclusion criteria of IPL hair removal technology are fewer than laser technologies, people with tattoos and those currently taking NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are deemed ineligible for this procedure. Pregnant women are also ineligible for this procedure due to potential risk to the fetus.
8) Time Taken
Usually, laser hair removal takes somewhere between 10-60 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated and the patient's cooperation. If advised by a medical practitioner, topical anesthetic can be used an hour before starting the process, which can increase the total time to more than 2 hours.
IPL hair removal takes only 15-30 minutes and is a much quicker process than laser hair removal.
9) Overall Efficacy
Though a bit more painful, more time-consuming, and more likely to cause side effects, the laser procedure removes and prevents hair growth more effectively than the IPL procedure, and it is cheaper as well.
IPL, though it is painless, quick, and has fewer side effects, does not remove hair or prevent hair growth quite as effectively as laser procedure, and it is more expensive than a laser procedure.
The requirements and medical conditions of the individual, along with their eligibility criteria as determined by a medical practitioner, must be considered before opting for either laser hair removal or IPL hair removal treatment. Proper pre-procedure and post-procedure guidelines should be followed for either of the treatments to be completely effective and avoid any prolonged side effects.