IPL vs Laser Hair Removal

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and laser treatment have both been proven to provide effective results for the reduction of unwanted hair.  There are many similarities and can be easily confused so this page can hopefully help you decide which is best for you.

How IPL and Laser Hair Removal Systems Work

Both IPL and Laser treatments use light to safely heat up and damage hair follicles but whereas IPL uses a wide spectrum of filtered light the laser method uses a single high intensity beam of light.  Historically the laser hair removal method provides a much more intense light so can damage individual hair follicles more quickly and permanently whilst the IPL hair removal systems have a bigger head and can therefore treat a wider area in one go (around 6 times more).

In terms of choice, there are a wide range of IPL hair removal systems to choose from ranging wildly in features and therefore price. On the laser hair removal front you’ll find that there is a very limited choice with the Tria Beauty Laser system being the only real home-use choice these days.

Are IPL and Laser Systems Suitable for you?

Both methods work by targeting the melanin pigment in your hair so if you do not have this dark pigment in your hair (ie your hair is very light blond, grey or red) then both these methods are not going to be effective for you and you should save your money.

You should also note that if you have dark skin or are treating hair over dark tattoos, birthmarks etc then you should avoid using either method as it can cause permanent skin damage. The nd:YAG laser has been found to not cause these issues but always check before having treatment.

These methods are also not something you try if you are susceptible to epileptic fits or pregnant.

Do IPL or Laser Treatments Hurt?

This does depend on factors such as:

  • How sensitive you are to pain
  • How sensitive / relaxed you are feeling that day
  • The intensity you set the light at (this should be tailored to your skin and hair colour)
  • Whether you are sweaty or wearing moisturising creams (this can cause discomfort)

However, in general the IPL method is generally considered to be pretty pain-free with a warming of the skin the only reaction.  Laser treatment is usually considered a more intense and painful method but again you can adjust the settings to a comfortable level.

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