SeeBeyond Beauty

How Is IPL Hair Removal Different From Laser Hair Removal?

After you’ve decided to trade in your razors and waxing for permanent hair removal, you’re faced with yet another decision: Should you opt for laser hair removal or intense pulsed light (IPL)? What’s the difference? Find out here.

You’ve decided to reclaim all of those hours and dollars you’ve spent on shaving supplies and waxing treatments by permanently removing your unwanted hair on your body or face. But now that you’ve made up your mind, you have to decide exactly how to do it. 

Hair removal with both intense pulsed light (IPL) and lasers use the energy of light and heat to destroy or damage hair follicles. But these technologies each work slightly differently.  

At SeeBeyond Beauty in Scarsdale, New York, our highly skilled aesthetic medicine physician Joon Lee, MD, selected IPL as her method of choice for permanently removing unwanted hair. Here, she lists some of the similarities and differences between IPL and lasers to help you make your selection, too.  

IPL uses visible light

The main difference between IPL and lasers is the type of light they use. IPL uses broad-spectrum, visible light pulses that cover a larger area. Lasers use a monochromatic coherent light source. 

Both types of light target the melanin that creates pigment at the root of the hair. The IPL or laser heats up the cells in the follicle, which is where hair grows, and the follicle is so damaged by the heat that it can’t grow hair anymore. 

In the following few weeks, the treated hairs fall out. Because the follicle has been damaged, the hairs usually don’t grow back. If they do grow back, they’re lighter and finer than the original hairs. 

Undergoing hair removal requires multiple treatments in order to catch each of your unwanted hairs in the earliest stage of growth, known as the anagen phase. Once you go through a cycle of 3-6 treatments to reach all of your unwanted hairs, you only need periodic maintenance treatments. 

IPL takes less time

Because IPL uses broadband light, it’s less targeted than a laser. Therefore each pass of the treatment device covers a larger area. This can be especially important if you’re removing hair from your body, such as:

  • Armpits
  • Chest
  • Legs
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Bikini area

If you’re busy and don’t want to spend too much time on your hair removal sessions, IPL is the better choice. IPL also works well on your face and upper lip. 

IPL is best for lighter skin

Each type of light works better for certain kinds of treatments. Lasers are the best choice for anyone with very dark skin, but they don’t work as well on pale blond, white, or red hairs.  

IPL works best on people with light to medium skin. You can also use IPL on medium shades of hair. Ideally, the hair should be slightly darker to much darker than your skin tone. 

IPL is more cost effective

In general, IPL treatments cost less than laser hair removal treatments. Because IPL is less targeted than lasers, you may need more treatment sessions to reach your goal. If you’ve already undergone laser hair removal but want to save money on your touch-ups, you can switch to IPL.  

Both lasers and IPL have similar side effects, including minor skin irritation following your treatment session that resolves within days.  

If you’re ready to remove unwanted hair, make the easiest, most budget-friendly choice while still getting the effective results you want. Contact our expert team today for IPL hair removal at SeeBeyond Beauty by using our online booking form or just phoning or texting us at 914-533-1802.

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