In an era when our time is more limited than ever, have you ever wondered how long you spend shaving? A beauty poll revealed that women spend, on average, 72 days over the course of their lives shaving their legs – that’s nearly two and a half months of your entire life wasted on razor bumps and ingrown hairs!
The good news is that nowadays we have more options, and one of them is light-based hair removal. Laser hair removal and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal are safe methods of light-based hair removal that produce outstanding hair reduction results, and thanks to advances in technology, you can now do it from the comfort of your own home. Keep reading to find out the difference between laser and IPL methods and learn which one right for you.
Table Of Contents
- 1 How It Works: The Similarities Between Laser And IPL
- 2 What Are The Differences Between Laser And IPL?
- 3 Which Method Is More Cost Effective?
- 4 Other Uses For Laser And IPL Treatments
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Conclusion
How It Works: The Similarities Between Laser And IPL
IPL and laser are two popular types of permanent hair removal methods that use light to remove or reduce hair in specifics areas of the body. Laser hair removal devices produce a concentrated beam to penetrate deep into the skin and zap the melanin (the dark pigment of the hair) inside the hair follicle, meaning the hair growth cycle is inhibited, without impacting the surrounding skin. For this reason, darker skin tones are less suited to light-based hair elimination techniques.
IPL treatment sessions are similar to laser hair removal in that it also uses light to damage the hair follicle. IPL stands for intense pulsed light. It is a broad spectrum high-intensity light that emits multiple wavelengths to cover a wider area of skin.
Other similarities between IPL and laser include:
- Hand-held devices
- Can be used at home
- Long-term solutions for hair reduction
- Both convert light energy from dark areas (i.e., hairs) into heat energy to remove hair
- Significantly reduce the amount of hair in just a few sessions
- Minimal side effects
- Both commonly used to treat body hair, bikini line, upper lip and under arms
What Are The Differences Between Laser And IPL?
Although both IPL and laser machines use light energy to keep follicles from forming new hairs, the key difference between laser and IPL is the light source. IPL devices work by emitting several intense pulsed wavelengths that get absorbed by colored hairs. These wavelengths don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as laser does, which means that they work best on people with darker or thicker hair. For people with darker skin tones, YAG lasers may be a suitable option.
Here are more differences between the two:
- Concentrated light beam
- Fewer sessions
- Covers smaller sections
- Can be used on any type of skin
- Your skin tone
- Your hair color
- Your budget
Which Method Is More Cost Effective?
Permanent removal options are notorious for being expensive. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, one session of laser hair removal at a beauty salon or clinic can cost $285 on average, and most people will need at least six treatments to notice a difference.
Fortunately, at-home laser or IPL devices can give you the same results for a fraction of the price. These machines use the same technology as professional beauty salon units and produce incredible results. The only difference is that hair removal machines designed for home use don’t have the same intensity, so you’ll probably need a few more sessions.
Both are more cost-effective than professional hair removal treatments. However, laser units tend to be slightly more expensive. Because both types are effective, choosing which hair removal treatment is right for you depends on several factors, including:
- Your skin tone
- Your hair color
- Your budget
You may be interested to see the OGLF review of at-home IPL and IPL hair removal devices.
Other Uses For Laser And IPL Treatments
Since IPL is not as concentrated as laser, it can be used to treat several conditions without damaging the skin. Dermatologists use specific wavelengths of light, also called photo-rejuvenation, to selectively target cells that cause hyperpigmentation, unclog pores, reduce the appearance of acne, and even out your complexion.
Frequently Asked Questions
IPL is an effective hair removal method that uses pulsed light to damage the hair follicle, keeping new hairs from growing back. It is also used as a skin rejuvenation treatment and can improve the appearance of hyperpigmented lesions, such as sunspots, scars and beauty marks.
No, laser and IPL hair removal don’t hurt as much as other semi-permanent methods (i.e., waxing or epilating); it can be compared to a rubber band snapping on the skin. The pain intensity is mostly based on your pain tolerance and the area being lasered.
For example, some people find the armpits to be more uncomfortable than the legs, while others feel more pain around the bikini area. As opposed to beauty salon treatments, some at-home lasers have settings that allow you to personalize your treatment level, making it more or less intense.
Depending on the treatment area, you will need between four and ten sessions to start noticing results. Areas with thicker or darker hair will generally need fewer sessions, whereas laser removal will take longer to work on blond or thin hair. One of the things we love about at-home laser treatment is its convenience; you won’t need to commute to beauty clinics every single week.
If you are tired of shaving, waxing, and plucking, consider giving laser and intense pulsed light hair removal methods a chance. These methods use concentrated light in various wavelengths to disrupt the hair growth process inside of hair follicles, preventing hairs from growing. So, after just a few treatments, hairy legs will be a problem of the past.
At-home permanent hair removal methods – when done right – can be just as effective as professional treatments. Choosing laser vs. IPL hair removal is a matter of personal choice. IPL is generally less expensive, but it requires more sessions. Whereas laser hair removal treatments can be faster, but tends to be costlier. Other factors to keep in mind include your hair color and skin tone.