Laser vs IPL for hair removal

Unwanted hair is an age-old beauty problem but thankfully advances in technology mean that hair removal for men and women is now more effective than ever before. But how do you know what type of treatment is right for you?

Intense pulsed light treatment (IPL) has been around for many years, so you may be familiar with the name and find its relatively low prices appealing. However, recent strides in light treatment development have resulted in a far more effective offering being available in the form of laser hair removal. So how do these two methods stack up against each other? Today on the blog we guide you through the ins and outs laser treatments with true lasers and its older brother in the beauty world, IPL.

How does laser hair removal work?

Using true lasers for hair removal allows for much more concentrated treatment on a particular area in comparison to older technology. This is because unlike the IPL, which directs hundreds of types of light wavelengths at the specified area using a type of lamp, laser hair removal uses waves specifically designed to penetrate the skin deeply and target pigment in your hair.

In both types of treatment light wavelengths are used to target pigment with the resulting heat killing the hair’s growth cells. However, laser hair removal takes away exposure to additional light radiation from the other wavelengths that aren’t required for more efficient treatment. Clients often describe laser hair removal as feeling a little like a rubber band tapping at your skin.

Laser vs IPL

How much downtime is required for laser hair removal and IPL?

It’s normal to experience some redness and swelling around each hair follicle after both types of hair removal treatment, which may feel a little like the after effects of sunburn. After a laser hair removal session this sensation will usually begin to subside within a matter of hours though the area may remain sensitive for days or several weeks after treatment, depending on the area treated.

The good news is there are no restrictions on bathing or using spas or saunas following laser treatment after the first 24 hours, which means very little downtime is required. In comparison, you can expect the redness and swelling to stick around a little longer after an IPL session because of the extra exposure to light wavelengths. It’s possible sensitivity will remain for two to three weeks after IPL and you should avoid baths, saunas and hot tubs for two days.

Why is laser quicker?

Although laser hair removal effectiveness varies from person to person, generally a course of between six and eight treatments is required. The area being treated and type of hair plays a part in how many sessions are required but the nature of the treatment itself is also a factor. Laser hair removal works by targeting the hair during what we call the Anagen stage of hair when it is growing. Not all hair follicles will be at this stage at the same time, which is why multiple treatments are required. As IPL does not deliver such concentrated light wavelengths it’s possible you may need a few extra sessions.

Does laser hair removal work for everyone?

Along with: is laser hair removal safe? Questions about individual suitability are among the most common questions we get asked by people considering hair removal treatment. Laser hair removal is incredibly effective and is even suitable for use on darker skins unlike other types of hair removal such as IPL. However, because the treatment works by targeting pigment in hair it is not suitable for use on white, grey or red hair or on areas with tattoos.

If you have recently returned from holiday with a deep tan or you’ve been self-tanning, you will need to wait for your skin to return to normal tone before commencing treatment. People who have experienced light-triggered seizures in the past or are pregnant are also not suitable for light based hair removal treatments.

It’s also worth noting that the targeted nature of laser hair removal means it’s likely to cause less irritation than its older brother IPL as the latter diffuses power heating up the skin more easily. Fans are also fitted to lasers to help soothe the skin as the lasers do their work.

At Premier Laser & Skin we specialise in providing laser hair removal using the latest technology, so if you’d like to find out more about what our laser treatment could do for you get in touch to discuss your treatment goals. We’re always happy to answer queries and you can book a free consultation with our experts to discuss your requirements in person.

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