Is IPL as Permanent as Laser Hair Removal?

We often refer to IPL as a semi-permanent hair removal treatment, since although the initial course of treatments will remove all hair follicles, your body will eventually produce and develop more. When used as hair removal methods, both lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) use light to heat hair follicles and prevent them from growing back. While they may sound similar, the technology used by each one is quite different, with the key difference being the light source used. Laser and IPL hair removal are long-term procedures to reduce hair growth.

They work in a similar way and both can be very effective. In addition to preventing hairs from growing back, both methods of treatment can significantly reduce the growth rate of the remaining hairs, as well as the thickness of the hair. The key difference between laser and IPL is the type of light used. IPL is a broadband pulsed light source, while the laser is a monochromatic coherent light source.Both methods target melanin in the hair follicle and offer permanent results.

Professional laser treatment is a more selective process and therefore the very high energy will be focused on the hair follicle rather than on the surrounding skin. Because of this, professional laser treatments will lead to quick results and will be suitable for darker skin tones. The energy, frequency and color of the hair are determining factors in the effectiveness of the treatment, while the light source, whether it is a laser or an intense pulsed flash light, plays a minor role.Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) uses broad-spectrum light with varying wavelengths that penetrate the skin at different depths. Compared to a laser, which uses a single-spectrum light, IPL emits a weaker, more scattered and less targeted light energy.

The law does not allow IPL manufacturers to claim that hair removal is permanent. Studies have shown that areas of the skin targeted by the IPL procedure experience temporary hair removal, but not total or permanent removal.IPL only acts on active hair while it is in the Anagen phase of growth. For these types of hair-skin combination, IPL also produces results, especially with the most advanced IPL devices. Transparency was crucial for me when deciding whether to have a treatment with them or not, due to the lack of transparency I had elsewhere where I started (but didn't finish) my IPL package.When it comes to permanent hair removal results, laser technology is simply much more effective and achieves substantially better results than IPL.

Most customers achieve optimal permanent hair removal results of 80% or more after four to eight treatments. However, as we've mentioned, IPL generally requires more sessions to get good results and you're more likely to end up spending more on IPL in the long run.Most certified IPL providers aim to provide an 80% reduction in hair present at the start of treatment. Some treatment providers simply reduce the heat of their IPL machines to prevent skin damage, but this prevents any results.Therefore, IPL uses multi-spectrum lights, while the laser uses single-spectrum light, “which means that IPL energy is scattered and is less focused than laser energy”. Most household devices use IPL technology, a notable exception being the popular Tria 4X, while laser treatments are more commonly used in beauty salons today.With advanced technology, it is much easier to achieve long-lasting results with laser and IPL than with any other treatment.

IPL treatments in salons are much more affordable for the general public today than they used to be, and not just exclusive for wealthy elite customers. This helps you understand that there is no permanent hair removal with IPL because there are a number of treatments that need to be done periodically.If you've been looking for treatment options for permanent hair removal, you've probably come across both laser and IPL hair removal and are wondering what the difference is. This makes IPL a gentle and effective treatment for those suffering from rosacea and facial redness, as well as for hair removal. IPL devices feature a larger pad for treatment and it may seem that the session can be completed faster as the machine head gets larger.

However, IPL provides adequate treatment for skin problems such as superficial pigmentation, redness and capillaries but is not suitable for hair removal.

Gracie Szafraniec
Gracie Szafraniec

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