Beauty & the Blog

Laser and IPL Treatments – a hair removal comparison

There is a lot of talk in the marketplace about hair removal at present.

There are traditional hair removal procedures like waxing and shaving and then there is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Laser.


Which one do you undertake and which is most effective for you?


Let’s assume information and knowledge on waxing and shaving are commonplace, so we will concentrate on IPL and Laser instead.
The main difference between Laser and IPL, for hair removal purposes, is the technology that each use to generate light.

Laser is monochromatic meaning that the light emitted from a laser is of one wavelength (or colour).

IPL, in contrast, emits ordinary white light which is a combination of many different wavelengths (or colours).

Both IPL and Laser provide the correct wavelength of light that is absorbed by melanin in hair, which converts to heat and permanently disables the hair from growing.

Both systems have been proven to be effective in permanent hair reduction. But there is a catch for some skin types.

See the chart below to help you understand this:

Fitzpatrick Skin TypeCharacteristics of the Skin Skin ColourIs LASER suitable for me?
1Burns easily/does not tan White/Pink Yes
2Burns easily/tans a little WhiteYes
3Burns sometimes/tans slowly White/Brown Yes
4Burns rarely/always tans BrownYes
5Burns rarely, naturally dark skin BlackNo

Let’s talk about hair

Hair grows in 3 phases known as anagen, catagen and telogen. Laser and IPL hair removal only treat hair in the anagen phase, which is when the hair is growing and cells are dividing in the hair follicle.

At any point in time, only some hair is in the anagen phase – and the amount varies between people. This is why, to achieve the best results, Laser or IPL treatments need to be done over several sessions with a break between treatments.

The success rate, if the time between sessions and the proper number of treatments is followed, is between 70% to 90% hair reduction.

And what to expect?

Undertaking IPL and Laser hair removal initially involves much consultation, a skin assessment (using the Fitzpatrick skin typing scale), programming of the machine and then the recording of parameters used on your skin in addition to the actual treatment itself.

For more information contact your local Essential Beauty salon.

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