When you feel tired about waxing, shaving, plucking, and other ways of hair removal methods to get rid of unwanted hair, and yet the results still fall below expectations, it’s time to consider other options. Most people turn to 2 options: intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser hair removal (LHR) treatments. 

With advanced technology, IPL and laser hair removal are much easier to achieve long-lasting hair-free smoothness than any other treatments. There is no need for you to worry about laser hair removal scars, razor burns, or ingrown hair when using them. 

Both IPL and laser hair removal use light to remove the undesired hair, which helps prevent new hair from regrowing back. Many people think both methods of hair removal are the same. To be honest, they are similar, but they don’t use the same technology. Therefore, when choosing the right treatment, we should first figure out the difference between IPL and laser hair removal.


How IPL Hair Removal Works

Known as intense pulsed light therapy, IPL uses a broad spectrum of light with multiple wavelengths to penetrate the skin at different depths. During hair removal, it is designed to target the melanin pigment in the hairs below the skin’s surface; the light energy is absorbed by the skin, transferring as heat energy which warms the hair, causing hair to fall off and regrowth to slow down significantly, at least for some times, and eventually get rid of hair permanently.


How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal uses the ability to heat hairs as well and damage follicles by blasting them with light energy. However, it is a bit different from IPL as Laser hair removal uses single intense heat and light energy to target the melanin of hair follicles beneath the skin's surface. The laser can travel deeper down into the pore, giving a concentrated blast of light to the follicle, and can therefore be more specific in the treatment it gives.

We can see from above that IPL’s energy is more scattered, which can target a larger surface area, while Laser treatment focuses on a tiny area of the surface. You can do laser hair removal treatments at a clinic or spa, but a personal IPL hair removal handset can be used by anyone at home.


Is IPL or laser hair removal better?

It is a personal decision to choose between IPL and laser hair removal treatment, and your hair color and skin tone can affect the results. We want to look at 5 different aspects and compare them to understand which is best for you.


1. long-lasting effect

Both IPL and laser hair removal utilize similar technology to aim at the hair follicles. Therefore, they will finally achieve a long-lasting hair removal effect. Of course, both methods will require a few times to maintain for total hair removal, but you can expect both IPL and laser to last from 1 year to even more.


2. cost

The price is different between IPL and Laser hair removal. You can buy an IPL hair removal device for about $80 and use it whenever and wherever you want. It is a one-time purchase. However, the Laser hair removal cost is about $389, according to 2020 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which is only part of the total price–Since the cost for the whole laser treatment depends on the area you want to treat. Moreover, Laser hair removal treatment has to be done at a salon or clinic with a professional. 

3. Pain level

In terms of the technical level, the more concentrated and powerful the light, the stronger you can feel it. Therefore, IPL hair removal machines seem to cause less pain. In comparison, laser hair removal can lead to much discomfort. So especially for those with low pain tolerance, we suggest you can give IPL a try.


4. Treatment time

IPL hair removal devices feature a bigger treatment window and so can cover a much larger area at once due to the broader flash of light used in IPL, meaning a much faster treatment time in comparison to the laser; While the beam of light used in laser treatments is very concentrated, laser devices have a very small treatment window. Therefore, Individual IPL hair removal treatment takes less time per session; however, Laser Hair Removal treatment shows visible results in more sessions.


5. Suitability for skin and hair types

 IPL hair removal may be more effective on lighter skin tones, medium or medium-dark. However, Laser hair removal could be effective for almost all skin tones, especially darker tones. Both IPL and laser hair removal work perfectly on thick and dark hair.

Now you may be unsure about which one should be opted for when it comes to IPL vs. laser hair removal. Actually, IPL can offer the same standard of results as laser treatments, and you can save time, money, and endless trips to the salon. You just need to be patient and consistent with the treatment. If you seek a more comfortable, effective, and much more inexpensive way that you can use in the comfort of your home, then IPL hair removal at home is your best choice.








August 23, 2022 — Kathy Young