Difference between IPL and laser hair removal

IPL, in short of intense pulsed light, is a long-term and effective procedure for reducing hair growth. Another similar method of hair removal, laser hair removal, has become more and more popular. But many people don't know the difference between these two methods, and even some salon owners can't distinguish them completely.


By cosmetic and medical practitioners to perform various skin treatments for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes, including hair removal, photorejuvenation (e.g. the treatment of skin pigmentation, sun damage, and thread veins) as well as to alleviate dermatologic diseases such as acne.


The IPL machine delivers an intense, visible, broad-spectrum pulse of light, generally in the visible spectral range of 400 to 1200 nm. Various cutoff filters are commonly used to selectively filter out shorter wavelengths, especially potentially damaging ultraviolet light. The resulting light has a spectral range that targets specific structures and chromophores (e.g. melanin in hair, or oxyhemoglobin in blood vessels) that are heated to destruction and reabsorbed by the body. IPL shares some similarities with laser treatments, in that they both use light to heat and destroy their targets. But unlike lasers that use a single wavelength (color) of light which typically matches only one chromophore and hence only treats one condition, IPL uses a broad spectrum that when used with interchangeable filters, allows it to be used against several conditions. This can be achieved when the IPL technician selects the appropriate filter that matches a specific chromophore


Laser hair removal is a different procedure using coherent, monochromatic laser light.



Some basic knowledge about IPL

What is IPL?

The IPL is the use of intense pulses of non-coherent light over a range of wavelengths from 400nm to 1200nm. Xenon flash-lamps produce high output bursts of broad-spectrum. Various cutoff filters are commonly used to selectively filter out shorter wavelengths, especially potentially damaging ultraviolet light. The resulting light has a spectral range that targets specific structures and chromophores (e.g. melanin in hair, or oxyhemoglobin in blood vessels) that are heated to destruction and reabsorbed by the body.


What’s the application of IPL?

IPL is a long-term popular choice for cosmetic and medical practitioners to perform various skin treatments for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes, including hair removal, photorejuvenation (e.g. the treatment of skin pigmentation, sun damage, and thread veins) as well as to alleviate dermatologic diseases such as acne.


How does IPL hair removal work?

Broad-spectrum light is applied to the surface of the skin, targeting melanin. This light travels through the skin until it strikes the hair shafts or hair follicle. The follicle is usually where the highest concentration of melanin is located. As the light is absorbed, the bulb and most of the hair shaft are heated, destroying the hair-producing papilla. It is also claimed that heat conversion occurs directly in the darker capillaries that bring blood to the follicle.

For IPL treatments, an average of 8–10 treatments, 4-6 weeks apart, are required to remove the most visible hair.


IPL is employed in the treatment of a range of dermatological conditions including photodamage induced dyspigmentation and vascular changes, poikiloderma of Civatte, rosacea, acne vulgaris, sebaceous gland hyperplasia, broken capillaries/telangiectases, vascular lesions (small blood vessels), pigmented lesions (freckles, liver spots, birthmarks ), melasma, actinic keratosis, photorejuvenation, basal cell carcinoma, and Bowen's disease (squamous cell carcinoma).


- Part of the content comes from Wikipedia