Laser Or IPL Hair Removal – Which One Is Better?
Not sure how to get those pesky hairs to stop coming back? So many choices in your neighbourhood and surrounding areas? Laser hair removal … IPL hair removal …what’s the right move? Perhaps this might give you a little insight to the right choices for you.
What Makes IPL and Laser Hair Removal Similar As Laser Treatments?
First, let’s present the difference between laser and IPL; I mean they have different names, so they must mean different things, yes? Abso…freaking…lutely!!! Sorry if it sounds blunt, but oh, it is just far too often. I hear people compare one to the other as if they’re two peas in a pod. IPL hair removal and laser hair removal aren’t even the same sorts of vegetable, never-mind of the same pod.
The first similarity is that they’re both acronyms. IPL stands for intense pulsed light, while Laser stands for Light amplification by stimulated radiation (bet you didn’t know that).
What Is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Laser Technology?
IPL hair removal or intense pulsed light works in kind of a broad-spectrum format; let’s look at an example of what that means, shall we? A comparable if you will. It’s like getting an illness the doctor can’t quite diagnose 100%, so he gives you a broad-spectrum antibiotic that might catch the strain and kill the infection. This is the hope until perhaps maybe more definitive symptoms present themselves.
Pulsed light is that same sort of broad-spectrum, and a hair removal technician hopes that it will catch the follicle and destroy the hair at the root. This is the best guess method that may or may not produce the hair removal results you’re looking for. Studies have shown that IPL hair removal can be effective as a form of laser treatment, although admittedly, I find it far more superior for dealing with skin matters rather than hair removal. (Perhaps more on how we can look after our ageing dermis through IPL in a future blog.)
The truth is the light isn’t looking for hair; it’s just sort of all over the place sending heat in various directions hoping to destroy this and that which is not the most accurate form of hair removal treatments. I mean, sure a hair removal technician can learn their job well enough to make some educated guesses to try and target the area without damaging other parts of the skin. Even then, is it permanent hair removal? Is it destroying the hair forever or just in the heat of the moment? (yes, a pun intended here)
What Is Laser Hair Reduction Treatment?
So, let’s examine laser hair removal, shall we? We’ve already ascertained that its definition isn’t the same as IPL but let’s look a little more closely at its “why.”
Laser hair removal, in the simplest way to put it, is targeted. It can aim, and believe you me, aiming makes a difference when it comes to proven hair removal methods to choose from. It’s like the difference between a toddler throwing a handful of darts at a board, missing everything (IPL ) and a skilled player getting the bullseye with just one (laser).
Although the laser can be used for several things, today we’ll look at laser hair removal for your skin. Proper communication with the machine will allow the laser light to seek out and find a specific target on your skin; in this case, it’s looking for melanin, also best described as colour in the hair. It will find the melanin and travel down the hair shaft until it reaches an endpoint; this is the hair’s bulb.
Not sure how hair functions under the skin? Imagine a tulip, pull one out of the ground, and it has a bulb on the end of it where it keeps its roots. Hair functions much the same, and while it is actively growing, it has a genuine blood supply to that bulbous root. (Plucking and waxing will pull out the root but not cut off the blood supply allowing hair to return) Enter the laser light and bam…both the root and the blood supply are gone, permanently destroying that hair with laser hair removal.
People talk about laser hair removal as if it’s “almost” or “not quite” permanent hair removal but let’s clear that up for a second. If there is a blood supply at the time of treatment, that particular hair is GONE, dead, destroyed and not coming back, but…it has neighbours, family and friends that are lying in wait for their turn at a growth cycle. That’s okay, though, because multiple laser hair removal treatments timed appropriately will get them “gone,” too.
The Problems Both Laser Treatments Bring To You
There is, however, one problem with both forms of hair removal (IPL and laser), and that is those pesky white, grey, light blonde and red hairs; sadly, they will remain. The laser cannot find the colour and therefore has nowhere to aim. IPL light-based hair removal hasn’t proven to be much better, although it can finish off some of those fine blonde hairs the regular laser cannot see in some cases. Perhaps this is IPL hair removal’s saving grace.
Now on to some basics about them both. First, does it hurt? A simple and honest answer here, the answer is yes (indeed, we have one more similarity between the two). Some places will brag that their laser hair removal devices are virtually pain-free but pay special attention to the word virtually. Laser hair removal and IPL still hurt, but this magical word helps to soften the blow when making your decision.
Truthfully there is no telling how pain-free laser and IPL areas each person has a different level of tolerance. From personal experience and a business owner perspective, I can honestly say I’ve not had one person tell me it was insufferable or intolerable. More importantly, the consensus seems to be that it’s definitely worth it.
One thing that has changed with most of the new tech is the amount of time it takes to complete a hair reduction session. Gone are the days of long endured discomfort, enter now the days of a few quick zaps, and your hair removal treatment is good to go.
Laser vs IPL – Who Wins?!
I suppose the point of the title of this IPL vs. laser hair removal blog was to give you sufficient information to make an informed decision on which one to go for. Still, if I’m honest, I am secretly hoping I have swayed you the laser for hair removal as it simply is the better method regarding the best hair removal method for your skin.