What is IPL?
Cosmetic and medical practitioners are using intense pulsed light (IPL) technology to treat different skin conditions for anesthetic and therapeutic purposes, such as hair removal, photorejuvenation (for example skin pigment therapy, sun damage, and thread veins) or to alleviate dermatological illnesses such as acne.
IPL can reduce hair growth, most effectively in darker, coarser hair. There are many names and devices for pulsed light treatments such as E-Light, ELOS, and M-Light.
What’s the difference between laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)?
Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) both use light to heat the hair follicle and stop hair regrowth. The technology of light is very different, however–the main difference is the light itself.
In brief, lasers generate a very specific light type consisting of one wavelength or light color, all of which go in one direction, which creates a single beam like a laser pointer. IPL devices generate a wide range of light wavelengths for a single white flash. This light is close to natural light and can be flashed like a camera flash with an orange or red glow.
How do IPL devices work?
For hair removal, the same mechanism applies to both laser and IPL light:
- The laser (IPL) penetrates the skin and is absorbed into the hair shaft by the melanin.
- The hair shaft and Follicle heat up by the absorption of light.
- The hair follicle cells heat up to a critical temperature, which results in an interruption of the hair growth cycle if the correct amount of energy is used.
- The impact may be continuous or temporary, depending on a number of variables.
One of the primary goals of laser or IPL hair removal is to achieve this critical temperature in the hair Follicle while not heating the surrounding skin to a temperature which might damage like a blister. This can be achieved by carefully checking the light output level.
IPL shares certain similarities with laser treatments by using light to heat and by destroying their targets. However, compared to lasers which use a single wave (color) light which typically only matches a chromophore and therefore treats only one condition, IPL uses a wide range that can be used against multiple conditions.
IPL for Face
Photofacial, or ' Fotofacial ' IPL, is a method used to penetrate deeply into the skin by using intense pulses light. IPL photorejuvenation leads collagen and blood vessels to restrict and decrease redness and age lines below the epidermis.
IPL for Face Hair
While hair removal on most of your body is no biggie, it takes extra TLC to remove from your face. Waxing, electrolysis and laser scars can occur very readily if things go wrong during treatment and are much more difficult to camouflage on the face versus the body. For certain types of hair growth, certain methods are better than others. For your chin or cheeks, it is best to permanently remove the hair with IPL lasers to frustrate little whiskers. Those with IPL laser hair removal can expect roughly 80-90% of their hair to be permanently removed.
What does all this mean in relation to the actual treatment?
Due to the way the technologies themselves work, laser and IPL treatments vary in terms of:
- Treatment time: Due to the highly focused beam of light used in laser treatments, laser equipment has a very tiny window to treat. Thanks to the wider light flash used in the IPL system, the IPL devices have a larger window and can, therefore, cover a much wider field at once, which means that the treatment time is much faster than that for the laser.
- Pain rating: It is often found that the single, more pointed light beam used during laser treatment is more painful than IPL.
- Cost: Laser light is really expensive to generate, so, in salons especially, laser treatment comes with a hefty price tag whereas IPL is often much more affordable.
- Longevity of results: As a trade-off for the increased price tag and pain level, the results from laser treatment can mean fewer top-ups are required between sessions. But, as with any kind of light-based hair reduction, you’ll always need to continue with top-up treatments to stop hairs from growing back.
- Safety: Laser light is extremely powerful and could be even dangerous. This is why, particularly in contrast to their costly salon equivalent, at-home laser hair removal devices use substantially reduced power. The advantage of IPL therapy is to be used much safer as light is less focused so that long-lasting outcomes can be used at home without risk.
Are hair removal salons worth it?
What would you like, at home or in a salon hair removal? It will save time to do it at home, but you will need to do it more often before you start. A salon needs the skill of a specialist to have hair removal therapy and can lead to quicker outcomes. In any event, the findings are comparable–significant decrease in the hair of the body.
So, which one is better for me?
In short, IPL can produce a laser treatment with the same standard as your prescribed treatment–and keep up with top-of-the-line treatments! You can save time, money, and endless trips to the salon to complete your treatment in the comfort of your own home in return for your dedication to your regimes. What’s not to love?