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What is the difference between laser hair removal and IPL hair removal?

The choice is yours

When people look for hair removal treatments, it can often cause confusion as to what options are out there and how exactly they work. There are a number of treatments on offer which cater to a wide range of skin and hair types, but laser hair removal and IPL tend to be two of the most popular choices.

So, to help you make your decision, what are the differences between Laser hair removal and IPL hair removal? Both are effective and leave beautiful lasting results. But are great for different reasons depending on a number of factors, such as our skin type, the density of your hair, your budget, and also your preference between the different sensations of each treatment type.

How do Laser Hair Removal and IPL work?

Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation. IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light.

They are both types of light that, when used for hair removal, heat up the hair follicles and destroy the hair-producing cells in the targeted area. This works in the same way that the light energy from the sun can heat up a black leather seat. In both cases of Laser and IPL, the light energy from the Laser or the IPL machine heats up the pigmentation in your hair.

Advantages and disadvantages of IPL hair removal

As the name suggests, an IPL machine introduces the light to the follicles in short, yet intense, bursts. A real advantage for many patients is that IPL treatment times can be much quicker.

Our Sharplight Formax IPL machine here at Brigstock Skin & Laser only requires each section of your skin to receive one shot during each treatment session. This is in contrast to our Soprano laser machines which repeatedly treat each section of skin, using the laser handpiece in what is called an “in motion” technique. This in effect slowly heats the hair follicles as more and more light energy is delivered with each application.

Our Sharplight Formax machine does not require any gel to be applied to the area being treated, whereas Laser does because the laser applicator is repeatedly moved back and forth over the treatment areas. Something which may cause hesitation when weighing up the options is that, unlike Laser treatment, IPL is not painless. Whilst it is not particularly painful, you will feel a very slight pinch when the machine administers the shot. However, many patients find this tolerable.

Advantages and disadvantages of Laser Hair Removal

The process for Laser hair removal tends to take a little longer, but has many advantages which may sway you to choose Laser over IPL as the right treatment for you.

Despite a slightly longer process, the follicles are still destroyed in the same way as IPL. In fact, the ‘slow cooker’ approach actually means that the treatment is virtually pain-free, unlike IPL as discussed. What is does mean is that when using our Soprano Laser machine, one of our technicians will have repeatedly pass the light head over your treatment area during your session, opposed to just one shot with IPL.

The Soprano Laser machine administers light energy more gently, which means it is more suitable for darker skin or those with thicker hair. Overall, Laser Hair Removal is more comfortable for the patient.

So if you are happy to take a little longer with your treatment time this may be the best option for you. Although if you choose the latest Soprano Titanium machine with its larger applicator the treatment times for large areas of the body like legs are very comparable to IPL times.

Where can I get Laser Hair Removal or IPL?

At Brigstock Skin & Laser, we offer both treatments and the chance to patch test both machines before you make your decision. Hopefully, this has helped you choose the treatment which suits you best. Remember, we know unwanted hair can be a pain, but the removal of it doesn’t have to be painful.

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