Laser or photoepilation

IPL (photoepilation) and laser hair removal are long-term procedures that aim to reduce hair growth. The mechanism of action is similar, and both methods are very effective. In addition to stopping hair growth, both procedures significantly reduce their growth rate and the thickness of the hair shaft.

A large number of patients achieve a very good effect from both IPL and laser hair removal. In order to have the best results, it is important to decide which method is best for you.

Photoepilation or laser epilation?

What is the difference?

Laser and IPL hair removal work on the same principle. Light energy is absorbed by areas of high pigment content, such as hair. Absorbed by them, it turns into heat energy, which is conducted to the hair follicle. This leads to the slowing down or stopping of the growth of the respective hairs. The main difference between IPL and laser hair removal devices is the light source used. IPL uses broad-spectrum visible light, while the second method uses a concentrated laser beam.

It is important to understand that areas of the skin with a higher pigment content (freckles, moles), as well as darker skin, will absorb more light energy, thus generating more excess heat. This may influence which method is best for you. To help you decide, we present information on how the two technologies work.

How does IPL work?

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and uses a broad-spectrum, visible light source. This light is specially controlled to remove shorter wavelengths and is designed to target specific structures. In hair removal, it targets the melanin pigment in the hair. In other applications, such as the treatment of varicose veins, it targets hemoglobin in the blood. Light energy is absorbed, converted into heat energy, heating the hair, causing damage to the follicle.

How does laser hair removal work?

Laser hair removal also uses the ability to heat the hair and damage the follicles by blasting them with light energy. However, it is slightly different from the IPL. It uses the specific properties that lasers possess. Lasers can be tuned to focus on a small area and penetrate deeply without spreading out like normal light. This characteristic of lasers is particularly effective in hair removal. The laser beam can move deeper into the pores, giving a concentrated light stream on the follicle.

IPL or laser, which is better?

Choosing between IPL and laser is a decision based on your skin tone and hair color. It’s important to find out what works best for you in order to achieve the results you want. In addition to your skin type and the desired area you want to treat, you also need to consider the amount you want to spend and how quickly you want to see results.

Benefits of IPL hair removal

Because the broad-spectrum light naturally spreads, the coverage of IPL devices is greater than that of laser devices. Which in some cases means that the duration of the procedure is shorter, but it is also slightly more painful. Besides the procedures being shorter, they can also be significantly cheaper, at the expense of more sessions to achieve the desired results.

IPL uses a wide spectrum of light, which means it can have a variety of applications. It can be used very well to treat various skin conditions. Also, the device can be specifically adjusted to match different skin and hair types. For example, a variant of IPL has been developed called VPL, which stands for “variable pulsed light”. VPL allows the therapist to vary the settings of the light pulses to best suit the skin and hair being treated. This is because manufacturers realize that not only do different skin tones have different requirements for light hair removal devices, but also that thick bikini area hair requires different treatment than fine arm hair.

Advantages of laser hair removal

The nature of lasers is such that the laser devices can focus the light on the skin pores, get close to the hair follicle to treat it and ultimately prevent its regrowth. This means that laser hair removal can produce faster results than IPL because individual hairs are heated to the temperature that destroys them more quickly. Therefore, fewer procedures are required to achieve the same results.

Also, some laser systems are suitable for people who have darker skin. Such systems use a laser beam with a stronger absorption by the red pigment (hemoglobin in the blood) and to a lesser extent by the dark pigment, which significantly reduces the risk of burning in darker skins.

Use of IPL and laser for the face

Both laser and IPL hair removal are suitable for the face. However, they should not be used on the scalp and eyebrows. They are safe to use below the cheekbones, such as the upper lip and chin, but should not be used near the eyes as the glare from the light can damage your vision. For this reason, it is important to use adequate eye protection when working with IPL or laser, even if the face is not being treated. It is also important not to look directly at the light source.

Side effects of laser and IPL hair removal

Both methods have the same side effects. You can expect some skin irritation, which may take the form of redness, swelling, itching, or increased sensitivity of the treated area. It is usually short-lived and should not last more than a day. Just treat the area like a sunburn and keep it hydrated.

The skin will be more sensitive to sunlight, so it is important to use appropriate sun protection on the skin before and after treatment. It is also important not to injure the skin as it becomes more sensitive and to keep it clean to prevent infection.

How long have IPL and laser hair removal been around?

The first use of IPL documented in the literature involved a study in 1997 where hair loss was found to be a side effect of IPL therapy. This study used an IPL device called the Photoderm VL in an attempt to treat nevus flammeus (capillary vascular malformations found at birth and appearing as flat spots of pink, red or purple). The researchers found that the lesions responded well to the first procedure and cleared completely after the fourth. Shortly after this study, the authors published two cases of permanent facial hair removal. The same author published an article on the successful use of IPL to treat telangiectasias. Since then, the technology has greatly improved and led to the creation of more powerful IPL devices.

Laser hair removal, on the other hand, was first developed much earlier, in the 1960s. Early lasers were very slow and caused burns, but the technology quickly advanced, with the first hair removal laser becoming available in 1964.

Results of IPL and laser hair removal

Neither IPL nor laser hair removal gives immediate results. Unlike waxing and shaving, you won’t leave the procedure with completely smooth, hair-free skin. Instead, the hairs will disappear later, after 2 weeks at the earliest, and those that were not affected during the first treatment will require another treatment (or more).

The advantages of both methods compared to waxing and shaving are that you will achieve a permanent reduction in hair growth. The hair will grow much more slowly, so you won’t have to shave as often. They will also be thinner and fewer in number. They may even grow paler so that they are less obvious.

Most people can achieve permanent hair loss from the treated areas after 1 to 10 treatments, with an average of 6. Regardless of the method, you may occasionally need to go for maintenance treatments every few months or a year. But you will notice a huge difference in reducing hair growth.

Home laser and IPL devices

There are now a large number of home IPL and laser devices available in the market. They use the same technology that dermatology clinics and beauty salons use, but they are specially designed to be safe for use by untrained and unqualified people, respectively, the powers they work with are much smaller compared to professional devices, and hence and the effect.

Laser and IPL systems for removing unwanted hair are proven methods that in many cases work synergistically to address the problem. The technique and the choice of the method depend on the qualification of the therapist, the color of the skin, the color and thickness of the hair, the areas to be treated, the season, the underlying diseases, the sensitivity to pain, the financial possibilities, the time to achieve the result and the time to implement the procedure.

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