If you are a fan of lasers and all of that, or if you need to get some treatment with a laser or an IPL, you might get confused as to what they are, since they look like the same thing at first. After all, IPL means Intense Pulsed Light, which, to me, sounds like a laser. That is, at least, what most people end up thinking – but they are wrong.
What Is Their Similarity?
The big similarity between IPL and laser is that they are both used for permanent hair removal, and they both use light while doing so – that is about it. Their applications can be incredible different due to the fact that people have different skin colors and different resistance to the light, as such some situations call for an IPL while others call for laser.
They both involved the production of energy in the form of a spectrum of light that is then absorbed by the pigments of the hair. This is the big purpose of both of them, but to understand them properly, we need to go a little bit into the differences between them.
Laser machines are the well-known kind of hair removal machines and they are pretty simple to understand. What they do is that they generate a wavelength of light that concentrates on target in order to target the melanin that is present in the hair follicle.
We can distinguish IPL machines from laser machines because these form a broad spectrum of wavelengths while the laser machines form one single wavelength that focuses on target. This means that usually, people think that IPL isn0t as effective as laser due to the concentration the laser wavelength has on a single hair follicle. This isn’t exactly the case, since the need for IPL only applies to people with darker skin or darker hair follicles.
People with lighter skin and lighter hair follicles have no need for an IPL, or no need for a laser precisely. In fact, either one of them works perfectly fine for people with light skin and hair follicles, but people with darker skin or hair follicles will probably have the need to use laser instead of IPL due to the broad spectrum of wavelengths produced. IPL can cause burns on darker skin types while the laser, since it is focused, is also adjustable and a lot easier to control.
IPL is, however, less efficient in the treatment of hair reduction due to the fact that it is not reinforcing and coherent (as opposed to the focused wavelength of the laser) but it is sometimes a necessity because IPL has a cheaper price as opposed to laser treatments.. Nevertheless, it is quick to spread out, so the affected area is going to be larger.