Which is best? Laser hair removal or IPL hair removal?

At Laser Skin Solutions, Bournemouth we often get asked whether we have a laser, for laser hair removal, or an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). Fortunately, we have both, meaning if you are looking for laser hair removal in Bournemouth, once we have assessed your skin type and hair, we will choose whichever system is going to get you the best (and quickest) results.

But what is laser? And is it different to IPL? The answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. It really comes down to physics. Both laser and IPL are light sources. Both are used to heat or shatter targets, whether it’s to heat and destroy hair follicles for laser hair removal, or to shatter ink under the skin for laser tattoo removal.

Laser is an acronym, which is why it makes no sense that the Americans spell it with a ‘z’ – ‘lazer’. It stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser light is characterised by a single, coherent, non-divergent beam of light and is made up of a single wavelength (i.e. colour). Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) on the other hand is made up of white light – which as many of us will remember from our school days – white light when split by a glass prism shows up all the colours of the rainbow. White light is made up off several different wavelengths (colours) and is non-coherent, and divergent.

So what does this have to do with laser hair removal and which is better? Is Laser or IPL better for laser hair removal? There is no definitive answer because much of the answer lies in the skin type of the person you are treating. There are several lasers used for hair removal. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. IPL on the other hand can treat nearly all skin types (1-5 on the Fitzpatrick skin-type scale) except black skin. However not all IPLs are the same. There are many nasty, cheap IPL machines out there and navigating your way through them can be a bit of an IPL minefield. As a rule of thumb the best advice is to stay clear of beauty salons which tend to buy cheap IPLs from China or worse still, hairdressers with cheap equipment offering groupon laser hair removal deals. Beauty clinics and hairdressers are not laser clinics and therefore don’t tend to invest in the £60K plus required to purchase medical grade equipment like the ones found at dedicated laser clinics.

Whether you are being treated with a laser or IPL, the aim in any laser hair removal treatment is to heat the hair follicle to around 70 degrees for a split second. Medical grade lasers and IPLs will do this, meaning the stem cells at the base of the follicle are heated and permanently destroyed. Cheap lasers and IPLs however do not emit peak powers to heat the follicle sufficiently for permanent destruction. If you are trying to decide where to have your laser hair removal in Bournemouth, always ensure your chosen clinic is using medical grade lasers and that they can offer you a choice of both laser hair removal and IPL hair removal.

At our Bournemouth based laser clinic we have 3 different laser and IPL handpieces for hair removal alone. Clinics may well have different lasers or IPLs for other treatments like laser acne treatment, or laser thread vein removal, but this does not mean they can offer a choice of equipment for one single application like laser hair removal.

Looking for laser hair removal in Bournemouth? For more information on how to go about choosing a laser clinic, check out our article on the website, or for your free consultation and hair assessment, contact us online or call the clinic on 01202 985 029

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2 Responses to Which is best? Laser hair removal or IPL hair removal?

  1. Sarah says:

    Can you tell which equipment a salon has by looking at it, eg. this one, because I have started IPL treatment on my legs and was told it would be permanent but now I’m not sure?

    • Kerry says:

      Hello Sarah,apologies for the delay in replying. Unfortunately your comment went in to our ‘trash’ folder due to the link you placed to the clinic you are querying. I have taken a look at the clinic in question (but have removed the link). The website doesn’t state what equipment they use (as far as I can see). The best thing to do is to ring and ask them directly. If they are using IPLs, then you need to find a clinic which uses medical grade equipment, like the system we use. Are you looking in the Kent area? If so, you could try the Lynton Lasers clinic finder so you can be sure of being treated with medical grade lasers and IPLs. http://www.lynton.co.uk/clinics
      Hope that helps.
      Kind regards,
      Kerry

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