Laser versus IPL – Which is Better for Hair Removal?

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Laser beams are a single wavelength of light. Medical lasers have been developed over the past 50 years, using different wavelengths to eliminate unwanted blemishes like broken capillaries, freckles, moles and age spots.

We now have lasers that target abnormal superficial blood vessels; lasers that target abnormal pigmentation; those that target the pigment in tattoos and lasers that remove water in the skin's surface to improve texture and reduce scarring.

Laser hair removal has been commercially available since the early 1990s. It has been known since the 1960s that lasers could weaken and destroy hair follicles, but it took many years to develop the technology that enabled lasers to target the hair follicle without burning the surrounding skin. A number of different lasers can be used for hair removal including alexandrite, diode and nd:yag lasers.

Alexandrite lasers (755nm) are acknowledged through numerous studies as one of the most effective for hair removal. The Candela alexandrite laser is particularly effective through its use of a built in cooling device which enables it to be safely used on darker skin types as well as Caucasian skins.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices generate an intense white light which is then filtered so that the ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths are removed.

When IPLs first became available, they were only used for treating blood vessels. Over the next few years, a number of other uses for IPL were found, including hair removal.

There was an expectation that IPL would supersede lasers. It was believed that one could filter IPL, to produce different wavelengths, making IPL a kind of pseudo laser.

After 10 years of experience with IPL, we now know that filtered IPL is not as precise as laser and that it is not possible to control the side effects of its multi-wavelength light. This is a good and a bad thing. The upside is that we have discovered other effective uses for IPL, like texture improvement and pigmentation.

IPL can even be helpful for controlling acne breakouts. The downside of IPL is that it is not very effective for hair removal. Also, its effects are not always predictable, even on relatively low power settings and it can be dangerous when used on darker skin types.

IPL burns tend to be deeper and frequently lead to loss of pigmentation in the burned skin.

There are many studies demonstrating that IPL is not as effective as laser for hair removal. If you are serious about hair removal, laser is a more specific treatment and has a better safety profile.

All Clearskincare Clinics use Candela alexandrite lasers, to deliver the safest and most effective laser hair removal treatments.

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