Many people use the term “”laser hair removal”’ when referring to IPL hair removal, so are they different?
Laser hair removal and IPL hair removal both use light which is absorbed by the melanin in the hair root but the type of light they emit is very different. Laser light is monochromatic (single colour) and non-divergent (travels in a straight beam)
IPL light is flash lamp that emits white light and made is up of multiple light colours, harmful light is filtered out. IPL light is divergent.
In Western Australia the use of laser is regulated and only a doctor can use a class 4 laser so 99% of permanent hair reduction in Western Australia is IPL (intense Puled Light)
Because the industry is unregulated in other states laser is mainly used. This is because once you buy a laser there are no consumables (ongoing running costs) unless the machine breaks down. IPLs however require the replacement of flash lamps on a regular basis which are very costly.
IPL hair removal systems have a larger treatment spot size than laser hair machines removal making them much quicker when treating larger areas such as backs and legs.
The output of energy in both IPL hair removal and laser hair removal is referred to as joules. How many joules can be delivered over an area is referred to as fluence. For example is 100J is delivered in a spot size of 5cm2 the fluence is 20J/cm2. The effectiveness of laser hair removal or IPL hair removal depends on the quality of the machine and the output of joules it can deliver in the selected spot size and the skill of the operator.