IPL and Laser are the same thing, arent they??
No. There is a major difference between how IPL and Laser machines work.
Many people receive hair reduction treatments with IPL, believing it is laser.
While some hair reduction can be achieved with IPL, for most people the benefits vs risks of that machine prohibit successful treatment.
This page will help explain the differences.
What is the difference?
The main difference is the kind of light they produce.
IPL machines produce broad spectrum light (all the colours of the rainbow). It is very bright, but not focused, so it does not target things very specifically.
Laser machines produce a single wavelength (one tiny part of that rainbow). It is very focused, and targets specific things very effectively.
Think of it like a torch compared to a laser pointer. A torch produces a broad spread of clear light that illuminates everything. A laser pointer produces a very precise, thin beam of coloured light, that travels much further.
What does that have to do with hair reduction?
The aim of laser hair reduction treatment is to destroy the hair follicle.
To do this successfully we need a form of light (energy) that will very specifically target the hair follicles, with enough power to reach the base of the follicle to destroy it, without overly affecting surrounding skin.
Laser does this more safely and effectively than IPL.
I was told I was definitely getting laser hair removal!
Many businesses falsely advertise IPL as LASER. We regularly meet new clients that believe they have been receiving Laser treatment, and are disappointed to find out they have only been receiving IPL.
Because laser treatment is far more targeted, it is highly likely that you will receive greater reduction in hair, with fewer treatments.
How can you tell the difference?
If you have had gel applied to your skin before hair removal treatments, it is very likely that you have been receiving IPL - not laser. Almost no lasers require gel to be applied to the skin before treatment.
A second difference is the type of hand-piece used to deliver the light. Laser hand-pieces are smaller, and IPL hand-pieces are quite large.